College football is almost upon us with the Oklahoma Sooners and Oklahoma State Cowboys set to kickoff the 2014 season in Norman and Fort Worth this Saturday.
Bob Stoops and Mike Gundy have both held their gameweek press conferences to discuss their upcoming matchups against Louisiana Tech and Florida State. Here’s what they had to say:
*On the Frank Shannon situation involving his eligibility:* “That situation remains unresolved. Therefore, I have to proceed with players I know are going to be available to me for the rest of the year. At this point, the depth chart is what it is.”
Sophomore Jordan Evans will start in his place.
On how he feels about running backs after the announcement freshman Joe Mixon will be suspended for the entire 2014 season: “Really good. (Keith) Ford and (Alex) Ross, those guys will be in there quite a bit. (Samaje) Perine, Daniel Brooks, lastly, is a guy that has quickness and a lot of speed to him.
The other guys are bigger, physical guys. I feel like they had a really good camp.” Alex Ross and Keith Ford were named co-starters.
On how he feels about the defense after a full year of adjustment to the 3-4 scheme: “Well we are so much more further ahead, scheme-wise, with what we are doing,” Stoops said. “I think we can take another step. With the experience, with our guys back, I feel bigger and stronger, really at every position than we were about a year ago. Hopefully that will allow us to play better.”
Stoops also released the first official depth chart of the season, which had a few surprises on both sides of the ball.
Julialian Wilson will start at cornerback while Ahmad Thomas will start at free safety.
Thomas beat out Hatari Byrd and Steven Parker to win the job.
At receiver, Stoops named Sterling Shepard, Durron Neal and K.J. Young as his starters with Michiah Quick, Jordan Smallwood and Derrick Woods listed as second-stringers.
The biggest surprise of the day came at tight end. Former quarterback Blake Bell has been named the starting tight end to start the 2014 season to add another dimension to the Oklahoma offense. Stoops also mentioned bell has been throwing passes at practice, and that he hasn’t thrown out the “Belldozer” package.
Team captains were named as well. Daryl Williams, Trevor Knight, Chuka Ndulue, Eric Striker, Julian Wilson and Michael Hunnicutt will serve as captains this season.
The final news of the day, Stoops announced the team will not be wearing its new alternate uniforms this week and is unsure when they will down the road.
His thoughts on his young program: “I don’t have any concerns about our program. There are so many young players who can play. It’s just a matter of how fast they can get acclimated to this level.”
On playing an opponent such as Florida State instead of a so-called “cupcake”: “What if they said you could tee off from the ladies tees, but score the same? They put us on the tips, just so you know.”
Gundy made sure to clear up his relationship with athletic director Mike Holder: “I do want to clear one thing up, OK? We’ve embraced this game. I’ve offered an opinion. Coach Holder and I, we’ve had this discussion. This has gone on forever. He and I see eye-to-eye on things."
On his message to the many freshmen he plans to play week 1 and throughout the season: “I told them, ‘Just think, this is awesome. Last year year you were playing high school ball, now you’re playing against Florida State. It’s pretty cool.’ They kind of looked at me like I was joking and I said, ‘You’re going to play, you understand that, right? You get out there and let’s get after it.’”
On what he thinks about Florida State: “They’re as good a team that we’ve ever played, in my opinion. I’m not trying to build them up as something they’re not. But they’re pretty good.”
As expected, Gundy gave little insight into the quarterback situation or battle, and did not
name a starter for the first week.