Oklahoma readies its second game of the season as they take on the Kent State Golden Flashes in Norman Saturday evening. Oklahoma’s offense and defense underwent makeovers this offseason are also playing in new systems.
For the Oklahoma offense, the season opener provided the perfect setting for them to acclimate themselves against an opposing defense and become a cohesive unit.
The UTEP Miners aren’t a great team by any stretch. But playing against a team that doesn’t know you the way the Oklahoma defense does, allows you to see what works and what needs work.
Oklahoma put together a solid offensive performance in all facets as they won the turnover battle, racked up 492 yards, and scored six touchdowns. The Washington Huskies torched the Kent State defense for over 500 yards in a 45-20 win. Oklahoma can also have the same level of success if the players below show up and show out.
Jalil Farooq, WR
April 23, 2022; Norman; Oklahoma Sooners wide receiver Jalil Farooq (3) cannot make a catch as Oklahoma Sooners cornerback Jaden Davis (4) defends during the spring game at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Jalil Farooq mainly sat on the bench last year until the final game of the season when Oklahoma took on Oregon in the Valero Alamo Bowl.
He was good in the bowl game and gave the world a glimpse of what he could do with extended snaps. He earned a starting role during fall camp, and while his first game only saw him bring in a single catch, the hype is real and palpable.
There’s a chance he’s a bit more involved as Jeff Lebby learns more about his playmakers in competitive situations.
With only last year’s bowl game to go off of, Farooq has to prove himself. Look for him to rack up a few more catches and show off his elite run-after-catch ability.
McKade Mettauer, LG
OU offensive lineman McKade Mettauer (72) and the rest of the Sooners break from a huddle during practice on March 24 in Norman. Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
McKade Mettauer’s debut in front of the Norman crowd wasn’t his best effort, and he didn’t quite look like the left guard that played for California.
Mettauer won the job during fall camp and will have to need a better effort against Kent State if he’s going to keep his starting spot there.
We’ll be watching to see if Mettauer improves from last week. Jitters and the atmosphere may be throwing him out of wack. Maybe with another start, things will settle in.
Jayden Gibson, WR
Apr 23, 2022; Norman, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma Sooners wide receiver Jayden Gibson (1) scores a touchdown past defensive back Dorian Plumley (34) and defensive back Damond Harmon (17) during the spring game at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Freshman Jayden Gibson may be one of Oklahoma’s true athletic freaks.
He’s 6-foot-5 and runs like a gazelle. His two most significant traits allow him to be a matchup advantage the moment he steps on a field.
He flashed in the spring game with an explosive play for a touchdown and has made a few eye-opening plays in practice, showing up in preseason footage posted by the team’s social media account.
He saw the field against UTEP but was not targeted. Oklahoma is still on a learning curve as an offense. Still trying to sort through their depth chart and figure out who are the guys they can depend on.
There is a reasonable way for Oklahoma to attack this game competitively and get some reps for other guys on the depth chart. This week’s contest with Kent State may be the game we see something from Gibson to start his Oklahoma career.
Gavin Freeman, WR
Sep 3, 2022; Norman, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma Sooners wide receiver Gavin Freeman (82) runs past UTEP Miners linebacker Jerome Wilson Jr. (4) for a touchdown during the first quarter at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
There’s a 99.9% chance that while predicting how this season would go, no one had Gavin Freeman on a “players to watch” list. If you did, there was the chance things went terribly wrong for Oklahoma on the injury front.
That isn’t the case, and Freeman finds a spot here because of his 46-yard run that put the Sooners up 21-0 against UTEP. Now the Sooners, media, and fans are wondering if there is a follow-up to that electric performance. Could he turn into a walk-on gem that breaks the mold?
We don’t know yet, but we’ll be interested to see if he gets the opportunity to play more based on his week one performance.
Andrew Raym, C
Oklahoma’s Eric Gray (0) runs the ball behind Andrew Raym (73) during a college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the UTEP Miners at Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022. Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma’s been searching for consistency at the center position since the departure of Creed Humphrey. Humphrey was one of the program’s best to ever play the position.
His replacement was Andrew Raym, and while last year wasn’t always pretty, a commitment to the weight room and a new blocking scheme has rejuvenated the excitement about his prospects. He had a solid game against UTEP, posting a 74.4 pass-blocking grade per Pro Football Focus and was instrumental in helping the Sooners rush for 259 yards and 6.8 yards per carry.
He was stout running the line and getting them ready despite this lightning-fast tempo and had zero problems moving people in the run game.
He has another opportunity to build on his performance and ease any skepticism about how that position will look for the rest of the season.
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