It has been said before, probably can’t be said enough — Oklahoma’s bye week couldn’t have come at a better time. With a week off, the Sooners were able to return a number of bodies for this week’s match-up against Iowa State.
Rest of the injury report for this week:
Expected back: Will Johnson, Robert Barnes, and Cody Ford
Game-time decision: Matt Romar
— The Franchise Sports (@FranchiseOK) October 2, 2017
A hobbled defense only furthered some issues with play calling in Oklahoma’s close win over Baylor. That shouldn’t be the case this weekend with added depth in the secondary and along the defensive line. Iowa State struggled to move move the ball last week against Texas, but the numbers suggest that as of now, last week was an outlier. Jacob Park looked the part of a capable passer and one that, like Zach Smith, can find holes in the defense if Oklahoma comes out unprepared.
Will Johnson (concussion) – Oklahoma’s lack of depth in the secondary certainly showed in Waco as Oklahoma gave up 463 yards through the air to an otherwise inept Baylor offense. A lack of pressure up front only furthered the issues for a hobbled secondary. Will Johnson has easily been the best coverage safety among the group (Johnson, Barnes, Haughton) and it showed last weekend. The impact of having Johnson back this week may not show too much as Iowa State’s passing game has sporadic, but they will certainly need him healthy for Texas.
Another note. According to John Shinn of Oklahoma DieHards, Johnson will sport a new heavier helmet this week. In theory, this should help prevent further concussions. The one question here is whether or not this will impair him getting his head around in coverage.
Robert Barnes (hamstring) – Backup to Will Johnson, Barnes did not make the trip to Waco as to stay in the training room for the upcoming week. It sounds like his hamstring is healthy enough to be practicing, but hamstrings are tricky. There is a good possibility he plays this weekend, but I could also see a situation where they allow Haughton to carry the load one more week and not risk anything against Iowa State.
Cody Ford – Cody Ford returns for the offense. This should help immensely as Ben Powers has been play through injury the past two weeks and Dru Samia struggled in Waco. Expect Ford to see time early and often, especially if there are still health concerns with Powers.
Matt Romar (concussion protocol) – It is still unclear whether Romar sees the field Saturday or not. I’ll presume a little bit and say Matt Romar passes the concussion protocol, he may still be a healthy scratch as Oklahoma wants ensure he stays healthy heading into the RRR.
Amani Bledsoe (suspension) – The former top-200 prospect was used sparingly as a true-freshman last season before being suspended by the NCAA for using a banned substance. Bledsoe is maybe the most versatile athlete Oklahoma has at the defensive end position. His ability to play both the run and the pass should help him cut into the rotation immediately. Don’t think we see him start over Mann or Ward, but I do think he cuts into their snaps quite a bit from week-to-week.