Oklahoma Sooners Spring Preview: Special Teams

Oklahoma Special Teams

The Sooners had an uneven 2020 in terms of special teams play. On one hand, Oklahoma was strong in the return game ranking in the top 20 in the country in both punt and kickoff returns. Comparatively, Oklahoma struggled to punt the football with a 104th ranking in net punting nationally. Additionally, Oklahoma was 79th in the country in defending kickoff returns. This is something that Oklahoma must improve in for the 2021 season. ┬áIn our final positional preview of the spring, we’ll look at the Oklahoma special teams to conclude the series.

Oklahoma Sooners Spring Preview: Special Teams

Key Losses

Oklahoma has quite a bit of turnover in the return game. Tre Brown and Charleston Rambo were the primary kickoff return guys and both are gone from the team. Rambo averaged nearly 26 yards per return and Brown only had two returns but averaged 43 yards on those returns. Additionally, Sooner backup placekicker Stephen Johnson entered the transfer portal. He was the primary backup but was trusted as he went 8-8 on extra points and 2-2 on field-goal attempts last season.

Key Additions

Billy Bowman is as big of a game-changer in the return game that Oklahoma has had in quite some time. He may not see the field a ton at the receiver position, but he most certainly will be on the field as a kickoff or punt returner this year. Aside from Bowman, Trejan Bridges likely gets a look in the kickoff return game as well. He has great speed and the ability to make the first person miss which is a critical component to both of the areas of the return game.

There’s the age-old question of if you want to allow some of your most important players to risk injury in the return game. Lincoln Riley has never truly subscribed to that theory. With that being said, we’ll assume that Marvin Mims will also be a big part of the return game. Others that will likely get an opportunity in the return game are Drake Stoops, Seth McGowan, Eric Gray, and potentially D.J. Graham.

Our final Oklahoma special teams look is in the punting game. The Sooners will need a big bounce-back season from Reeves Mundschau in 2021. He only averaged 39.1 yards per punt last year which was down from his 42.4 yards per punt in 2019. On a positive note, he did have 13 of his 38 punts downed inside the 20 yard line. If Mundschau can get that average up to about 43-44 yards then Oklahoma would have yet another weapon to rely on.

The Starters

The biggest mystery will be in the return game as Gabe Brkic and Mundschau have the punting and placekicking locked down. The competition will be fierce for the punt return and kickoff teams. Bowman will be incredibly difficult to keep off the field at either spot. Keep an eye on this competition through spring and fall camps.

Projected Depth Chart

Placekicker

  1. Gabe Brkic
  2. Zach Schmit

Punter

  1. Reeves Mundschau
  2. Gabe Brkic

Punt Returner

  1. Billy Bowman
  2. Marvin Mims
  3. Drake Stoops

Kickoff Returner

  1. Billy Bowman
  2. Trejan Bridges
  3. Seth McGowan
  4. Marvin Mims

In case you missed it

We will be previewing each and every positional unit on defense over the coming weeks. If you missed anything, we will reference it here.

Quarterbacks

Running Backs

Wide Receivers

Offensive Line

Defensive Tackles

Defensive Ends

Linebackers

Secondary

 

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