Clearly, the strength of Oklahoma’s offense is at the skill positions. First, there is ample talent and depth at the quarterback spot. The running back position is manned by some effective returning backs, as well as some promising newcomers. The wide receiver slot is loaded with talented players. Oklahoma has skilled pass-catchers returning and the best incoming freshmen class of receivers in school history. Arguably, the Sooners have the best group of tight ends in the country. With that being said, the biggest question mark on the offense is the offensive line. The Sooners lost four starters on the offensive line from the 2018 group. With that, we look at Oklahoma’s offensive strengths and weaknesses.
Oklahoma’s Offensive Strengths and Weaknesses
Offensive skill positions and the depth at those positions are a huge plus for Oklahoma. Equally important, with another top-five recruiting class the Sooners appear to be secure at every skill spot.
The quarterback position is solid. The starting quarterback will be Jalen Hurts. Hurts became an instant team leader both on the field and in the locker room. However, if Hurts should get injured, the Sooners have the number one rated quarterback recruit in the country in Spencer Rattler waiting in the wings. Of course, Tanner Mordecai is a highly rated four-star recruit in his own right as Hurts backup.
The running back position is in good hands as well. Returning is a great one-two punch in Trey Sermon and Kennedy Brooks. While Sermon is a punishing slasher, Brooks provides the breakaway threat at the position. Oklahoma has some quality depth at the position as well. T.J. Pledger has made steady improvement since he has been on campus. Incoming freshman Marcus Major and junior college transfer Rhamondre Stevenson should provide adequate depth.
In like manner, the Sooners are absolutely loaded at this position. The returning class was in good shape. However, they added the highest-rated recruiting class in history at the position and Oklahoma has the most talented group in the country. The group starts with Biletnikoff Award candidate CeeDee Lamb on one side. Lamb will be backed up by incoming four-star freshman Trejan Bridges. Surprisingly, Nick Basquine has overcome two Achilles injuries and has impressed coaches throughout the fall camp. Basquine will be backed up by Mykel Jones. Important to realize, Jones has had an excellent fall camp to move up the depth chart.
All things considered, Oklahoma has arguably the best group of tight ends in the country. All-America candidate Grant Calcaterra leads this talented group. Lincoln Riley also brought in the number one high school tight end in the country in Austin Stogner. This group is rounded out with Lee Morris. All Morris does is produce touchdowns.
The starter at the other outside receiver appears to be Charleston Rambo. Coaches have been impressed with Rambo’s steady improvement. Rambo will be pushed by a pair of five-star recruits in Theo Wease and Jadon Haselwood. With this in mind, expect Haselwood and Wease to see considerable playing time. Consequently, these pair are just too talented to keep on the sidelines.
Conversely, the biggest question mark on an otherwise talented offense is an inexperienced offensive line. The Sooners will have four new starters on the offensive line. Important to realize that not one of those new starters has ever started a game at Oklahoma.
In contrast, the offensive line is without a doubt the biggest question mark for the offense heading into the season. This will be offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh’s biggest challenge yet since arriving at Oklahoma. He’s faced with the task of replacing four starters from a Joe Moore Award-winning offensive line last season. Fortunately, he has potential All-American candidate Creed Humphrey at his disposal. Oklahoma’s returning offensive linemen have 12 career starts among them (all by Humphrey).
Offensive line projections
- Erik Swenson
- Finley Felix
- Marquis Hayes
- R. J. Proctor
- Creed Humphrey
- EJ Ndoma-Ogar
- Tyrese Robinson
- Brey Walker
- Adrian Ealy
- David Swaby
At this point, Hayes and Robinson have asserted themselves as the likely two guards with solid training camps. Swenson and Ealy look poised to step in as the starters on the outside. Furthermore, Ealy could be a sleeper pick for a breakout player. Proctor, who has been working both at guard and tackle, offers some very nice flexibility.
Offensive Line Maturity
In the final analysis, as we wrap up looking at Oklahoma’s offensive strengths and weaknesses we provide our thoughts on the maturity of the offensive line. However, just how good the Sooners offense can be will depend on how quickly the new faces in the offensive line can come together as a group. By the same token, games are won or lost in the trenches. Oklahoma has been blessed with very talented linemen in recent years. Therefore, this group has the potential to be a quality group. Now, there just isn’t a lot of time to develop with Oklahoma’s difficult early schedule.