Sooner fans have a lot to look forward to in 2012. If things go according to head coach Bob Stoops' plan, Oklahoma will find themselves competing once again for the Big 12 title.
It won't be an easy feat though.
One of the weakest areas for the Sooners is the receiving corp., who has faced a slew of suspensions over the last few months. Most recently, Stoops even dismissed sophomore Kameel Jackson over academic struggles, per ESPN.com. Even worse, only a day before Jackson's departure, Will Latu decided to sign with Arkansas State instead of with the Sooners, putting the corp. in a bit of a dilemma.
In order to be successful, Stoops will be relaying heavily on young talent, as he pointed out to NewsOK.com:
The area that we’ve got to really make some gains and really work hard here at two-a-days are with receivers and tight ends where we are inexperienced where you only have one guy in Kenny Stills that’s in a position to play here in the first part of the season. Those guys have to step up.
Will Oklahoma win the Big 12 Championship?
Stoops is right: The young boys will need to step up. The bright side is that receivers Jaz Reynolds and Trey Franks, who were suspended and stripped of their scholarships during the summer, have been reinstated. However, according CBSSports.com, it will still be a few games into the season before either sees the field.
This will give freshmen Trey Metoyer, Durron Neal, Sterling Shepard and Derrick Woods, along with junior college transfer Lacoltan Belster, the opportunity to step up and fill the void left by those that have departed. Stoops does not seem to be too worried about the young guns though, as he told NewsOK.com, “I’m encouraged in that the first couple of days here the young receivers look like a good and talented group and are doing well."
With camp getting under way, it will become clear very quickly if the receiving corp. truly has it in them to hold up their end of the deal. Quarterback Landry Jones will be put in a position to really test his passing skills against a group that has yet to prove themselves. If anything, Jones has the experience to put the ball where it needs to be and at least help set the team up for success.
Ultimately, it will be a testament to Stoops and the choices he made to dismiss and suspend the players he needed to. Decisions like that may not always be easy but, with enough patience, will pay off for a team. So if the Sooners wish to see a Big 12 title, it will be all about the receivers and playing as a team to be successful.