Some Plays for Week #1 (denfulk's plays)



I'm not going to be posting a bunch of plays and records. I'm also not going to be listing a UNIT size for any given game. If I go through the energy to post a write-up, I think it is a great play . . . . . period. I'm going to try and concentrate on what I think are the best 5 or so plays of any given week. Personally, I may bet a lot more than I post, but I'm not going to be redundant posting plays that are already elaborated on by other posters. I will be offering input on other games I do not give write-ups on. So, always feel free to ask me my thoughts on any games for a given week.

Now, let's get to play #1 . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Last season was a definite rebuilding year for the Oklahoma Sooners. After losing a plethora of quality and experienced players to the NFL after the 2004 season, the Sooners struggled to an 8-4 record overall in 2005. I think it is important to note that those 4 losses all occurred against 2005 Bowl Teams including the National Champions -- Texas. The only positions where the Sooners did not struggle last year was at fullback, defensive tackles, defensive ends, and linebackers. Except for the fullback position, these will be strengths again this season. Oklahoma's star RB, Adrian Peterson, was plagued with injury through the entire season. On top of this, the Sooners were substituting a great deal on the offensive line and breaking in a new QB -- Rhett Bomar. To sum up the way the season went last year, the Sooners started out slow and green, but they improved greatly through the season and capped it off with a Holiday Bowl win against Oregon.

This season starts with a great deal more optimism for the Sooners. Along with a returning QB (which is rare in this conference this season) Oklahoma's Adrian Peterson is currently 100% healthy and eager to play. Combine these facts with the outstanding recruits that are at WR, and who got experience last year as true freshmen, and we have all the skill positions solidified, . . . . . . . if they stay healthy. The offensive line for the Sooners has been marked as the question mark for the season's success, and rightly so. This year's line can only bost two players with "extensive play time" -- Chris Messner and Jon Cooper. "The Sooners certainly have a good starting point with Messner, who Wilson said 'played the best of anyone our last five or six games.' During those last five games, the Sooners allowed just three sacks, and allowed zero during the final three -- with Messner leading the way." (Quoted from Scouts, Inc. Preview) True freshmen, Braxton and Robinson, got a lot of playing time last season and look to be solid starters for this season. On top of these guys, Oklahoma recruited several JUCO players as well as some top notch freshmen who will look to contribute. Stoops commented in a newspaper article today in the Oklahoman, "What stuck with you about your team from spring? Just their overall willingness to work. I thought we had a great attitude through spring. There was a lot of competition. A lot of guys competed well through the spring and enjoyed it. You can tell teams that like to play. For the most part, that’s the way they acted. For instance, the offensive line, though they were very thin, they fought through it day in and day out. Not one of them was ever looking to get out. And that kind of attitude you like." I truly believe that Oklahoma's line will be more than adequate this season IF they can remain healthy.

Defensively, Oklahoma will boast one of their best ever! said Stoops today again from the Oklahoman, "There’s so much excitement surrounding this defense. How does the talent on this unit stack up to some of the better units you’ve had in the past? It’s very comparable to some of our best defenses overall. But they need to have the toughness and discipline of those groups. They have a chance to. They’ve shown signs through the spring to do that. So we’ll see if they can live up to that. But they have a chance to be a really good group. The talent is there, if they’ll have the toughness and be as physical as those other good ones we’ve had." I'm not going to go over every player on the defensive line as well as touting the linebackers. Let's suffice to say that they are not only great at every position, but they also have a lot of depth at every position. Look for several players defensively to be substituted in and out and used in a variety of ways and situations. This is so important in college ball anymore in keeping a defense fresh and potent the entire game and season. The defensive backfield have been a weak spot for what I contend to be the past 3 years running. There has been little production in the area of interceptions from this crew and teams have repeatedly been able to burn the secondary deep. I look for this to change this year. Vying for positions at CB this season are experienced players, DJ Wolfe and Marcus Walker who will compete for time with converted WR, Lendy Holmes and red-shirt freshman Brian Jackson. Wolfe was converted from RB last season and played great at this position all season long! There is a great deal of skill and speed with these CBs listed.
"The safety position returns two players who started at least part of the season -- sophomore strong safety Reggie Smith (6-1, 190) (A phenomenal athlete!), who posted 47 tackles and two interceptions in his 10 starts; and junior Darien Williams (5-10, 197), who played 11 games and posted 43 tackles. Don't be surprised if senior Jason Carter (5-10, 192), sophomore Keenan Clayton (6-2, 210) and sophomore Nic Harris (6-3, 218) also see plenty of playing time at safety." (Posted from Scout's, Inc. Preview) Unlike the last three seasons, this defense has the capability of getting back to the early Stoops' defenses that contributed every game to the scoring end of play.

Now, let's make some points about UAB. Offensively, UAB returns only 6 starters. Most noteably missing is their start QB of last 3 years, Darrell Hackney. With the advent of breaking in a new QB, and none of them with the atleticism or abilities of Hackney, Brown has been quoted by many sources as saying this about the 2006 team strategy, "I think we'll be a little bit more of a running team this year where with Darrell we were pass first, run second," said offensive coordinator Pat Sullivan, who also coaches UAB's quarterbacks. "Now with the experienced part of our offense coming back being the running backs and the offensive line, we're probably going to have to run the ball first and throw it second." This will make the UAB Blazers very predictable this season.

Defensively, the UAB squad returns 6 starters and will have a new defensive coordinator at the helm. "Rick Christophel doesn't intend to make any drastic changes in the scheme and will continue to run a familiar version of the 4-3 defense. Instead, he hopes to take better advantage of UAB's experience and overall team speed. 'We feel like we can run pretty well, so we've got to be able to put our players in a better position to use their ability and fly around to the football,' Christophel said. 'We want to simplify some of the things we've done in the past and just let our kids just play a little more. It's not that we were all that complicated last year. There are going to be adjustments to make during the game, we know that, but there were times last year when we were confused in our base package. When we go out on the field we want to be able to line up in our base defense and say 'this is where we're going to attack this and this is what we've got to do to stop this.' 'We want to do a better job of controlling what we do. We don't want an offense controlling our defense. We want to be able to play our defense and do the things we want to do when we want to do them." (Scouts, Inc. Preview) While not at the bottom in the nation, UAB's 2005 defense was ranked 56 in Total Defense and 59 in Rushing Defense.


In last week's Big 12 press conferences, Stoops repeated a statement over and over again, "We have to be mentally and physically prepared to come out competing early this season (in contrast to last)" I look for the coaching staff to emphasize this thought throughout fall camp. The players will be constantly reminded of their opening loss last season to TCU. This will serve as motivation for the players and coaches to come out prepared to play with high intensity in game #1 and following. There is no better way to prove this work ethic than to go out and completely dominate on the field in the opener.

Oklahoma is no longer in the "rebuilding phase" of their game, they are now in the "polishing stage." While I don't think this phase is good enough for them to be considered National Contenders, the field this year is so wide open they still have a window of opportunity. Oklahoma needs to get their "swagger" back and the players and coaches know it. A sub-par game in the opener will bring back the doubts that were evident early last season. They need to come out with a BANG (for lack of words) in this opener.

Can they do it? Can they cover the -24.5? Fellas, I absolutely do not see UAB scoring more than a FG in this game. Oklahoma has always been impenetrable by the running game. This season will only reinforce that tradition. UAB's inexperienced QB who will be playing his first collegiate game on the road here is going to have to be able to throw the ball and that's going to be a lot to ask from a rookie who will have to be dodging some of the fastest sack-makers in the game today. This should also set up a lot of interception opportunities. The way I see it, Oklahoma only has to be able to score 1 TD a quarter to cover this game. I think they'll score at least 35 points in this game IF the offense is healthy going into this opener. This isn't just a "we have to depend on Adrian Peterson's running game" type offense anymore. Bomar has proven in the latter half of last season that he can be highly effective throwing and running the ball himself. He will have WRs this game who are much more athletic as well as being physically taller and bigger than UAB's CBs.

It all adds up to an Oklahoma blow out and one of the best bets on the board IMO.

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Thanks, guys, I'll be adding some more plays to this thread soon.

Houston -11.5 over Rice

This is year 4 for Briles offensive schemes and these are now mostly his recruits for his system. We all understand the fact that Houston, for the most part, has to settle for the "second and third best" in recruiting. But, still, they are in a conference that will allow them to win against mostly non-BCS teams. The College Football News reiterates Houston's successful outlook for this season: "The chance will never be better for Houston to win the Conference USA title and have a shot to grow into a bit of a power than this season with a whopping 17 returning starters, good depth on defense, a loaded receiving corps, and a quarterback with 36 starts under his belt."

In 2004 they went 3-8. In 2005 they went 6-6. This is the pattern teams follow that change to drastic passing offensive schemes. Except for their Bowl Game against a great defensive team in Kansas, their losses last season were all within a couple of TDs. It is usually the trend of teams with close losses to improve in their record the following year IF they bring back experienced players. We saw this happen with Vanderbilt over the 2004 to 2005 seasons. This season, if the pattern continues, and I think it will, they should make there way back to a post season bowl and my projection is they will go 8-4 on the season.

They bring back 7 offensive starters including their veteran Senior QB Kolb. Defensively they bring back 9.

Defensively, last season, Art Briles and his defensive coaching staff made the move to a 3-4 defense. The thought was that the Cougars had more linebacker types than dominant linemen, so the move was made. Well, it’s turned out well, especially with the four studs who’ll step on the field at the linebacker position, again, this year. Add to the backfield free safety Will Gulley who is back for U of H, and he solidifies an experienced secondary and defense. Gulley, before his injury, was a dual threat – stopping the run and playing the pass with equal aplomb. Before his injury he accumulated 176 career tackles and 8 interceptions in three years.

All we need to know about Rice is this -- they went 1-10 last season as an option team, and this season they have changed their entire coaching staff, and OC, Major Appelwhite, will be implementing an all new "passing scheme." He will do it with option QBs and players. It will not go over well this season. All you have to do to try and make a prediction for Rice this season is to look at the early years of Nebraska and Houston whenever they changed offensive schemes. In 3 to 4 years, Rice should show some improvement, especially whenever their recruits start playing that will better fit their system of play.

Briles and his Houston Cougars know that this is their year to shine. There will not be any reason or need to hold back in this first game. Here's their opportunity for bragging rights in the city of Houston and a way to send a message to the CUSA teams -- "we're contenders this season!" Early Betmill lines had this at -13.5 and it still loooked good then. BetChris and Pinny lines are giving us even more of a bargain at -11.5 (up a half point since line came out.) Again, just as all these plays, watch and listen carefully for key injuries coming out of fall camp. I'm not a big advocate for laying your money early. Just be patient.

I believe Houston wins this by 17-21 points!

This is the reason I don't lay money on a play until a few days before the game.
The Oklahoma play will require some re-thinking. Oklahoma doesn't have much QB potential at back-up. Looks like Oklahoma will be second best in conference again this season.

Report: Oklahoma dismisses starting quarterbackAP - 8/2/2006 12:49 PM - Updated: 8/2/2006 1:01 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Oklahoma starting quarterback Rhett Bomar will not play for the Sooners this season following an investigation by the team, according to a television report.

Oklahoma confirmed that two players had been dismissed by the team but did not identify them. The school said in a statement that the players violated NCAA rules by working at a private business and taking "payment over an extended period of time in excess of time actually worked."

Oklahoma City television station KWTV reported that Bomar, who set an Oklahoma freshman record with 2,018 passing yards after taking over as the Sooners' starter in the second game last season, was one of the two players who had been permanently dismissed.

"We spend a considerable amount of time addressing our players regarding their personal conduct and the NCAA rules," head coach Bob Stoops said in a statement. "They know exactly what we expect from them. Ultimately, they have to make right decisions. The same holds true for our boosters. When they do not, the consequences are serious, and we will not tolerate this behavior.

"Our team and university actions are necessary because of the intentional participation and knowledge of the student athletes in these violations," Stoops said.

A top-rated recruit out of high school, Bomar redshirted his first season while 2004 Heisman Trophy winner Jason White completed his career. Bomar lost a quarterback competition to Paul Thompson last fall, but was named the starter after the Sooners lost to TCU in the first week.

He started Oklahoma's final 11 games and completed 54 percent of his passes, while throwing 10 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Oklahoma finished 2005 by winning six of its final seven games, including a victory against Oregon in the Holiday Bowl.

"I firmly believe that our program is stronger than any individual player and that a championship program cannot compromise its values," Stoops said in the statement.
PlayWithMe - I like Houston in this spot as well. It's hard not to fade Rice, as doing so has been very profitable for me in the past. :shake:
Guys, the only concern I have after assessing the situation and watching a couple of days of practice is the offensive line. They are just so shallow! They'll start 5 decent players, but health is a must! Fortunately, I think for passing downs that Wilson is going to use Thompson a lot like Texas used Vince last season -- allow him to roll out of the pocket and take the option to run or throw for yardage. Linemen shouldn't have to hold blocks long for this kind of offensive scheme.

Most people outside Norman do not realize that last year's selection between Bomar and Thompson was made for Bomar because the coaches were considering his long term use. Thompson never looked any worse than Bomar in those first couple of games (they both sucked equally! LOL) BUT, anyone watching could tell that Thompson did not have the same kind of ease that he had the previous Spring. Basically, Thompson had a hard time getting in the groove of playing QB since he had to spend the time with one eye on the bench. He knew that if he made any mistakes, he was likely coming out.

Stoops did the right thing in declaring out of the gates that Thompson was the QB. We didn't need him at WR because we have more talent there than what people know. Thompson should play a lot more effectively without the pressure of someone replacing him on the sidelines. I honestly believe that the Sooners could be better this season at QB than they were last season. Thompson already has experience, he's just needed the full opportunity to show what he can do. I think the first few practices here have showed his ease of mind.

It's the O-Line I have to keep my eye on over the next couple of weeks. I still think that with the personnel they have now, especially the defensive side of the ball, that Oklahoma -24 is still a good bet. The great thing is, the line could be more around -21 whenever it comes out again.

More on this to come . . . . . . .

pags11, it may turn out to be blessing at QB, but not for the o-line.

Aztec, Houston is looking better and better for us!
beerchug.gif really think it'll be a blessing at QB??

I'm looking at these futures. and there's a couple I want to play ON OU.....
They will do no worse than 9-3 this year, Jump. That's one better than last season. There's too many "IFs" in their equation though:

- IF the offensive line stays healthy.
- IF Adrian Peterson stays healthy.
- IF Paul Thompson can be the QB this season that he was touted to be last season before it was handed to Bomar.
- IF the defense can contribute to the scoring.

IF all these things pan out, we will not lose more than 2 games. I'm factoring a 3 loss season in here as a "safety net" to fall back on.

But, again, we still have 3 or 4 weeks of practice left before the season starts, so I'll be monitoring the team closely in this time.
Jump, also, Thompson is pretty "safe" with the ball. That's one of the things coaches liked about him last season, even more than Bomar. Thompson doesn't throw many interceptions. He may not "win" a whole lot of games for a team, but he will not "lose" them for a team either. I don't blame last year's loss against TCU on PT, I blame that one on the entire team.

With Oklahoma's defense this year, the offense will receive a lot of grace.
PlayWithMe said:
- IF the offensive line stays healthy.
- IF Adrian Peterson stays healthy.

If, and i say if, these two things can happen...considering the defense, and the overall talent there...IMO they will only have two losses.
That said, if both these things happen AND Adrian can return to his freshman form...IMO they only lose one game.
Yanks26Sox6 said:
If, and i say if, these two things can happen...considering the defense, and the overall talent there...IMO they will only have two losses.
That said, if both these things happen AND Adrian can return to his freshman form...IMO they only lose one game.

Paul Thompson has to prove that he can pass the ball downfield. Long never allowed him to try much last year in the two games he played, but he has showed he can do it in Spring Games and practices. Again, IF he can prove to be able to pass it downfield (and his WRs ought to help him here) it will open up the entire offense for Adrian to do his thing.
pags11 said:
I did like the playcalling from the new O coordinator in the bowl game...

He calls a lot of stuff that Northwestern has run the last 3 years or so, pags. But, Bob Stoops was in Denver Tuesday looking over their offensive schemes as well.
After three years, Williams getting chance to start

Sunday, August 06, 2006 STEVE IRVINE
News staff writer
His approach to fall camp, UAB quarterback Chris Williams says, is no different than the past three years.
He'll show up at practice, take his reps, learn as much as he can and get ready to play on Saturdays.
Unlike the past three years, however, this fall is a little different. This time, Williams is feeling some early butterflies.
"Yeah, I'm a little bit nervous," Williams said. "I've never been nervous about anything in my life, but now I'm a little bit nervous. I guess it comes from sitting after four years."
Fall camp has a different feel because the 5-foot-11, 205-pound senior from New Orleans has a shot at the starting job. That wasn't the case when he shared the quarterback depth chart with Darrell Hackney.
"It feels good to know I have a chance to be the guy, the No.1 player," said Williams, who is competing with junior Sam Hunt and freshman Joseph Webb.
The timing of being at UAB as Hackney was rewriting the passing section of the Blazers record book changed Williams' plans to play early. Williams admits that finding another school often seemed like a good option.
"I thought that my first year, second year, third year," Williams said. "But I just stuck it out. I feel like everything happens for a reason. If it was my chance to play then it would be my chance to play."
He did get the chance to play early in his college career. A thumb injury ended Hackney's season in the seventh game of the 2003 season. Williams became the starting quarterback and his first task was to try to engineer an upset at Georgia.
"I think against Georgia I just went out, had fun and played my game," Williams said. "I didn't let the crowd get to me, I just had fun."
His final numbers were hardly spectacular - 12-of-21 for 97 yards with an interception - but he helped UAB push Georgia to the brink before losing 16-13. He shared time with Curtis Falany the rest of the way - starting twice in the final four games - and was 37-of-90 for 607 yards.
"The last couple of years, it was hard but I kind of enjoyed watching (Hackney) play so it made it a little bit easier," Williams said.
It's even more enjoyable fighting for a starting spot. He's not the biggest, fastest, most athletic or have the strongest arm among the three candidates, but he does have one advantage.
"With Chris being under Hack for three years, he knows the system, he knows where to throw the ball," said offensive tackle Julius Wilson.

Strangely enough, he can't wait for some real contact.
"I haven't been hit for real since my freshman year," Williams said. "I'm just ready to get that out of the way. I want to get hit. I tell them in practice every day, hit me."
Fondybadger said:
I'm still expecting the weekly Notre Dame thoughts playwithme - LOL

You'll have to get them from "FranktheBank!!" LOL
Ball St. -4.5 vs. E. Michigan

I know what you are thinking here, "Are you seriously going to lay money on a team that went 4-7 last season??" The answer is, "Yes." I'll lay money on a 4-7 team, that returns 18 starters (10 on offense and 8 on defense), and finished last season strongly by winning 3 out of their final 4 games. This says to me that they were a young team that was steadily getting better through the year and should continue that trend into this season -- especially returning 18 starters!

This line, according to recent power rankings, is right where it needs to be. But, one of the keys here to Ball St., along with the experience coming back, is the fact that they will bring back their Veteran QB, Senior Joey Lynch. While, E. Michigan will have to start a new QB and it is projected to be Sophomore Tyler Jones. He is experienced though.

This play is made more on the momentum factor of a young team that experienced success toward's the end of last year's "tumultuous" season, and should carry it over here to this opener. There are trends on either side of this game if you are a trends player. But, the fact that is hard to ignore here is that this team has the capability to win almost every game they play in the MAC this year. After all, this was the same team that beat the two participants in the MAC championship game – Akron and Northern Illinois.

good to see u here den, now all i need is a cruzer sightin an i wont need to cap any ncaa foots this year. good luck on tha plays

trupicker said:
good to see u here den, now all i need is a cruzer sightin an i wont need to cap any ncaa foots this year. good luck on tha plays


Cruzer is a damn good capper!

Good to see you too, dude!
Aug. 7, 2006, 12:47AM

Quite a show of hands

Helped by transfer Biren Ealy, the Cougars have put together a receiving corps that brings to mind the run-and-shoot era

Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle
Biren Ealy trotted to the sideline, pried off his helmet and wiped the rivulets of sweat off his brow. It was the first day of fall football camp, and after an afternoon shower temporarily cooled things off, the sun was reclaiming that rain, creating a thick blanket of humidity that choked the field. Ealy, one of the newest Cougars after transferring from Arizona, paused on the sideline, looked up at the brutal sun and squinted. Then he did an odd thing. smiled.
"This is great," he said. "This feels so good."
Come again?
"You know," he said, "being back home. That feels great."
Oh, OK. Ealy, a Cy Falls product who came back to Houston for his senior season, smiled again. And if you attend a Cougars practice, Ealy's not the only one grinning from ear to ear.
Wide receivers coach Jason Phillips, who was a consensus All-American in 1988 after catching 108 balls for 1,444 yards and 15 touchdowns, couldn't help but smile when he watched his charges.
It's easy to see why. Ealy, a rugged 6-3, 205-pounder with hands of gold, joins a crew that includes possession guys Vincent Marshall and Perry McDaniel, speed-burners Donnie Avery and Anthony Alridge, and 6-5 target Jeron Harvey, giving the Cougars a deep pool of talented receivers.
"Potentially, this may be the deepest receiving group this program has ever had," Phillips said. "And that includes the days back when I was playing here. And as far as talent goes, we're definitely as talented as we've ever been. But as far
as depth, this is the deepest I've ever seen here at the university."
That's saying something, considering these numbers from the run-and-shoot days:
•The 1988 team, which featured two 1,000-yard receivers in Phillips and James Dixon (102 receptions, 1,103 yards, 11 TDs).
•The 1989 team, which was led by Heisman-winning quarterback Andre Ware, had a white-hot Manny Hazard (142 receptions, 1,689 yards, 22 TDs), along with Kimble Anders, Chuck Weatherspoon, Patrick Cooper, Brian Williams and Paul Smith all finishing with at least 26 catches.
•The 1990 team, which had David Klingler, who finished fifth in the Heisman voting, at quarterback, featured Hazard (78 receptions, 946 yards, nine TDs), Cooper, Marcus Grant, Tracy Good, Weatherspoon, Verlond Brown, John Brown III and Craig Alexander.

All the ingredients

"I feel like we should be unstoppable," Ealy said. "All we have to do right now is focus on getting that chemistry. We have the inside and the outside guys who are capable of making plays, we have the sure-handed receivers and we have the burners, so we have it all.
"We just have to focus and be mentally tough every day we come to practice."
Senior quarterback Kevin Kolb, perhaps anticipating a unit that could be called "Phi Passa Mile," loves what he sees in Ealy, who provides UH the across-the-middle target it's been missing.
"It's like what (All-America) Garrett Mills did for Tulsa last year," Kolb said. "Where are they without him? That's not to say that they can't do anything without him this year, but he made their team last year. All he did was catch the 12-yard curls. How hard is that?
"Well, it takes a special guy to find that hole, and I think that's what Biren can bring to us — get some stuff in the middle, even if it's just little six- or seven-yard dumps. Yeah, he should be very vital to our success this season."
According to coach Art Briles, Ealy has put his imprint on the program.
"The thing about Biren that impresses me more than his physical play is mental preparation," Briles said. "He's probably as tireless a worker as we have.
"With Biren, there's nothing that can't be done and won't be done at a high level. He's probably as good a workout guy as I've ever been around in the 25 or so years that I've been coaching.
"He's the real deal, and I'm really excited about the chance to watch him perform this fall."

Good to be home

Ealy is just as eager to get started.
"My game is pretty simple," he said. "I think I'm the consummate team guy who's willing to do anything — go across the middle and get knocked down to catch the ball, make the block or whatever. I'm that type of guy. I'm that guy you want to call on to get something done.
"I just feel great to be out here. Sitting out last year, I'm real hungry. I couldn't wait to get back out here. It feels great to be back in my hometown, to be able to have a chance to play in front of my people and my family."
It will be a couple of weeks before I make a decision on the play for Oklahoma's opener against UAB. I'll be accumulating some info in here until then. It's hard to make a play whenever there is no line yet, lol! Here's a good article on QB situation following the aftermath of Bomar and Quinn:

Even without Bomar, Sooners can win big in '06

By John Helsley
The Oklahoman

As we drift further from the wicked Wednesday that was in Norman, things seem less and less dire in Soonerland.

Dark clouds have lifted.
Relax the suicide watches.
Bob Stoops is right; the lofty goals of Oklahoma football have not changed.
Nor should they.
The Sooners still strut the stuff of a Big 12 title contender.
So Rhett Bomar is gone. Is that really such a devastating blow? Perhaps for 2007, unless Josh Heupel can find and sign a junior college clone of himself.
But for 2006? No way.
Those who suggest otherwise suffer from perception/reality disorder.
Bomar fascinated us, not so much with his performance, but his potential.
A year ago, Bomar was a decent quarterback, nothing more. Threw 10 touchdowns, 10 interceptions. In the Big 12 alone, eight other quarterbacks found the end zone more through the air, including such optioneers as Vince Young, Reggie McNeil and Brad Smith.
And all that talk of how Bomar came on late? Somewhat distorted. In conference-only games, Bomar ranked seventh among league QBs in passing yards per game and passing efficiency.
Bomar might have become special. Perhaps as soon as this season, or in '07 or '08. Maybe not.
Perception once heaped potential stardom on Paul Thompson, before one bad outing thrust him aside to make room for Bomar.
"I'm always looking for the silver lining," said former Sooner running back Spencer Tillman, now an analyst with CBS Sports. "You've got another story of redemption there. And selflessness.
"You've got one kid who abused the system. Another kid who got beat out at the position, moved to another position, is probably gong to start there, more than likely have his chances heightened as a professional there, coming back to play the position."
Sooner quarterback legends have been made in similar fashion.
Steve Davis, Thomas Lott, Jamelle Holieway -- all grasped opportunity of a fallen starter to propel themselves to success.
"So there's precedent," Tillman says.
Tillman was there in 1985, when Troy Aikman suffered a broken leg against Miami, and Holieway trotted onto the field.
"With the confidence of a guy who's been there four years, Jamelle just tells us, 'Let's roll, guys. Let's do this,'" Tillman recalls. "I looked over at Lydell (Carr), and Lydell looked back at me and a couple other guys in the huddle and said, 'Let's do it, man.'
"We lost the game to Miami, but after that we went undefeated for almost a two-year period.
"I don't see this situation any different. I really don't."
That's not just the romantic notion of a still-crimson-bleeding former Sooner.
Tillman said he wasn't as high on the Sooners as some entering this season.
But he warns not to dismiss the Sooners now, either.
"I think they could come in under the radar," Tillman said. "Defensively, I think they were very much underrated. They could sneak up on some people.
"I don't care if it's the NFL or the collegiate level, defense wins championships. And if you can play solid defense, you're going to have a chance in most of your games."
The Sooners could dominate on defense. If Thompson can just lead -- his greatest asset -- and distribute the ball to a vast array of weapons, he'll be better than the Bomar of '05. Then who can't the Sooners beat?
I'm considering a play on Marshall +22 and this article supports it somewhat:

West Virginia slow to form a line

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[/SIZE][/FONT]By Rick Starr
Thursday, August 10, 2006

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez has learned to be patient when it comes to finding the right offensive line combination.
"You'd like for it to be cut and dry, but some guys just kind of emerge later on," Rodriguez said following the Mountaineers' first contact practice Wednesday at Milan Puskar Stadium.
The wait paid off last season, when Mountaineers offensive line coach Rick Trickett didn't settle on a starting lineup until the third game. The offense rolled to an 11-1 finish while leading the Big East in rushing (272.4 yards per game) for the second consecutive season.
"I'd only be worried if I thought they didn't know what they were doing," Rodriguez said. "Our (spread) offense is a little different, in that usually if you can play tackle, you can play guard."

Trickett took his time switching all-Big East guard Dan Mozes to center, and the experiment almost backfired in the third game at Maryland. Mozes began his All-American career at center by sailing his first two snaps high over quarterback Adam Bednarik's head.
Once Mozes and the offensive line began executing, the Mountaineers ran 64 times for 301 yards in the 31-19 victory over the Terrapins.
While the three interior linemen rank among the best in the Big East, both tackle positions are open.
Rodriguez said former starting left guard Ryan Stanchek and senior Damien Crissey are battling for the left tackle spot.
Crissey is the fastest lineman on the team, but he is untested.
"The biggest question mark for us is left tackle," Rodriguez said. "If Damien can't do it, then either Stanchek or (sophomore John) Bradshaw have to. It will be a couple weeks before we know that for sure."
West Virginia lost tackles Travis Garrett and Garin Justice, who returned to the field as a graduate assistant coach.
"With our quick tempo, all five linemen have to be fast and versatile," Justice said. "We ask our guys to be quick thinkers and tough guys who will get after you."
Justice said West Virginia's no-huddle, run-first offense doesn't require 310-pound linemen to make it go. Faster players are more effective in the zone blocking schemes.
"We run a play every 45 seconds, so our guys have to be in shape," Justice said. "We don't like fat guys. We want guys who can hook up on people."
Sophomore Jake Finger has taken the lead in the competition for Justice's right tackle spot.
"Nobody has a job locked up," Finger said. "You're either competing for a job, or competing to keep it. No matter where you are on the depth chart, the intensity is always the same in practice, and coach Trickett is always pushing you to get better."
Finger said West Virginia linemen don't do a lot of drive blocking, but they must be able to work out of a two-point stance, read and block in the open field.
"In this offense, if you can run well, and you're an athlete, you don't have to have tremendous size or be 6-foot-8," he said.
Injury note: Mountaineers quarterback Patrick White did not throw during yesterday's practice due to a muscle strain in his chest. "It's not like a hamstring," Rodriguez said. "Once you rest it, it should be fine by the end of the week."
Down the line
Here's a look at West Virginia's projected offensive line starters: Pos.Player, YearHt.Wt.LTDamien Crissey, Sr.6-4280LG*Ryan Stanchek, So.6-4285C*Dan Mozes, Sr.6-4295RG*Jeremy Sheffey, Sr.6-3295RTJake Finger, So.6-4295*Returning starter
Tongue-lashing lights fire under offensive line

Thursday, August 10, 2006 STEVE IRVINE
News staff writer
Offensive tackle Cornelius Rogers said UAB's offensive linemen carried a little extra motivation into the team's first practice in full pads on Wednesday.
That motivation was supplied by head coach Watson Brown.
"After what Coach Brown said about us yesterday in the paper - about the o-line has to pick it up - we had something to prove so we wouldn't get yelled at today," said Rogers, a 6-foot-4, 320-pound senior. "We get yelled at enough by our (position) coaches."
Brown's criticism of the offensive line came Monday, when the team practiced in shorts and shoulder pads for the first time.
He publicly challenged the group to play better when it put the pads on Wednesday.
Rogers said he understood the criticism even though it wasn't easy to hear.
"People were in the backfield - the holes weren't there - and we weren't taking care of what we were supposed to," Rogers said.
Things were different Wednesday during a two-hour practice.
"I thought there was a big difference today," Brown said.
Perhaps the highlight of Wednesday's first day in pads - at least for the offensive line - was an inside running drill against the defensive front seven. The line opened several big holes for Corey White and the other running backs to run through during the drill.
That was the good news. The bad news, Brown said, was the defensive front seven didn't perform as well as Monday.
"Both sides have to get more consistent," Brown said. "The first day was defense, the second day was offense.
"We've got to have it closer together than it's been the first two days. A head coach can't win. It's good on one side and you're mad at the other side. I guess that's why I never sleep during two-a-days."
The offensive line is not an area that Brown expected to lose sleep over.
Rogers and right tackle Julius Wilson are set to start for the third consecutive season.
Alan Leon and Tommie Keys are the starters at guard with Quinton Harris pushing Keys to regain the starting spot he held the past two seasons. Junior Adam Truitt and redshirt freshman Jake Seitz look to be a consistent duo at center and there is depth throughout the line.
But a change in offensive philosophy - from pass first with Darrell Hackney to run first without the record-setting quarterback - could create a bit of early inconsistency in the veteran line.
"It's a big mentality change coming off the ball and hitting every time," Wilson said. "In pass protection you can finesse the block. In run blocking you've got to be physical every play. That's what they say they're going to put in our head this year and that's what we're going to have to do."
Marhsall's defense will be their strength...only weakness is the secondary... which WVU should not expose too much because of the option/run focused offense...

Their offense should be able to post a few scores... only thing I don't like about this play is how bad Marshall got smacked up by VT last year. VT basically turned it in too for most of that game... and their attack is probably the closest thing to judge from last season to WVU. I do think the Herd here though can keep this thing close. WVU will score 28-42 points... Can the herd put up 14-21 is the question.
Inspekdah said:
Marhsall's defense will be their strength...only weakness is the secondary... which WVU should not expose too much because of the option/run focused offense...

Their offense should be able to post a few scores... only thing I don't like about this play is how bad Marshall got smacked up by VT last year. VT basically turned it in too for most of that game... and their attack is probably the closest thing to judge from last season to WVU. I do think the Herd here though can keep this thing close. WVU will score 28-42 points... Can the herd put up 14-21 is the question.

One of the main reasons for me considering this play is an article I read back in May (and, dammit, I didn't save it), but it said that Marshall had been trying to get this "in-state" matchup set up for the last 15 years or so. It's a very BIG deal for them to want to play WVU. If we can get WVU to just take this as another season opener, they may take Marshall too light.

All in all, I will be reading a lot of their local media the week going into the game because that should tell us a lot about the attitudes of both teams going into this game.

I just have a tough time with laying over three TD's in this one...especially since it's an in-state game...
Great insightful thread Den and contributors.

I already played Houston and like it for many of the same reasons you do.

Great write-ups.
I'm going to be making an UNDER play on the BYU/Arizona game, so I'm storing this article here for that purpose.

Y.'s new defense to surprise

[FONT=Verdana,Helvetica,Arial]By Dick Harmon[/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana,Helvetica,Arial]Deseret Morning News[/FONT]

It's way too early to tell if BYU's defense, the switch to a 3-4 defense and the rebuilt defensive line will elevate its performance from a year ago.
Even today's first scrimmage may deliver few clues because of the conservative nature of the first week of hitting in pads — a trend that will likely carry on in weeks to come. Also, All-MWC running back Curtis Brown will be exchanging vows this morning with his bride, Kim Dabo.
But here's what we can observe after a week of fall camp:
The four-linebacker set in the 3-4 has placed the best athletes on the field for the Cougars, Bronco Mendenhall's primary design concept. They are active, can cover sideline to sideline, apply QB pressure and drop back into pass coverage. They are led by Cameron Jensen, an outspoken leader, who commands respect.
The addition of secondary coach Jaime Hill may be the most significant upgrade to the Cougar staff in years. He's hands-on, an articulate teacher and inspires confidence. A former coordinator, Hill coaches one-fifth the roster. His corners and safeties are more fundamentally sound and less exposed in the new zone-oriented strategy.
The most visible defensive feature people will see in this defense is showcased linebackers. They are fast, deep, interchangeable, hungry and confident.
You have to go no further than redshirt JC transfer Chris Bolden to learn why. He hasn't played a down of Division I football, yet he believes. And he's been a pain for BYU's veteran offensive line to block in spring and now fall drills.
"It's been good to get pads on and start hitting instead of running around touching people. Hitting is an important part of the mental game of football," Bolden said.
At 6-foot-1, 245 pounds, he runs a 4.5 40. His low center of gravity makes it tough for blockers to chip him or get any meat in front of his pass rush.
He tries to be humble, calling whatever he does simply given by the grace of God.
But then, when asked about the defense or the team, he illuminates how he really feels.
"Our run defense is great. I redshirted last year, and now I can see how the 3-4 works and has changed. Our run defense is incredible right now. We're still working on the passing game. But I don't see how anybody can run on us at all."
And the rookies on the front, the defensive line?
"People are nervous about the defensive line because we lost our stars Manaia Brown, Vince Feula, Daniel Marquardt and Justin Maddux, but our defensive line is great. They are young and small but fast, and they open holes for us to make plays.
"The inside linebackers are loving it because they're keeping blockers off them so they can make plays."
Well, it may be too early to really ascertain that. Today may help.
But Bolden is insistent on the prowess of the run defense.
"We have very good running backs. And we've been able to pretty much shut them down.
"We're talking Curtis Brown, Fui Vakapuna and Ray Hudson. So far we've contained them and, no, it's not too early to see we've done well."
Bolden said he tries to bring a mind-set to his outside linebacker duties — especially when it comes to a pass rush effort.
"There is nothing like hitting a quarterback, getting a sack, changing the momentum of the game, knock the offense off course. The mindset, well I try to use a lot of keys, keep my feet, try to keep low and use my speed and try to get better at it in using my techniques."
When asked what he'd say to Cougar fans to convince them the defense is improved over last season — the one that was embarrassed at Notre Dame, impotent against Utah for much of the game and shaky at best in the Las Vegas Bowl loss to Cal — Bolden didn't hesitate.
"They'll see it in the scrimmage," he said. "They'll see it when we play Arizona. Every game we play, our defense is incredibly improved. We have more talent. We have more speed. The mind-set in the past has been around the offense. Defensively, we'll definitely bring it."
OK, Mr. Bolden.
Bold, indeed.
I'm not buying into this article...BYU's defense may be better, but not sure how much at this point...
Oklahoma had their first scrimmage which was seen by the fans (Stoops has closed off all practices to fan participation) and Paul Thompson looked like a QB that hasn't played in a while. They ran some very "vanilla" plays and Peterson was held to only a few plays himself. Thompson was not bad, but he his timing is still off on passing. Otherwise, the players have accepted his leadership and his mechanics are pretty decent.

One of the highlights of the scrimmage, and has been in practices as well, is 6' 7" 250 freshman, Jermaine Gresham, the tight end that is very similar to a "Keith Jackson" style player. You will be hearing some BIG things about this young man in the years to come.
Thanks for the OU update.

Sounds like a big boy at TE. Can't wait to see him in action.
I played the UNDER in my new "finalized" thread. I think it's the best and safest bet since the QB controversy.