Thoughts on Media Day and Fall Camp

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On Saturday, Oklahoma held its annual “media day” event. Bob Stoops, Mike Stoops, Lincoln Riley, Baker Mayfield, and Jordan Evans all spoke publicly, and then other players were available to those in the media during their breakout session. Fall camp is also four days in. Here are some notes and thoughts from both:

  • The depth being built is becoming similar to what Oklahoma fans and Bob Stoops were used to from 2000-2008. Guys like Rodney Anderson, Marquise Overton, Neville Gallimore, and Ricky DeBerry will see the field but will not be the “main” contributors in 2016. This is telling because players like that could likely start and be impact players for a lot of other schools in Power Five conferences. This depth will not only help Oklahoma in 2016, but it will continue to let players develop, mature, and “wait their turn” in some regard.
  • Although Michiah Quick could end up being the best cornerback out of Dakota Austin, P.J. Mbanasor, and himself, he just is not ready. Some rumblings that he may redshirt may be put to rest if you see him playing on kickoffs and punt team this year. I do think a redshirt year would be good for him, because that guarantees he has two years of playing cornerback before attempting to make a move to professional football.
  • Nick Basquine. Nick Basquine. Nick Basquine. His name keeps coming up. “Starter” and “will contribute” were comments thrown around by Baker Mayfield when asked about their receiving corp. With Mykel Jones also getting rave reviews, just how deep will this receiving corp get? Jeffery Mead, A.D. Miller, Geno Lewis, and Jordan Smallwood have also been brought up. This is always a good problem, but can create a log jam if every one of these players progress and step up in the fall camp.
  • One other interesting note at wide receiver is that Lincoln Riley mentioned Jarvis Baxter as the vocal leader, and Dede Westbrook as the leader by example.
  • Dakota Austin is starting opposite of Jordan Thomas per Mike Stoops.
  • D.J. Ward is starting to come into his own. Not a name I have been told has been impressing, but one that Mike Stoops brought up.
  • It appears as most of the members of the 2016 class are sitting in better shape to play than expected. This was one of the worst classes in the Stoops Era according to recruiting site rankings, but I am told that four to five of those freshman could play this season.
  • From a couple sources, you get the sense that Austin Kendall is way beyond his years and maybe what the coaches expected of him. “Throws a beautiful deep ball”, “decision making is precise”, and “players gravitate towards him” are some the things mentioned when I have asked about Kendall. This should be a huge positive for Oklahoma fans. Kendall’s progression will allow Baker Mayfield to play more free.
  • Oklahoma is set with Austin Seibert. Stoops mentions he will take all the kicking jobs (punting, kick off, place kicking).
  • The Oklahoma defense is fine with Tay Evans and Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (Obo). I am being told that Tay Evans may be better than Dominique Alexander when it is all said and done. On the other hand, what Eric Striker brought to the table is irreplaceable. I am told Obo is consistent. He does not have the same explosiveness or speed of Striker, but I am told he is a viable replacement so far in camp. Both of these names were brought up in the press conferences as well.
  • I am told there has been an “edge” so far in fall camp. With so many position battles, that does not shock me. I believe the influence from the coaches down to the players has made sure that everyone understands how important it is to be ready by game one this year.
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