1. Mossis Madu is improving in the slot: After backing up running backs Chris Brown and DeMarco Murray for the majority of last season, Madu saw major action when Murray suffered his injury on the opening kickoff in the Big 12 Championship. He showed his versatility in racking up 114 yards and three touchdowns in the Sooners’ 62-21 rout of the Missouri Tigers. In the spring, he has been using that versatility in the slot position for OU. He has been progressing well there and looks to be getting some time in the slot come fall. It should be a key addition to the Sooners’ offense for the 2009 campaign with his ability to use his versatility in a plethora of ways.
2. Adron Tennell and Ryan Broyles are emerging as perimeter threats: Seniors Juaquin Iglesias and Manuel Johnson combined for nearly 1,900 yards and 19 touchdowns a year ago, and they averaged 82.1 and 54.9 receiving yards per game respectively, but the Sooners lost both of them to graduation. Therefore, in the spring, it was crucial for a couple of players to step up and show that they are ready to emerge as leaders on the outside. Tennell and Broyles have done just that, having exceptional springs. While Tennell didn’t have a touchdown reception a year ago, Broyles was third on the team with nine, so he is the biggest threat on the outside when the Sooners open up next year.
3. Jermaine Gresham looks poised to have another big year: As tight end, Gresham was second in total yards (950) and yards per game (67.9) last year. He led the team with 14 touchdown catches. All signs point to him having a similar season compared to a year ago, and Gresham provides the biggest threat for defenses in the red zone. His frame will allow quarterback Sam Bradford to find him in the corner or back of the end zone, and that will be huge for OU in 2009.
4. Youngsters are looking good: Dejuan Miller and Jameel Owens have learned from a couple of fundamentally sound receivers in Iglesias and Johnson, and they showed their year of maturity in spring ball. One of them, if not both, will emerge as solid receivers in the fall.
Stay tuned for the defensive line, linebackers and secondary for defense.