Finally had a chance to watch the spring game. Here are some thoughts…
– Overall I see added depth at just about every position on the field. Obviously the Sooners are going to need some guys to step at LB but everywhere else the Sooners seem to have more quality depth than they did last season.
– Spring games are always tough to read since things are pretty basic so I tried to focus in a little more on individual play.
– When the offensive line is clicking, they can move people off the ball. That interior line looks like it has a higher ceiling than the one the Sooners had on the field last year.
– The edges of the OL look good but I think if Daimler is going to be the RT he’s still got some work to do but that shouldn’t surprise anyone as he’s really just starting to get those coveted reps. I do think they may have to stick with the line-up where Samia at RT and Powers is at RG but we’ll see how things progress in the fall.
– A guy to watch out for is Dwayne Orso. I was really impressed by how well he moves both in his kick slide staying in front of an edge rusher and moving people in the run game. He’s a big man that runs about as well as you expect an offensive lineman to run. Whether he pushes for a spot on the two deep this fall will depend on how hard he works in the offseason but if he isn’t on the depth chart in 2016 I’d expect to see him in there in 2017. Very high ceiling and picking things up faster than I expected.
– Cody Ford flashed to me as well. There’s a particular play I recall on a 3rd down where Overton was shaded and slanted and Ford was able to stone him in space…a difficult thing to do against someone as quick and active as Overton.
– Sooners already know what to expect from Mayfield but seeing Austin Kendall not only make some nice throws but show a lot of athleticism on the move was a nice surprise. I think he will be a capable back up. I also think that once Mayfield leaves Murray is going to have a fight on his hand trying to win the spot over Kendall. I would’ve never guessed that prior to the spring game. Quarterback is such a critical position and I think the Sooners are going to have a nice foundation there for the next few years.
– Didn’t have a ton of thoughts on the wide receivers. Obviously Westbrook showed he’s been there before…I think I saw a play where he actually outrun a cover 3! Mark Andrews continues to look more and more comfortable as well. I recall one play where the LB dropped a little too deep and he was able to immediately get to the space in the zone for a completion.
– AD Miller and Dahu Green look like they’re going to get there but just need to take that next step. I think Mead looks the part but I don’t get that sense that he’s a dog and is going to go out there and impose his will on the defensive back. One of those big guys has to start to assert themselves. Whichever one starts to flash it…that’ll be my guy and if Mead sits even with Green and Miller by fall camp…I’d move the younger guys up.
– Mixon looks more explosive in and out of his breaks. I think we are probably going to see him look more like the Mixon from high school this upcoming season. He’s a bit twitchier and a bit more confident. No surprise here but the Sooners are going to have a very nice backfield. If that OL continues to develop and get movement, the run game should take a step forward this season.
– The defensive line has a lot of guys with potential. The question is how much of that potential OU can squeeze out of them by the start of the season.
– A guy like Overton is just so active. He’s got the quick hands we always saw in high school and he’s a high motor kid. He’s going to push Romar. Garnett was lined up at NG…he’s got some work to do. I think the Sooners should be better in general at that spot with Romar, Wade and Overton being a year older.
– Gallimore is obviously an intriguing prospect at DE/DT. He gives you more a prototypical 3 man front body type at that position and he shows some burst off the LOS. But as many have noted, he’s still learning so again, it’ll be about how quickly he’s able to get where he needs to be by fall camp. Charles Walker is a known and valuable commodity but the idea of having a line consisting of Walker, Overton and Gallimore just feels very athletic and hefty. But again, it’s going to take some work and reps for Gallimore to crack that depth chart.
– I think Austin Roberts looked pretty good at times. He’s used to getting up field lined up outside the tackle so you can see him transitioning and learning how to play more technique. But those long arms and his ability to keep his feet moving and get full extension make him a difficult guy to really control or sit down on.
– I suspect the Sooners are going to be fine with Tay and Jordan Evans. Depth will be the question but that’s been a question for a while. Bolton has a great first step down hill and can get where he wants in a hurry but right now he’s inconsistent in terms of being where he’s supposed to be. You like his athleticism but he has to take that next step of being assignment sound in order to be relied upon.
– The void Striker and Bond left is pretty big. Those guys had such a burst off the edge that isn’t quite there yet. I did like some things Obo did. I especially like the way he stays active and keeps his hands moving. He also has the hips to go outside and then come back inside and has the length to keep hands off him even he’s stoned on his initial move. That was something Striker had trouble doing. I think Obo just needs to continue to get reps and he’ll be a good one there.
– The secondary has fully transitioned over to a 2 high pre-snap alignment. They started doing that more and more last season. They are employing some quarters concepts but it’s remains a lot of 3 deep coverage so there’s plenty of disguise.
– Austin looked quick at corner but I think where he’s really improved his ability to control space in general. His coverage is a lot tighter overall.
– Parker and Thomas are known commodities at safety. They’ll only be better this upcoming season.
– Haughton didn’t make any big plays but he was where he needed to be and he was able to identify and close quickly. He’s going to be a reliable player this season and I think an all conference type safety in his junior season.
– Sunderland moves well. He’s always had good size and the ability to run. He’s still working through his alignment and assignment issues. There was a wide open RB that was in the middle of the field. The coverage call appeared to be a rolled cover 3 and Sunderland got sucked out of the middle. But again, he’s only going to get better when it comes to understanding his assignments.
– I think Mbanasor looked good. I was especially impressed by how he looked when he stayed square and “caught” receivers. Out of his press when he stays square he made it very difficult for wide receivers to get into their routes. I think he could be the guy to transition OU’s defensive cornerback position away from a finesse roll and into a more physical roll in the future.
– Stephens is another big cornerback. He’s still putting things together. He had some assignment issues but he’s clearly come a long way and flashes athleticism and physicality (love the form tackle on the sideline). It’ll be interesting to see a future secondary (perhaps 2017) with him and Mbanasor on opposite sides as two big physical cornerbacks.