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The spring game for the Oklahoma Sooners football program served as an opportunity Christen the ship as it readies to set sail in the Brent Venables era. The four-month process of building the boat that the 2022 Oklahoma Sooners will board to venture into the college football season was at the dock.
On Saturday, Brent Venables, Baker Mayfield, and Sooner Nation broke their champagne bottle against the vessel that will carry Oklahoma into open waters as they embark for their future home in the SEC.
More than 75,000 fans gathered inside the friendly confines of Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium for the spring game. Brent Venables put out the challenge to “Pack the Palace” and the Sooners faithful responded in a resounding fashion.
The Sooners did some nice things on the football field as their fans looked on. There were big plays from the offense and the defense forced several turnovers and got after the quarterback. It was good competition that will serve Oklahoma well as they chart their course into the 2022 college football season.
As spring ball wraps up, ESPN updated their way-too-early top 25 power rankings for the 2022 season and the Oklahoma Sooners have moved up three spots to No. 14.
The Sooners’ roster was decimated by players leaving for the NFL draft and transferring after Riley left for USC. But first-time head coach Brent Venables has done a nice job of reloading through the transfer portal. Gabriel threw for more than 8,000 yards with 70 touchdowns in three seasons at UCF. Coldon, a transfer from Wyoming, and Morrison, from North Carolina, were nice additions to the secondary. Laulu had eight tackles for loss and four sacks at Hawai’i last season. Venables will get things fixed on defense, and the offense will be good enough to outscore most teams in the Big 12. The Sooners will play Kansas State, Baylor and Oklahoma State at home. – Mark Schlabach, ESPN
The Oklahoma Sooners strategically attacked the transfer portal during the winter to fill needs and add some depth to the roster. Veteran players like Dillon Gabriel, Trey Morrison, Jeffery Johnson, and Jonah La’ulu will help bridge the transition from the starters lost to the transfer portal or the NFL draft to the younger guys that were sitting behind them.
As we saw in the spring game, the Sooners have talent in Reggie Grimes, Ethan Downs, Marcus Stripling, Jalen Redmond, Kendall Dennis, and others. With four starters off to the NFL on the defensive side of the ball, the guys that were rotational players in 2021 have had a chance to shine in the Alamo Bowl and the spring game.
In the initial aftermath of Lincoln Riley’s departure from the Oklahoma Sooners to USC, the sea was choppy. The rough waters were difficult to manage in the early going. The steady leadership of Joseph Harroz, Joe Castiglione, and Bob Stoops helped Oklahoma find a captain capable of righting the ship that was abruptly thrown off course.
The 2022 spring game was more than a football game for the Oklahoma Sooners. It was a celebration of a program that waded through some adversity in the early going to put itself on a championship trajectory.
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