Oklahoma Football: Best and Worst Moments of the Sooners' Offseason
Every college football season is a roller coaster of emotion, bringing fans along on an emotionally draining ride every season. The extreme ups and downs from week to week is what make the sport so much fun to follow.
Well, the offseason is no different. Sometimes things go great as the stars seemingly align and point to the coveted crystal football, but other times the train completely derails, ending up in fiery carnage that only the most devoted fans can survive.
The Oklahoma Sooners have had an offseason full of out-of-your-seat highs that have contrasted with bang-head-on-desk lows to make for quite an entertaining few months.
Let's review three of the best and worst moments of the Sooners' offseason... so far.
Best: Emerging Youngsters
A popular storyline every offseason is which of the underclassmen will make the leap from the practice squad to the main stage.
This year was no different, with Sooner fans salivating over two big names, one on each side of the ball.
Incoming freshman wide receiver Trey Metoyer spent last season in a special academy getting his grades up to par without wasting a year of eligibility. He also spent last year working his butt off fine-tuning his game to get ready to contribute right away.
His hard work has seemingly paid off, as Metoyer is being tagged by many to be the top receiver on the team after several impressive displays in practice and the annual Spring game.
Redshirt freshman defensive tackle Jordan Phillips made a similar impression after wreaking havoc against the first-team offensive line in the Spring game. Phillips was expected to ride the bench one more year as three seniors fill the rotation next season, but Phillips' impressive combination of size and athletic ability will likely see him on the field this fall.
Best: Landry Jones Steps Up
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Many in Sooner Nation groaned when Landry Jones—re-writer of OU's impressive passing record books—announced he would be returning for his senior year. Often labeled a system quarterback, Jones has endured a strange career that has been as productive as it has been criticized.
Judging by his offseason, however, we may have yet to see the best of him.
Jones began the summer with a trip to California to work with renowned QB coach George Whitfield who is most recently known for getting Andrew Luck and Cam Newton NFL ready. There, Jones focused on his mechanics to improve his accuracy and pocket presence.
The senior quarterback finally got his diet straight, also, checking into camp a full 10 pounds lighter than last season. He dropped the fast food partly to increase his dreadful lack of mobility in the pocket, and partly to fit into his suit for his July 6th wedding—either way, I'll take it!
All signs are pointing to a new, improved Landry Jones come fall.
Best: Mike Stoops Returns
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Regarding last season's defensive debacle, it is impossible to place all of the blame on one factor. Coaching, players, opponents... they all share partial responsibility.
But you can't just cut a player because he made a few bad reads and the competition isn't going to scale down their complex offensive attacks anytime soon, so the only place a program has any real control is over their coaching staff.
Heads had to roll after last season, and roll they did.
Out with long-tome defensive coordinator Brent Venerables and members of his staff, and in with Mike Stoops, Oklahoma's apparent defensive savior returning home to the motherland to save his people.
Stoops simplified a scheme that had grown far too complex, showing positive results so far. The real test will be this fall when the season starts.
Worst: Dismissals and Transfers
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Last season's flurry of transfers did not end with the season, unfortunately.
5-star running back Brandon Williams—labeled the next great OU running back—developed a case of homesickness and transferred to Texas A&M. The OU backfield is deep, but losing a back like Williams will hurt any program.
Up-and-coming sophomore wideout Kameel Jackson tried to follow Williams to College Station after announcing his apparent transfer on Twitter, but A&M officials denied the deal, leaving Jackson in commitment purgatory.
As if the receiving corps needed any more demerits after recording only one passing touchdown in the final four games of last season, Trey Franks and Jaz Reynolds were all out of "Get out of Jail Free" cards when they got booted off the team for a violation of team rules.
It seems like the revolving door in Norman has finally come to a stop, but I remember typing a similar sentence last December.
Worst: Phil Steele Ranking
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Six-word review of last season: huge expectations, strong start, epic meltdown.
So one would think it would be safe to assume this season's preseason ranking would at least slightly reflect last season's crash and burn by knocking Oklahoma down a few notches, right?
Phil Steele, largely considered college football's No. 1 guru, recently ranked the Sooners as the second-best team in the nation, slotting them to play Florida State in next season's BCS National Championship game.
Great, just when I thought we would get the benefit of a slight underdog title, Mr. Steele has to go ruin it all by ranking us No. 2. Thanks for nothing, Phil!
Worst: Kenny Stills in a Dress
Okay, I get it. The guy has a sense of humor (a good thing) and took a funny picture.
The picture itself isn't really that big of a deal, especially when you take into account that he is just a college kid having a good time. There are much more embarrassing pictures of his peers floating around the internet, no doubt.
However, you and I both know that every time Stills makes the slightest mistake next season this is going to get brought up.
I can hear Brent Musberger now, thinking he is being all clever and insightful. "Well, if he hadn't spent all season trying on dresses, maybe he would have caught that pass, right Kirk?"
You know it's coming.