Oklahoma Football: Latest News, Injuries and Updates on the Sooners
The annual Red and White spring game has come and gone. While this anticipated event is the culmination of over a month's worth of practice, the game is really nothing more than a glorified scrimmage.
However, the event is still a good measure to see how far along players are, what has changed and what still needs to be done. With that being said, Sooner fans are able to take away more positives than negatives from last weekend's scrimmage.
There were a lot of questions going into the spring game about the progress of Trey Metoyer and where he will fit in with Kenny Stills and Jaz Reynolds still on campus. After catching six passes for 72 yards while playing mostly with the offensive second unit, there's no doubt that Metoyer is going to have his shot to earn a starting role.
While Reynolds was the one receiver to catch a touchdown pass (thrown by backup quarterback Blake Bell), Metoyer looked like the best of the bunch on Saturday. His frame, speed and ability to go up and make a catch in traffic are going to make him a tough receiver to stop this season.
Speaking of Bell, his stat line Saturday was as follows: 14 of 19 for 179 yards and one touchdown.
Who saw this coming?
Granted, this was a scrimmage, but this is definitely a great sign after Bell only completed one out of four passes last season, including an interception.
Bell proved to have a cannon for an arm after he hit Reynolds 60 yards down the field, while rolling out of the pocket. This doesn't necessarily mean that Bell has won the backup spot over Drew Allen, who went a respectable 10 of 18 for 72 yards, but he has certainly narrowed the gap.
At the very least, this shows that Bell has put in the time and effort to get better, and hopefully his progression will allow another dimension to be added to the "Belldozer" package. If that's the case, then he could be very scary for opposing defenses next season.
Despite Javon Harris getting turned around on the Bell-to-Reynolds touchdown play, the secondary proved to play more disciplined under the guidance of defensive coordinator Mike Stoops.
Standouts on the defensive side of the ball were outside linebacker Corey Nelson and sophomore defensive back Julian Wilson. Both finished the scrimmage with a game-high eight tackles.
Nelson, who has seemingly regressed since last season's spring game, definitely picked up his intensity and level of play once he was awarded time with the defensive first team. However, Nelson's increased playing time came at the expense of an injury to Joseph Ibiloye.
Fortunately, Ibiloye merely has a hurt shoulder and should only be out for a week or two. Ibiloye figures to be the starting nickelback, taking over for junior Tony Jefferson who moved back to a more comfortable free safety position.
While there has been a lot of talk as to who will start at cornerback opposite of Demontre Hurst this season, the spring game proved that the competition is still not over. Mike Stoops is prepared to play six defensive backs at a time this season in order to combat the Big 12's overall passing attacks, so there's a good chance that a lot of guys are going to see playing time.
I've already mentioned Wilson's standout performance in the spring game, but Aaron Colvin looks to be the most likely candidate to start at cornerback. Unless, of course, Harris continues to allow receivers to get by him—which would put Colvin back as the starting strong safety.
Gabe Lynn, who has yet to live up to his potential, started the spring game as the team's dimeback.
Lamar Harris and Joe Powell will also be fighting for a starting cornerback job this season and both played admirably in the spring game.
All in all, the Sooners and their fans have a lot of positives to take away from the spring game, however, the most exciting news may have come after the game had concluded.
The Sooners were awarded with a brand new verbal commitment from in-state prospect D.J. Ward.
Ward, a 6'3" 225-pound defensive end out of Lawton, is currently ranked No. 93 in ESPN's initial Top 150 and figures to be the top prospect in Oklahoma.
Ward joins running backs Greg Bryant (Delray Beach, FL) and Keith Ford (Cypress, TX), as well as defensive end Matt Dimon (Katy, TX), as the Sooners' commitments for the class of 2013.
Bryant, ranked No. 29 overall, and Ford, ranked No. 36 overall, are 2013's No. 2 and No. 3 running backs. If the Sooners ever had a depth problem in their backfield, all of that worrying can officially be put to rest.
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