It’s been an off-season unlike any other and an off-season that may (and hopefully) won’t happen again. After all the uncertainty, the back-and-forth, the day-to-day updates as to whether or not it would happen: the moment is finally upon us.
Oklahoma football is OFFICIALLY opening their season tomorrow in Norman against the Missouri State Bears. College football in the state of Oklahoma will be played at least for now, but it won’t be the football you’re used to seeing. Memorial Stadium’s capacity will be limited. Players listed on this week’s depth chart will not play. It is for the most part going to be a patchwork roster, at least in Oklahoma’s case, for the next few weeks at the least.
Date: Saturday, Sept 12th 6:00pm CST
Location: Norman, Oklahoma
Storyline: Oklahoma (and college football) are coming into this season off an abbreviated off-season and fall camp. The Sooners were initially slated to kickoff their season against Missouri State, hasn’t lost it’s main storyline that is the beginning of the Spencer Rattler era. Oklahoma fans have been dying to see what #1 ranked QB in the 2019 class can do since arriving on campus. As for the defense, Oklahoma has a lot to prove losing it’s key players Kenneth Murray, Neville Gallimore, and Parnell Motley to the NFL. Grinch has more talent to work with in his second year as defensive coordinator, however a young, inexperienced group may cap their ceiling. Still there is some excitement around the program with names like Perrion Winfrey, Tre Brown, David Ugwoegbu and Nik Bonitto all having strong fall camps.
In a game like this, it’s tough to really say who is going to make a real impact. Oklahoma will out talent Missouri State at every position on the field, so I’ll name some players that I’d like to see have strong outings.
Spencer Rattler: All the hype has led up to this opening moment. Rattler is gunslinger much in the way that Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray were in their time at Oklahoma. The biggest thing to watch here, as I said on the podcast, is that Rattler looks the part of Oklahoma’s offensive leader. How does he settle in taking a full games worth of snaps, does he make the right reads, and can he limit mistakes. The Bears won’t field a caliber of defense Oklahoma will see going into Big 12 play, so struggles here would sound some alarms, should they happen.
Tre Brown: A lot of talk around the program and among coaches as to how much Tre Brown has improved as a defensive back. He’s done well in his time at Oklahoma, but that has been mostly attributed to his world class speed. Now in his 4th season, Brown is expected to take a leap both in his development and as a leader on the defensive side the ball.
Perrion Winfrey: The #1 overall JUCO prospect in the 2020 recruiting cycle, Winfrey looks to fill the shoes of the departed Neville Gallimore. Winfrey is nearly physically ready to be the guy Oklahoma hopes he can be, however his limited time in the program and an abbreviated off-season may stunt his development early. Still, his physical upside should show in the same way that Ronnie Perkins’ did in his first game in an Oklahoma uniform, especially against this Missouri State squad.
Austin Stogner: Oklahoma has fielded some talented TE/HB’s over the past couple seasons, and Stogner is being talked about in the same light. 6’6, 260 lbs, he’ll be an easy outlet for Spencer Rattler to use as he takes the reigns of the Oklahoma offense. At least early in this game, expect Stogner to see plenty of looks as he’s big mismatch over the middle and much better receiving option than some may consider.
- Spencer Rattler throws for 4 touchdowns, 1 rushing.
- Seth McGowan leads the team in rushing yards.
- The Oklahoma defense creates 3 turnovers
- Marvin Mims scores a special teams TD
This is essentially a spring game for the Oklahoma Sooners and one where you’ll see plenty of position battles on the field. The Sooners should and will be the dominate team even while they stumble at times to figure some things out. On the Crimson & Cream Machine podcast, I predicted the Sooners win this one 55-14, I’ll stick to that one.