September 8, 2008

Sooner Hot 11: Cincinnati

While the game against Chattanooga gave Sooner fans a lot to feel confident about it, it's entirely possible that it answered nary a single question about the team as the Sooners dominated things in every single facet. However a game squad from Cincinnati traveled down to give the Sooners just the right amount of a challenge at the right time. The Bearcats played well and pushed Oklahoma but that doesn't change that many current Sooner stars stepped into big roles and two young Sooners emerged as the top of this week's Sooner Hot 11!



11. Trent Williams, Offensive Tackle - Stats: N/A.
Analysis: Too often on my list of Hot 11's I fail to give enough credit to the guys up front and too often in years past preseason magazines have given them too much. Well I wasn't a believer following the Chattanooga game but I thought the Sooners for the first time in a long time stood up and were accounted for against a front four that quite frankly meets up with most in the Big 12. Williams was a big part of that and is developing a reputation as perhaps the Sooners best lineman.Last Week: N/A


10. Dominique Franks, Cornerback - Stats: Two tackles (two solo), one interception.
Analysis: After nearly taking three last week against the Mocs it was only fair that Franks got something of a freebie against Cincinnati. Other than that though he did a nice job with a group of wide receivers that are greatly unappreciated for their talents. Franks, though somewhat slight in frame does a good job helping in run defense even if it's his pass defending that draws the most attention from coaches, fans, and media members alike.Last Week: No. 6


9. Chris Brown, Running Back - Stats: 15 carries for 71 yards and one touchdown. One reception for 16 yards.
Analysis: The talented running back may have had his best ever game as a Sooner. Brown's running style has always been something of a mystery to me but watching one run in the second quarter in which he gave just the slightest shake to a defender before moving past him reminded me of the old John Wooden adage, 'be quick, but don't hurry'. Brown is moving when he goes off tackle but always remains patient in watching his holes open and just generally has a good feel for the game.Last Week: No. 8


8. Demarco Murray, Running Back - Stats: 15 carries for 88 yards and one touchdown. Two catches for 13 yards.
Analysis: The talented running back may still not be up to his former self yet but he showed real flashes of being the guy that Sooner fans fell in love with last year. Murray tried on numerous occasions to reverse fields and while he usually did better than he might have it's something that will have to be watched to be sure it doesn't become habit. Either way the player is sure to be catching Big 12 defensive coordinators eyes with his presence in Oklahoma's ground game.Last Week: No. 4


7. Phil Loadholt, Offensive Tackle - Stats: N/A.
Analysis: Loadholt had quite possibly his best game as a Sooner last weekend being almost as equally dominant as he usually is in passing situations during run-blocking. The big offensive tackle has always been somewhat suspect in run-blocking situations but on Saturday he showed signs of being the dominant force that his athletic talent says he should be. It's just one game but there is no denying that Loadholt has shown signs of some real changes for the better.Last Week: N/A


6. Lendy Holmes, Safety - Stats: Seven tackles (four solo), one interception (eight yards).
Analysis: The talented defensive back made a highlight reel interception but due to his slight frame far too many people overlook his physicality and ability to help in run support. The former cornerback looks to really be settling into the role at safety and solidifying arguably the team's most up in the air unit prior to the season. If Holmes can continue to play at the level he currently is at he may be up for some Big 12 honors by the end of the season.Last Week: N/A


5. Jermaine Gresham. Quarterback - Stats: Seven catches for 93 yards and two touchdowns.
Analysis: Gresham had something of a mediocre performance in the Sooners trouncing of Chattanooga, but found his stride again against the Cincinnati Bearcats. Gresham's two scores may have been the perfect embodiment of just what type of talent he is. Gresham's first catch saw him turn and turn away a defender that had a good line on him for the tackle. The second one, Gresham took the reception and then barreled over a helpless Bearcat defender. His mixture of power and speed were on display at there best.Last Week: N/A



4. Jeremy Beal, Defensive End - Stats: 10 tackles (four solo), two tackles for loss (15 yards), one sack (11 yards), quarterback hurry.
Analysis: The talented pass rusher may have been a known quantity to Sooner fans from his performances at the end of last season but it's safe to say that his talent is now well known around the country with an overpowering performance against Brian Kelly's offense. His 11-yard sack was a blend of power and quickness that few Sooner pass rushers have shown in years past. Beal is officially no longer just 'the man across from Auston English'.Last Week: N/A


3. Sam Bradford, Quarterback - Stats: 29-for-38 for 395-yards and five touchdowns.
Analysis: Go ahead admit, you're thinking 'Josh, you're crazy!'. In the second quarter Bradford hit a real hiccup and seemed a bit off target with a few different throws including an errant pass to Ryan Broyles that hung his receiver out to dry. Now that being said, it's still one of the great performances in Sooner quarterbacks history and probably Bradford's invitation to the Heisman race at this early point in the sweepstakes. Anyone want to place an over/under on how many Hot 11's Bradford won't be on? I'm placing the line at 1.Last Week: No. 5


2. Travis Lewis, Linebacker - Stats: 12 tackles (seven solo), 2.5 tackles for loss (16 yards), two sacks (14 yard).
Analysis: Welcome to college football Mr. Lewis. The extremely athletic linebacker may have made the most of a fortuitous situation that would have seen him second on the depth chart at the WILL position but that doesn't stop that he was nothing short of awesome on Saturday afternoon. While Lewis had 2.5 tackles for loss it was the big plays that he prevented Cincinnati creating from past the line of scrimmage that may have played the biggest role in the game. Last Week: N/A


1. Ryan Broyles, Wide Receiver - Stats: Seven catches for 141 yards and one touchdown.
Analysis: It's amazing that the 2007 class was once seen as a really disappointing group but it now accounts for over a quarter of this group with Loadholt, Lewis, and Broyles. While the wait may not have seemed long for Sooner fans it must have seemed an eternity for Broyles who waited throughout last season only to sit out again last week. In one game Broyles went from a player that Sooner fans had only heard about to the front page of the biggest college football site on the planet.Last Week: N/A


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