Football season is almost here for Oklahoma. And SoonersIllustrated.com is eager to get you ready for what could be a memorable 2014 season.
During the next two weeks, Bob Przybylo and Justin Hite are going to reveal their top 11 players on offense and defense and how those players will impact what happens on the field this fall. Let the countdown and debates begin.
Bob Przybylo: Offensive lineman Dionte Savage. How can someone be so massive and nobody notice him? Somehow Savage pulled that off with his first ever start at OU coming against Alabama in the Allstate Sugar Bowl.
Lost in all the hoopla of Trevor Knight’s superb outing was how well Savage did his first time on such a huge stage. No doubt Arizona Western prepared him for the big time, but it’s a little different going against junior college players compared to Bama.
So ideally last January was his breakout game and now he’s ready to dominate. If that’s the case, OU running backs should be smiling from ear to ear. Tough to imagine how much fun it would be to carry the ball and have Savage leading the way for you down the field.
The encouraging thing is all spring and summer reports have said Savage has made the necessary steps to keep improving heading into the season. A dominant Savage will certainly help the chances for a dominant OU.
Justin Hite: Tight end Blake Bell. Bell’s use as a quarterback in an emergency situation goes without question here. He’ll be useless as a safety valve there in any setting.
Although, it’s his use as a safety valve for current starting quarterback Trevor Knight that is even more important. Bell has shown signs of improvement as a pass-catcher, especially in the red zone, where his 6-foot-6, 251- pound frame will be a HUGE asset.
He’ll have to improve as a blocker, but with such a talented and experienced offensive line, Bell won’t be counted on to solo many on-rushing defenders. Other than the red zone, Bell could be used most releasing into the flat, where it will be tough for a safety or corner back to ever bring him down.
Bell’s MCL injury is still a question mark, although his recovery hasn’t had any significant setbacks. If he can give Knight a safety option for the season, the sky is the limit for the Sooners He becomes even more important with the experience questions in the receiving corps.
Don’t count out a few goal line snaps either.