Weekend Open Post | April 26th – 28th

Quick Post Spring Game Thoughts
– Charlie S – Posted on: April 20, 2024

***Thought we saw some really strong play from Arnold. Definitely looked as though he has matured in his decision making. Didn’t force anything. Made a couple strong throws, the under route to Burks was nice. Was ‘good’ on his deep balls, just a bit long on a couple, but of you’re gonna miss, that is where you wanna miss. I think folks should feel really good about where he is headed.

***Young Michael Hawkins flashed a few times, but for the majority of the game, he looked like what you expect a true freshman to look like. Was trying to force some things after being harassed throughout the game while playing behind a patch work OL. Hawkins mobility is college ready, that is for sure. The QB room will look different in the fall when Casey Thompson is out there. I expect Arnold and Thompson to lead the team this season, Hawkins time will come.

***Running back was solid. Sam Franklin put the rest of the room on notice as he had a really nice day. Sawchuk looked good while he was in and Kalib Hicks let his presence be felt. Love Hicks running style, feel like it suits the OU offense very well.

***At wide receiver it was the Deion Burks show! What a debut for the Purdue transfer. He has been excelling all spring and he ended it on a high note as he was the best player on the field for a large portion of the game. Jayden Gibson showed off his desire to be great as he made a nice catch on a tipped ball and almost made a nice hands catch. After that, it was a pretty banged up unit that took the field.

***Offensive line actually was ‘Good’…maybe even very good with the first unit. I was quite impressed with Febechi Nwaiwu and Jake Taylor on the right side…did not think I would be singing Taylor’s praises coming into the game, but he was good. Tip of the cap to Josh Bates who really did fine work snapping the ball, which has been an issue throughout the spring. Sexton filling in at guard was solid as you would expect, I do not expect him to be at guard in the fall, but he is a pro down the line and Tarquin was ‘fine’ for the most part aside from a couple speed rushes that got him.

***Tight end play…was non-existent on the scoresheet for the most part. Bauer Sharp was targeted one or two times, but nothing like what we have been hearing about throughout the spring. Was hoping to see more usage of the TE room as a whole, but it was good to see Davon Mitchell out there and McIntyre was on the field as well. I definitely think there may have been a conscious effort on Littrells part to minimize the usage of TE’s but thats just me speculating.

***Defensive line was ‘ok’. Thought Gracen Halton showed up a little, but a lot of that work was done against 2nd and 3rd string guys so I really cannot put too much stock in that right now, but still good to see. Jayden Jackson and David Stone got their feet wet, and that will just help them get up to speed. Jackson is a guy who just works, works, works in there and Stone showed some good quickness off the ball and a lot of strength. This group was missing Terry, which shouldn’t cripple them, but it does show the need OU has and they need to do their best to lock up at least one of these portal DTs.

***Thought the EDGE group played well. PJ Adebawore was the star for me as he had a bunch of pressures and should have been credited with a couple sacks. Woullard looks solid and definitely is large enough to set and hold an EDGE while also quick enough to get some pressure. Ethan Downs is steady Eddie and a leader of the defense. He has earned a lot of respect. Trace Ford played a lot of snaps and was quite active.

***Thought the linebackers played well, particularly Kobie McKinzie. Man it will suck if any of these cats portal, but they have a massive amount of talented linebackers. Jaren Kanak still letting bad habits kill him and Dusty’s undressing of him on a hot mic will be the talk of the day, but Kanak played well outside of that one bust.

***Secondary was really difficult to appraise as there were a lottttttt of non-starters out there and Seth Littrell, Jackson Arnold and Deion Burks took full advantage of a pair of young safeties as they put Powers and Boganowski in a blender with matchup nightmares. Still, thought the corners played well for the most part. No turnovers were generated by this group and that was a bit of a surprise in my opinion. The busts were tough to see, but when you look at who was out there, you can somewhat understand them. Thought RSJ looked nice on the day and Bowen almost had a pick on a tip.

***Special teams…man…the kicking game provided us with no comfort. OU missed one field goal and barely made another. Sketchy stuff. Was nice to see all the punts caught without there being a tent on the circus each time the ball went up in the air.

***Overall, I think folks can breathe a little easier about the offensive line as they did a fine job today.

***I think it is justified to understand that OU needs some help on the interior defensive line and if they do not get some from the portal, you have to hope Jackson and Stone have an accelerated learning curve.

***Thought Jackson Arnolds play should give the fan base some confidence that he has matured and there are a bunch of offensive weapons at his disposal.

***The EDGE play was ok…but… it needs to get better with the talent they have in that room.

***Was a really fun day and I am sure all the recruits enjoyed themselves as well.

JY’s Thoughts on the Offensive Line
– JY – Posted on: April 22, 2024

Color me pleasantly surprised by how the 1st team O line performed Saturday.

In this order

1* Michael Tarquin–I have to admit that when I heard that Tarquin was running at Tackle, it concerned me more about Sexton than it did about the possibility of Tarquin actually being better.  Quietly I’ve always thought that Sexton was more of a natural fit at guard than at tackle, but to this point, you didn’t have someone on the roster who was better than him at Tackle.  Tarquin is a guy that Bedenbaugh has pursued since he was a high schooler, and now you can see why.  After a winter with Schmitty and some solid coaching from Bedenbaugh, he looks very naturally comfortable at left tackle.  At times he looked really really smooth.  From what I saw he locked that spot down Saturday.

2* Jake Taylor–Coming in a couple of years ago in the same recruiting class, Taylor was the more ballyhooed prospect out of him and Sexton.  Taylor has always been more of a natural tackle than a guard, but he’s powerful enough to play some guard.  It kind of surprised me that Sexton got in there at Right Tackle last year when Guyton went down, over Taylor, but as far as TAKING a job, Sexton has been more prepared and ready.  Sexton is now a Junior while Jake redshirted and will be a 3rd year Sophomore.  Like Tarquin, Jake looked very very comfortable there from what I saw.  Between the two of them, I think Oklahoma has got a couple of very good solid tackles.

3* Joshua Bates–the narrative all spring long has been that he hasn’t been ready cerebrally, and was struggling with the snaps.  I was relieved to see Bates do pretty well, even could be called solid at that spot.  There weren’t any free runners, and for a young center getting guys in the right protection can be complicated.  Center isn’t just about knowing your job, but knowing everyone else’s too, including tight ends and backs depending on the formation.  With all of that, he played pretty well.  No snap issues, wasn’t out of position, and the physicality standpoint has never been an issue for him.  It has always been between the ears, going the wrong way, being unsure of himself, but I was damn impressed with how much growth he’s gone through in 15 spring practices.  While they brought in the SMU center, Bates definitely put his best foot forward staking his claim to the spot.

4* Febechi Nwaiwu–Only because we heard a lot about him already this spring I’ve got him 4th.  He’s looking like the real deal at guard.  As he gets more comfortable in the scheme & has a summer to go through more Schmitty time, he could end up being the best of the bunch.  Since he’s a transfer, you forget that he’s still a relatively young player.  In 2025, it is possible that you could have Sexton, Bates, Nwaiwu and Taylor back for round two as a group, only needing someone to take over at Left Tackle.  What’s possible as well is that Sexton moves back out to Left Tackle and either Ozeata, EPL, Brooks etc step in and take over the guard spot.  Either way, long term if everyone stays and stays healthy, you could be set with a very very solid group for the next couple of years.

5* Jacob Sexton–Jake would be higher on the list if he wasn’t a starter already.  You gotta love his game, as he’s played every position on the O line except center.  Since Bedenbaugh has been here, starting with Bronson Irwin, there have been guys who played multiple spots and done it well.  Dru Samia, Cody Ford, and Tyrese Robinson have all done it and done it at a high level.  It’s way more about availability than it is ability a lot of times, but when you have a player as good and as talented as Jake, he may be the best option at each spot, unless you have other guys who can do it.  It gives Bedenbaugh the luxury of moving people around and getting the best in the group on the field.  To me, Sexton is a natural guard, and I believe that’s what he plays at the next level.  He’s ox strong, and is exactly what you need at the guard position.  With him Nwaiwu and Bates possibly together for the next couple of years, you can have a very powerful tip of the spear inside.  My confidence with the group’s ability to match up with SEC d-tackles is much higher after watching them Saturday.

Meanwhile, you still have Ozeata, Brown, Hatchett when he gets healthy and the SMU center coming in, along with EPL and Brooks who could develop quite a bit in the fall.  You have functional depth all across the board, and since Venables has taken over, I don’t think the O line has been in a better position than they are right now.  It’s really exciting thinking about what they could do in the fall if they gel early.

Spring Ball Review | Stock Market | Offense
– Charlie S – Posted on: April 23, 2024

After getting a chance to watch Team 130 last Saturday following 14 practice and a ton of sourced notes, I thought it would be fun to look at the team as if we were trading them on a College Football Stock Exchange.

Which positions/players are you buying, selling, or holding?

Here are my thoughts based on the spring game and the sourced notes we have picked up along the way for the offensive side of the ball:

Buy: Wide Receiver Deion Burks. Simply put, he outperformed the expectations placed on him in the Spring Game. Burks was a guy our sources could not stop talking about throughout the spring and it seemed like he made multiple big plays every practice. He made multiple big plays in the spring game and even left a couple out there that likely will be plays that are made once he and Arnold spend a little more time together.

Buy: The Wide Receiver Room in general. A lot of weapons sat out Saturday’s game and they were still an explosive bunch. OU will get Nic Anderson, Jalil Farooq, and Andrel Anthony back at some point and then you have the infusion of speed coming in with the freshmen who arrive in June. Oh, also…#82 didn’t play on Saturday so he will be back also. Lots of weapons and lots of options. Very diverse room.

Hold: The Tight End Room. Bauer Sharp was talked about just as much as Deion Burks throughout the spring, however, he did not have a breakout Spring Game Performance. Davon Mitchell has promise but is still so young and inexperienced that it will likely take a little time. I was close to pulling the trigger and selling here, but I have to believe that the two guys in charge of the offense, who happen to be TE coaches by nature, held a little back in the Spring Game. This group is definitely up near the top of my call sheet, just not sure I am ready to bail/or invest more on them right now. So just gonna hold over the summer.

Sell: The field goal unit. OU tried two field goals on Saturday. The new guy missed one from 40+ and the old guy barely made one from 20+. The Sooners need to get this figured out and if that means using the freshman or having open tryouts for soccer players…whatever. Do what you need to do to find a reliable field goal kicker who can make the majority of their kicks from 45 and under.

BuyJackson Arnold showed a lot of maturity in my opinion. I like that he didn’t put the ball in danger through the air on Saturday and he threw a lot of nice balls, particularly deep balls. He overthrew a couple, but just barely and as I said at the time, I would rather have him barely overthrow a ball than badly underthrow a ball as the timing is something that will only get better between he and his receivers. Thought he showed some really good pocket awareness and if I had one critique, it would be that he can work on getting rid of the ball )or running) about a second quicker. He held the ball a tick too long on a couple occasions for my liking, but again, he didn’t put the ball in jeopardy or force a lot of things, so that’s growth from the Alamo Bowl.

HoldQB Depth right now. Casey Thompson should be getting into the swing of things once summer hits and that is a good thing for OU as General Booty is not the long-term answer at backup QB Michael Hawkins has a lot of talent, but he is a freshman and he looked like a freshman for the most part on Saturday. With the prospect of Thompson joining the active list, one would think I would be buying, and I may down the line, but right now, as of today, Jackson Arnold is the depth in that room if OU were to play a game tomorrow. This group has a nice upside and if everyone continues to develop and Thompson gets…and stays…healthy, I think this is a good buy in fall camp.

Buy: The Offensive Line. Hey, the first unit did a really good job on Saturday. I thought Nwaiwu and Taylor were the stars of the show and Josh Bates did a fine job at center. Tarquin got beat a couple of times by the OU EDGEs but he did a decent job in recovery and probably would have allowed the QB to really only get hit once during his scrimmage. Sexton did a really nice job at left guard, and while I do not expect him to play guard this season, it was nice to see how effective his athleticism can be across the line. The second unit wasn’t so good, but the addition of center Branson Hickman from SMU is really a big move for this unit as it will allow Nwaiwu/Hatchett/Ozaeta/Brooks/EPL and a couple of other guys (maybe Taylor) to sort out the interior spots. Wouldn’t hate to see one more tackle added to the fold, but that’s getting greedy.

Hold: The Running Back Room. To be completely clear…the only reason I am holding this is because I really have no idea what we are going to see or who we are going to see it from based on last year’s personnel usage. If last year didn’t happen, I would likely be a buyer as Sawchuk returns, Hicks looked good and Sam Franklin appeared to be a guy who can push for a lot of reps. On top of that, you have Taylor Tatum coming in June. But…then you had the curious case of Jovantae Barnes on Saturday. He didn’t take one snap and after the game, Brent said it was basically a coach’s decision (something we heard so often last year) to not play him so they could give reps to other guys. Umm…what? Barnes was supposedly a ‘healthy scratch’ from much of last season and he never found his footing. Now you come out and don’t get him any reps…when he is supposed to be competing for RB1 duties? Something doesn’t add up…but there is too much talent in the room for me to sell, so I will just hold for now.

Buy: The Offensive Play Calling. I don’t put any stock really into what we saw on Saturday…but when combined with what we have heard throughout the spring and Littrell’s track record, I am a buyer. Littrell’s track record indicates that he will mold his offense and his play calling off of what works best for his personnel. He has had pass-first offenses, run-first offenses, offenses that use tempo, and offenses that are more methodical. There was one point in the Spring game where OU hit on a counter run…Littrell had them run the same play to the opposite side on the next play which hit…he backed that up by running it one more time to the original side for another gain, all while using tempo. Then we saw the matchup issues he created with Burks on linebackers and young safeties which was something the Lebby offense would not do. Was just really encouraging to watch a guy call plays while looking like he had an actual plan rather than lining up and saying “I’m not changing, you just have to out-athlete me” that comes with the Lebby/Briles offense.

Quick Hitter | Portal Target Notes
– Charlie S – Posted on: April 24, 2024

Just wanted to pass along a couple of really quick notes on OU and the Portal…

***First, start with TCU defensive tackle Damonic Williams. He has concluded his Texas visit and guess what? He didn’t commit to the Horns despite what some folks were putting out there yesterday (before he even arrived in Austin in some cases…oddly enough some of the same folks who also said he was shutting it down on Sunday and committing to OU). Go figure. Anyway, he will now continue on his path and make additional visits as he has maintained he would all along. The destinations can always change, but LSU, Colorado, Missouri and Oregon are all looking to get him on campus. I would imagine he takes at least 4 total visits but could hit all six. Expect to hear his commitment is imminent to each of the schools he is visiting…but as I said, when he commits, you will know it cause he and his people will be breaking out the bubbly. Right now, OU still likes where they are at, but as always, no guarantees in this one. I do expect him to have a decision within the next 10 days.

***Spoke to a source about Jacksonville State defensive lineman Chris Hardie. As I mentioned yesterday, Hardie had been in communication with OU co-DC Zac Alley. That is pretty much still where things stand and there has been some chatter about OU perhaps hosting him, but right now, it feels like OU is doing their best to keep him interested rather than really pushing for anything. That could change depending on where things turn with guys like Williams and Barrow etc, but as of right now, at 4:00 on April 24th, no visit has been finalized.

***Lastly, the Sooners did have one portal entry today as DB Gabriel McDaniel entered the portal. I had no idea who he was, but he transferred to OU from Middle Tennessee a couple years ago and played in one game for OU which was the season opener in ’23 against Arkansas State. His entry to the portal does nothing for OU scholarship numbers-wise, but it does impact the overall number.

Quick Hitter | Courtland Guillory Timeline
– Charlie S – Posted on: April 24, 2024

Sooners CB target Courtland Guillory has tweeted out that he will be making his commitment on April 28th…this Sunday.

Back on April 6th I wrote:

“Gonna go ahead and put that trend in that I spoke about earlier for ‘25 CB Courtland Guillory.

58.72…to OU.

That is all for now, will talk about this more in the coming days.”

I’m not moving off it.

Emmanuel Choice | Update
– Super K – Posted on: April 25, 2024

Sooners are in pursuit of tall athletic 2025 WR, Emmanuel Choice (Lancaster, TX).

Choice has a number of officials set up for this spring/summer, including to Nebraska, USC, Missouri, TCU and OU.

Spoke with a source and was told that a key factor in this one has been Emmett Jones and the relationship Choice and Jones have built.

Additionally, I’m told that Choice (who has a ton of upside) trusts Jones to develop him. Emmett is from south Dallas and it sounds like a ton of people in the area are vouching for Emmett and that is resonating in a big way with Emmanuel.

I’m not quite ready to trend this one primarily because I want to see how the WR numbers shake out but if I was going to, it would be in OU’s favor. Hard to beat Emmett Jones for a South Dallas WR.

Spring Ball Review | Stock Market | Defense
– Charlie S – Posted on: April 25, 2024

After getting a chance to watch Team 130 last Saturday following 14 practice and a ton of sourced notes, I thought it would be fun to look at the team as if we were trading them on a College Football Stock Exchange.

Which positions/players are you buying, selling, or holding?

Here are my thoughts based on the spring game and the sourced notes we have picked up along the way for the defensive side of the ball:

Buy: The linebacker room as a whole. So many athletes, so few snaps. Danny Stutsman is the unquestioned leader of the defense (probably of the entire team for that matter) and he likely is not among the top four athletically gifted linebackers in the room despite being the best overall linebacker right now. Throughout the spring we have heard positive reviews about Kobie McKinzie, Lewis Carter, Kip Lewis, Sammy Omosigho, Dasan McCullough and even Jaren Kanak. On Saturday we got to see McKinzie make some plays and Carter and Omosigho show off their speed and development. For Venables and Alley, it will be all about finding who is best to pair with Stutsman on the first unit and then finding the snaps to develop the rest of the room. I would scoop up all the shares I could on this group.

Hold: Interior defensive line room. Based on the spring game, there were few conclusions we can pull. The interior of the defensive line was not bad, they also did not have a staring role and they were missing their most experienced player as DaJon Terry sat out the exhibition. There were a few flashes from the young guys, and their effort was not a question (which is good). I’m more tempted to buy now than I was before the exhibition, but it was difficult to judge this group as they were incomplete and the 1’s were going against the second offensive line for the most part and they didn’t really set the field on fire with their production. Now, since the spring game, they added Jermayne Lole from Louisville and Todd Bates is doing his best to bring in another guy with talent and experience, so the projection for me is that this group could very well be a buy once fall camp roles around..

Buy: EDGE Caiden Woullard. The Miami (Ohio) transfer had been a steady topic throughout the spring. Most of the talk was about his size and work ethic. The 6’4 261 Woullard stood out on Saturday and he looked bigger than what OU lists at him. He is long and fluid, I saw a better athlete than I was expecting in the spring game as he moved very well laterally. I could see him having a major role for OU when they go to a three man front with his size and he showed he has the ability to achor an EDGE in the even front.

Hold: The rest of the EDGE room. Again, this is another room with a lot of talent. PJ Adebawore was credited with multiple sacks in the spring game, and that is always encouraging. RMT is healthy and Ethan Downs is a really good football player who is very consistent and steady. The young guys are talented and Danny Okoye was referred to as the “most natural pass rusher on the team’ from a source this spring. So why am I holding? I already have a lot of stock in this room based solely on their ‘potential’. I need to start seeing results on the field. I believe the futures market on this room is running a bit high right now based on the past few years of production from the EDGE room. I’m just gonna hold onto what I have, and I may miss out on a few bucks, but I can’t bring myself to be a buyer, right now, based on what we have seen development-wise to this post.

Buy until the shares are all gone: The safety room. In my opinion, OU has one of the best safety rooms in the country. With Billy Bowman, Robert Spears Jennings, and Peyton Bowen, you have three future NFL guys. They are all physical and high IQ football players who have speed, vision, good hands, and are physical. They are backed up by a group of young guys who have high ceilings and could develop into the next group of elite safeties. Nothing to not like about this group and I would just buy all the shares that I could get my hands on.

Hold: The Cornerback Room. This one is tricky for me, I almost put them in the sell category and my rationale for that would be because the projected starters were out for large portions of the spring (or playing other positions) and I am not sure I’m a fan of them coming back and assuming their roles as the unquestioned starters. Obviously, I am projecting here because I do not KNOW that will happen, but I’m just going off of how thighs typically work in situations like this. I really liked what I saw on Saturday from the corner room for the most part. I think Dez Malone and Kani Walker are very well suited for this defense with their length and size, and I like the young guys like Johnson, Vickers and Wagoner. Eli Bowen looked like aplaymaker, I was impressed with him as well. I’m not selling, and I will hold into fall camp, I just have questions about where Woodi fits in and if Gentry can get and stay healthy. It’s a good problem to have and OU has a ton of very good talent in the room, I’m just curious as to how the rotations play out off the rip. In the big picture, I have no worries, just wonder if it will take a minute for the rotations to shake themselves out. I know, that was all over the place, but that really points to why I am simply holding here. Buying the talent for certain, just tapping the breaks a bit until I see how it all plays out.