Oklahoma Football: Best Quotes and Key Takeaways from Big 12 Media Days
With the college football season rapidly approaching, Big 12 media days gave the fans and media alike an opportunity to get a better feel for the Oklahoma Sooners.
Head coach Bob Stoops, quarterback Trevor Knight, defensive end Geneo Grissom and safety Julian Wilson were among the attendees that spoke during Tuesday’s session. Each player provided some interesting notes and commentary regarding the upcoming 2014 season.
Join B/R as we take a closer look at all the key quotes and storylines from the day.
All quotes, unless otherwise stated, are courtesy of Soonersports.com.
Stoops Hints at Corner Solution
Although the Sooners return all but two starters on defense, the loss of cornerback Aaron Colvin will definitely sting.
Don’t tell that to Bob Stoops, though.
We won’t change our coverages at all. The other guys that will be working in there, I already mentioned Julian Wilson was recruited to be a corner … Dakota Austin, and you already have Zack Sanchez on the other side, Stanvon Taylor, Cortez Johnson, all those guys will be battling.
While there are a lot of names thrown in there, the main takeaway is the inclusion of Wilson.
Thus far, the senior has put in three productive seasons in Norman—all at safety.
He has compiled 57 tackles (6.5 for loss) and three interceptions over his career while proving to be one of the smartest players on the field for Oklahoma.
Indeed, he was named to the Academic All-Big 12 first team in all three seasons.
If Wilson does make the move to corner, the Sooners can rest assured that Colvin’s departure won’t be as bad as initially expected.
The Green-Beckham Conundrum
Bob Stoops is doing everything in his power to ensure that wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham will be eligible in 2014.
There’s an appeal being processed, so [a return] hasn’t been ruled on yet. But as far as the process of him being a part of our team … we felt the opportunity to give him a second chance at our place could serve him well and be great for his future.
As far as talent goes, Green-Beckham is one of the top receivers in the nation.
A sophomore last season, the former No. 1 overall recruit in the nation fueled Missouri’s Cinderella run, hauling in 59 passes for 883 yards and 12 touchdowns. He also racked up 395 yards and five touchdowns in limited action as a freshman.
It’s Green-Beckham’s off-the-field conduct—he was dismissed from the Missouri team back in April due to repeated personal issues—that makes the move risky for Oklahoma.
Bell Is a Tight End, Nothing More
Although Blake Bell has a quarterback background, the senior will play the entire 2014 season strictly at his new position as a tight end, said Stoops.
That’s funny, [Bell at quarterback] keeps coming up. Blake was recruited definitely as quarterback. But when you look at him now after three years, he’s the prototype at tight end. And I go back to even it’s in his genes, his dad was an NFL tight end for eight years. So I think he’s really going to impact us in a great way at the tight end position.
At 6’6” and 260 pounds, Bell has the size and build for the position. He’s also a proven runner—he has accumulated 24 rushing touchdowns over his career—and has displayed soft hands during spring practices.
Even without playing a single snap at the position, Bell finds himself on the preseason watch list for the 2014 John Mackey Award, given to the nation’s most outstanding tight end.
Now it’s time to see if he can live up to the hype.
OU Keeps Building Up Schedule
Year in and year out, the Sooners have been known to play some of the toughest nonconference schedules in the nation.
Notre Dame, Miami and Florida State are just a couple of the marquee showdowns the team has had scheduled in recent years.
With the College Football Playoff now in effect, Bob Stoops is hoping this fact will see his team rewarded.
When all things are equal with records and whatnot, if someone has played a tougher nonconference schedule, to some degree it would usually benefit you. Otherwise, why play? Otherwise, you might as well just schedule three yawners that no one will pay attention to and not put yourself at risk of losing that game.
This season, Oklahoma will begin a home-and-home series with Tennessee. The team has similar arrangements with the likes of Ohio State, Michigan, UCLA and LSU in the future.
Joe has worked hard on our schedule. In the end, we felt, and it’s worked well for us, that it prepares you for a tough season but it also in the formula helps you have an opportunity to be one of those teams competing for the national championship.
With eight Big 12 titles and four BCS title appearances since Stoops took over, it appears the scheduling has already paid dividends for the program.
Carrying the Momentum into 2014
Oklahoma’s Sugar Bowl upset of Alabama was monumental for the program. Not only did it allow the team to finish off 2013 on a high note, but it also sparked many positives for the team off the field.
For starters, the Sooners were able to close out the recruiting period strongly. With some late pickups, the team wound up ranking No. 14 in 247Sports' recruiting team rankings.
Furthermore, it provided hope for achieving even more in 2014.
“The sky is the limit. I don’t think you can put a limit on the things we can do,” safety Julian Wilson said, per The Duncan Banner’s John Shinn. “We haven’t played to our potential yet. We just started to roll at the end of last season. I think we can get a lot better.”
Defensively, the team returns all but two starters, including the entire front seven. In other words, expect a Sooners defense that ranked No. 20 in total defense last season to only get better.
It also showcased the potential of quarterback Trevor Knight, who threw for 348 yards, four touchdowns and one interception on 32-of-44 passing in the victory over the Tide.
The sophomore isn’t done yet.
Per Shinn's report, Knight said of the Alabama win:
You can go two ways with it. You can be complacent and feel like you’ve arrived and done everything you need to do or you can use it as momentum going into the season and realize you can play this well. We want to use it as a baseline to get better every week.
Just how far the team will improve is yet to be seen.
For complete coverage and everything Oklahoma football, you can reach Sebastian on Twitter and via email at Sebastian.LenaBR@gmail.com.