The Award-Winning Magazine Offering The Most Complete Coverage of Sooner Sports
More Recent Stories

Hall of Fame Bound

To The Point

Road Warrior

King's Corner

Road Warrior

Shane Beamer Q&A

King's Corner

Josh Norman Q&A

Queen's Corner: Keilani Ricketts

To The Point

King's Corner


Playoff Preview

Charleston Rambo Q&A

Red River Revival

Tyrese Robinson Q&A

King's Corner

Road Warrior

Top Gun

Catching On!

Versatile Playmaker

Hurts So Good

To The Point

To The Point

National Spotlight

Marquise Brown Q&A

Road Warrior

The Greatest Rivalry

Road Warrior

Hard Work

Road Warrior

To The Point

King's Corner

The Draft

To The Point

NFL Bound

Looking Back: Billy Vessels

Road Warrior

King's Corner

NFL Spotlight

Boomer Bio

Lincoln Riley Q&A

Keys To Success

End of an Era

Stepping Down

Dominating Force

2017 Recruiting

OU finished off a memorable 2016 season on high note

Road Warrior

Emmanuel Beal Q&A

Fast & Furious

Road Warrior

OU vs. Texas: By The Numbers

King's Corner

Steven Parker Q&A

Orlando Brown Q&A

Speed Burner

King's Corner

Next Step

Welcome Home

QB Questions?

Common Cause

Right on Target

Flying High at No. 1

Headed North

Playoff Bound

Dominique Alexander Q&A

California Connection

Red River Rejuvenation

To The Point

Ty Darlington Q&A

Aaron Ripkowski Q&A

Sooner Flashback: Jakie Sandefer

Next Generation

Hiring Time

Sooners hire new offensive coordinator

Samaje Perine Q&A

Aaron Ripkowski Q&A

Mike Stoops Q&A

Josh Heupel Q&A

All in the Family

Road Warrior

On Point

King's Corner

Sugar Bowl Review


OU to meet Alabama in Sugar Bowl

Josh Heupel Q&A

Josh Heupel Q&A

Boomer Bio

The Closer

Sooner Success

Mike Stoops Q&A

Bill Bedenbaugh Q&A

Spring Football Review

Spring Football Review

To The Point

Boomer Bio: Julian Wilson

Boomer Bio: Chuka Ndulue

Boomer Bio: Bronson Irwin

Jalen Saunders Q&A

Patience Rewarded

Boomer Bio: Sterling Shepard

Taylor-made for Oklahoma

Tony Jefferson Q&A

Attention Getter

A Change of Plans

A Change of Plans

Proud Heritage

Hot Commodity

Boomer Bio; James Winchester

Boomer Bio; James Winchester

Boomer Bio: Aaron Ripkowski




Strictly Striker

Javon Harris Q&A

Boomer Bio: Austin Haywood

Locked In & Loaded

Ben Habern Q&A

Landry Jones Q&A

The Classics

Top Ten Recruits

Bonus Prospects

Oklahoma Influences

Tight End Tough

Marquis On The Mark

Sooner Stars Set To Return

Jeremy Beal Q&A

Jamell Fleming Q&A

Boomer Bio: Trey Millard

Stacy McGee Q&A

Red River Tradition

Red River Tradition

James Patton Q&A

Boomer Bio: Eric Mensik

Quarterback Race

Quarterback Race

Boomer Bio: Kenny Stills

Boomer Bio: Marshall Musil

Getting His Kicks

Making The Right Moves In Recruiting

Bradford looks sharp in workout

No Doubt About It

Boomer Bio: Willie Martinez

Boomer Bio: Ronnell Lewis

Boomer Bio: Ronnell Lewis

Norman Bound

Showdown In The Sun

Jay Norvell Q&A

Jay Norvell Q&A

Boomer Bio: Dejuan Miller

Adrian Taylor doing just fine

Joseph Ibiloye Q&A

The Real Deal

Road Warrior

Meet Dusty Dvoracek This Saturday!

Casey Walker Q&A

Best of The Red River Rivalry

Bradford To Start Against Baylor

Facebook & Football

Tackling Machine

Keith Jackson Appearing this Friday in Norman

Josh Heupel Q&A

Boomer Bio: Stephen Good

Top Targets

Brent Venables Q&A

Boomer Bio: Cory Brandon

Tisdale and Griffin

Wayman Tisdale Dies

Sam Bradford Q&A

Auston English Q&A

Blake Griffin earns Naismith Award

Ryan Reynolds Q&A

The Wait Is Over

Outlook for 2009

Outlook for 2009

Staying Put

Bradford, Gresham, Williams Coming Back

Make Room For Sam

Lendy Holmes Q&A

Bradford Wins Heisman

Heisman Material

Boomer Bio: Frank Alexander

Sooners Headed To KC For Big 12 Title Game

Sudden Impact

Sudden Impact

Gerald McCoy Q&A

Gerald McCoy Q&A

Offensive linemen Roundtable

Boomer Bio: Mossis Madu

Boomer Bio: Mossis Madu

Travis Lewis Q&A

Travis Lewis Q&A

Auston English Q&A

Jackie Shipp Q&A

Bob Stoops Q&A

Boomer Bio

They’ve Got It Covered

Bradford Talks About Sooner Experience

Big Dreams

Plenty Of Things To Chew on this Offseason

Marcus Walker Q&A

Looking Ahead

Greater Expectations

Manny Being Manny

The Big Easy

Super Sidekick

English Lesson

Revved Up & Remodeled

Firmly Committed

A Cut Above

The Definition of Rivalry

On The Rise

Irresistible Force


Bradford Named Starting QB

Venables Verbatim

Sooner Spectator & Teaming Up

Final Chapter

Catching Up With Sumlin

Welcome Back Little Joe

Wilson’s Defensive Wisdom

Reggie Smith Q&A

Malcolm Over The Middle

Fantastic Five

Thompson & Alexander To Sign Autographs



OU’s Greatest

Boomer Bio: Brody Eldridge

Boomer Bio: Fred Strong

Dual Threat: Stephen Garcia

Thirty Reasons Why OU will beat Texas

Double Duty

Kody Cooke: A Conversation

Boomer Bio: Lendy Holmes

Welcome Back

Quick Five With Nic Harris

Road Warrior

The Opposition

Defensive Backing

Recruiting: Crimson Bloodline

Wilson Weighs In

Replacing Runnels?

Defensive Outlook

Top Shelf: Austin Box

Rufus Revelations

Reaction to Capel Hiring

A.D. Unscripted

OU will miss Sampson

OU Scrimmage Report

Joey Halzle Q&A

Gray, OU prep for The Dance

Moore is Better

Sooners eye stretch run

Haskell remains a lost treasure

Boomer Bio: Patty Gasso

Sherri Coale Conversation

Taylor Made

Future Considerations

McCoy becomes a Sooner

Michael Neal Q&A

Recruiting: Dominique Franks Q&A

Strong Willed

Football Recruiting Notes

Remembering Billy Ball

Enough Gloom & Doom

Back In Business

Endowed Scholarships Announced

USC or Texas: The Lesser of Two Evils?

Stoops is not leaving OU

Sooners down Ducks in Holiday Bowl

Biding His Time

Kelvin Sampson Q&A

Next Stop Division I

Boomer Bio: Allen Patrick

Chris Messner Q&A

Bob Stoops' take on Bedlam Victory

Terrance Anderson's Journey

OU vs. Tech: The Answers

OU vs. Tech Matchups

Road Warrior

Stoops talks about OU's 36-30 win

OU vs. A&M matchups

OU Coaches’ Roundtable

Recruiting: Derek Burton

Boomer Bio: Juaquin Iglesias

Carl Pendleton Q&A

Sooners topple Huskers in Lincoln

OU-Nebraska Matchups

Recruiting: Ugo Chinasa

Sooners top Baylor

OU vs. Baylor Matchups

Recruiting: Offensive Line

Recruiting: Adron Tennell

Sooners top Jayhawks

OU vs. Kansas Matchups

Boomer Bio

A Pleasant Conversation

Texas tops Oklahoma

Red River Rivarly Matchups

Dusty Dvoracek: In The Trenches

Sooners Roll Past K-State

OU vs. K-State Matchups

Recruiting: Replenishing The Backfield

Boomer Bio

Sooners give one away

Recruiting Demarco Murray

C.J. Ah You Q&A

The Answers: OU vs. Tulsa

Not Pretty, But Sooners Win

Spectator Sneak Preview

Bob Stoops' take on TCU loss

Texas Christian Sacks Sooners

Moses leads Sooner tight ends

Rufus Alexander Q&A

Thompson gets nod at QB

Birdine Lost For Season

Sampson to Visit Kuwait for Hoops with Troops

Walk-on making noise at WR

Travis Wilson Q&A

Clint Ingram Q&A

Sooners open fall practice

Brent Venables Q&A

Sooner single-game tickets go on sale Monday

Questions about Sooners' aura not surprising

Joseph talks about summer workouts

OU at Big 12 Media Days

Kim Named to U.S. Walker Cup Team

Sooners name Golloway

Stephenson decides to stay at Wichita State

Stephenson takes OU head baseball job

Soon to be Sooners

New Sooner Nic Harris excited about new digs

2005 Season Preview Issue Available Now!!

Letter from the Editor

Q and A

Ever Elusive

Sooner Selections

Ole Miss powers past Sooners

OU's Weekly Sports Report

OU inks JUCO point guard

OU's Kim wins Big 12 Golf Title

White and Vermeil talk about first day of rookie camp

White gets a chance with Kansas City

Red Rallies to Down White

Big crowd expected

Prelude To Greatness?

Breaking Down The Offense

Spring football eases pain

On Sale At Newsstands Now!
Greater Expectations
Sooners Turn Their Focus To Future Success In 2008

Three of the best players on Oklahoma’s 2007 football team were all but unknown in 2006.

Who, then, will be the Sam Bradford, Auston English and Curtis Lofton of 2008? Who will emerge from redshirt, from injury, from two years as a backup to become one of college football’s top players at his position?

That can’t be known, of course, until perhaps October. As usual with the Sooners, there are plenty of candidates.

But one thing is certain: without the record-setting efforts of Bradford at quarterback, without the inspiring play of English at defensive end, without the relentless pursuit of Lofton at middle linebacker, the Sooners in ’07 wouldn’t have been near the team they were.

Bradford, a redshirt freshman, led the nation in passing efficiency, set an NCAA freshman record for touchdown passes and set a school record for completion percentage. English, a sophomore, might have set a school record for sacks before an injury slowed his progress. And Lofton, a consensus All-America pick as a junior, recorded more tackles in a single than any Sooner in 26 years, and single-handedly turned the fortunes of five Big 12 games.

Easily lost in the smoke from the Fiesta Bowl implosion is the fact that this OU team lapped the rest of the Big 12 Conference and, if not for uncharacteristic stumbles in Boulder, Colo., and Lubbock, Texas, might have been in New Orleans for the national championship.

Depending on which underclassmen return for ’08, the Sooners are certain to join the chase for Miami and the ’08 national championship.
Here’s why:

Junior class
A group of juniors deemed one of the most talented in Bob Stoops’ tenure will be seniors.
Most of them, anyway.

With wide receiver Malcolm Kelly headed to NFL next fall, but plenty of other seniors-to-be, many who will be four-year starters, figure to be back to strengthen OU’s championship pursuit.

Wideout Juaquin Iglesias, who blossomed with a move from flanker to end and led the team in receptions and receiving yards, will team up with slot receiver Manuel Johnson, who came on strong late in ’07. Another senior wideout who should help next year is Quentin Chaney, who for the second year in a row was idle in the regular season only to replace Kelly with a career game — four catches, 129 yards and a TD — in the Fiesta Bowl.

The offense can once more lean on a veteran offensive line, and all were juniors in ’07. Left guard Duke Robinson earned consensus All-American honors. Left tackle Phil Loadholt, a junior college transfer, started hot in ’07 but leveled out and should be much better in ’08.
Center Jon Cooper is another four-year starter who is often overlooked by fans and media.
Right guard Brandon Walker was the Sooners’ most efficient blocker this past season and will be a three-year starter in ’08. Right tackle Branndon Braxton had a strong junior season after a broken leg in ’06 and will have plenty of starting experience going into this fall.

Two others — sophomores Brian Simmons and Trent Williams — have frontline ability and should continue to add depth next season. Simmons would probably be the starter at left guard if Robinson opted to leave.

Early departures to pro football could affect OU’s defense in 2008. Lofton and Reggie Smith opted to leave for the pros, and finding replacements for them will be critical for the OU coaching staff.

Helping provide leadership and stability will be safety Nic Harris and Lendy Holmes.

Dearly departed

The 2007 senior class was tiny in number (13 on the two-deep), and only a bit larger in contribution, so there won’t be a lot of holes to fill next season.

Allen Patrick finished with class, rushing for 1,007 yards as a senior. Joe Jon Finley became one of the most productive tight ends in school history (62 catches, 775 yards, 10 TDs). Safety D.J. Wolfe had a big senior season (83 tackles, four interceptions, two fumble recoveries). Lewis Baker, Alonzo Dotson and Marcus Walker were solid.

One senior who will be tough to replace is place-kicker Garrett Hartley, who moved up to third in career kick scoring (310 points) with 110 points this season, second-best all-time at OU.

Plan for success

Schedule-making sounds a lot easier than it is. When OU put together the contracts for the 2007 season, Utah State, North Texas, Miami and Tulsa were all coming off winning seasons. By the time ’07 actually arrived, Miami was in full rebuild mode, and North Texas and Utah State had plummeted to two of the nation’s worst teams.

Still, 2008 looks promising for that ever-prominent strength of schedule — a must-have for teams hoping to contend for the BCS title game.

The season starts Sept. 6 with Cincinnati, a surprisingly-good 10-3 club in 2007. OU visits Washington on Sept. 13. The Huskies were just 4-9 in 2007, but played eight ranked teams and were within one touchdown in five of their defeats. And TCU, 8-5 last season and purveyors of one of the greatest upsets in OU history in the 2005 opener, is back at Memorial Stadium. The Sooners may also land a Division I-AA opponent for the second time in school history if Joe Castiglione can’t find a Division I-A soon.

Back, and better

Who will ever forget the impact an unknown redshirt freshman had on the Sooners and on college football in 2007? Sam Bradford won a tight year-long competition, then threw a record 36 TD passes (second in OU annals, behind Jason White’s 40 in 2003), completed 69.5 percent of his passes and was intercepted just eight times.

And guess what? He’ll only be better in 2008.
So will running back DeMarco Murray, another redshirt freshman who lit up Texas and rushed for 764 yards and 13 touchdowns and averaged 6.0 yards per carry before suffering a dislocated kneecap at Texas Tech. Murray also scored two TDs and averaged more than 29 yards on kickoff returns.

Jermaine Gresham caught 37 passes for 518 yards as a sophomore and led the team with 11 TD catches. He’ll be a major weapon again this coming fall.

And Iglesias had the kind of season often reserved for All-Big 12 honors — 68 catches, 907 yards and five TDs. If Kelly doesn’t return, Iglesias showed he has the skills to be a big-play threat. Iglesias also shattered the school record with 826 yards and averaged nearly 29 yards on kickoff returns.

And speaking of special teams, punter Mike Knall, who took over full-time midway through 2007, is back. So is steady deep snapper Derek Shaw, although holder Hays McEachern said he’ll be moving on.

Up next

With Lofton and Baker gone, some changes will take place at linebacker. Freshman Austin Box is a leading candidate to replace Baker. Redshirt freshman Brandon Crow should be ready for duty at any of the three linebacker spots. And it would be nice if junior Mike Reed, a transfer who didn’t play in ’07 and has just one year of eligibility remaining, could get on the field, either as a linebacker or perhaps as a defensive end.

Finding defensive backs will also be a priority, particularly since Smith is leaving. Redshirt freshman Dominique Franks, who replaced Smith in the Fiesta Bowl, is ready to step in for Marcus Walker. Sophomore Brian Jackson should be ready after a lot of work in the spring and fall. Keenan Clayton might move back to strong safety, where he’d be a candidate replace D.J. Wolfe, or Clayton could stay at linebacker.

(Editor's Note: This story appears in the January 2008 issue of Sooner Spectator. Subscribe today by calling toll free 1-877-841-8877)