Oklahoma Sooners Look to Prove Growth in Spring Game

Luke McConnellCorrespondent IApril 14, 2010

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - OCTOBER 3:   Matt Clapp #34, Brandon Caleb #8 and DeMarco Murray #7 of Oklahoma Sooners celebrate with wide receiver Cameron Kenney #6 after Kenney scored a touchdown in the first quarter of the game against the Miami Hurricanes on October 3, 2009 at Landshark Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Doug Benc/Getty Images

For the past few months, all talk about the Oklahoma Sooners has centered around Sam Bradford and Gerald McCoy and where they will be taken in next week's NFL Draft. 

Apparently, everyone forgot about the team that has been practicing in Norman for the past month.  

The Sooners have been hard at spring practice since the second week of March and conclude the spring session with the annual Red and White game Saturday afternoon.  

There hasn't been much talk about the practices for the Sooners due to Bob Stoops' practical lockdown of media coverage during the spring session.  It's pretty much a tradition of Sooner football.  Some call Stoops paranoid, but hey, he's the head coach. He can pretty much do what he wants with the program.

The only negative that has come out of spring practice has been the injury to offensive lineman Eric Mensik, who injured his knee early on and is expected to be out for eight weeks to recover.  He is expected to be ready when Oklahoma opens the season at home on September 4th against Utah State.

A bright spot has been the consistency of the offense and quarterback Landry Jones.  In the two previous spring scrimmages, Jones had only thrown one interception in 200 pass attempts.  However, Jones said that he still has a lot of work to do.   

This year, the spring game will take on a bit of a different look than in years past. Instead of playing offense vs. defense with a crazy point system, the Sooners will actually play a real game with both Red and White having offense and defense.

Stoops announced Tuesday that he was going to split up the seniors and they would then have a draft to decide the teams.  

Running back DeMarco Murray will not participate in the game for precautionary reasons. This is a slight disappointment because one of my big questions about this team is whether or not Murray can handle the role of the star back.  

Wide receiver Ryan Broyles will also be limited to avoid injury and center Ben Habern won't participate as he continues to rehab from a broken fibula.  

There are several areas that Oklahoma needs to show growth in on Saturday to assure a fan base that things won't turn out like they did last year.  

The first is obviously the consistency of Landry Jones.  He's had a very solid spring, but I don't think we'll truly be able to gauge his growth until Saturday or until he faces an opponent that doesn't wear the same color helmet.  

Second is the development of the offensive line.  To reiterate my stance on this unit, the need is development in run blocking and functioning as a unit.  Senior tackle Cory Brandon has developed into the leader of the unit that this young group needs.  

Lastly, the defense is coming off one of its greatest seasons top to bottom in quite some time.  It will be interesting to see if they continue that stretch of play a year after losing several key cogs in the unit.

The Sooners can take the first step in moving forward toward a great season this Saturday with a strong showing.  However, if things don't look good, concern will only grow amongst Sooner Nation.  

Be looking out for analysis on Sunday or early next week!