Oklahoma Sooners Preview 2022: Season Prediction, Breakdown, Key Games, Players

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma Sooners Preview 2022: Season Prediction, Breakdown, Key Games, Players

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Oklahoma Sooners Preview 2022: Season Prediction, Breakdown, Key Games, Players

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Oklahoma Sooners Preview 2022: Offense

There was a time – and it’s still there for some – when part of the base wanted nothing more than a move back to the wishbone and a running attack that ground down defenses to a nub.

And now the tenor has switched to fans who want nothing to do with anything that might take away from the historic offense Lincoln Riley used to crank up a whole lot of success.

Offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby is coming in from Ole Miss. Just in case you’re worried about the O, Sooner fans, the Rebels led the SEC in total offense, were 12th in the nation in rushing, and were 118th in time of possession with an attack that went fast, fast, fast, fast, fast.

You want tempo? You want defenses on their heels. Enjoy what’s coming, but …

Do the Sooners have the parts? Both of the top quarterbacks transferred to USC – Caleb Williams to the LA version, and Spencer Rattler to the South Carolina kind – but in comes Dillon Gabriel from UCF. He’s not Williams, but he’s a fantastic fit and an experienced playmaker who’ll crank up massive numbers.

Freshman Nick Evers is the star-in-waiting, but Davis Beville is coming in from Pitt to add even more of a backup veteran presence.

Yeah, OU lost some good receivers, but the best of the bunch is still around. Marvin Mims averaged over 22 yards per catch. He was the team’s yardage receiver over the last two seasons, and 2020 No. 2 man Theo Wease is back after missing last year with a foot injury.

The offensive line allowed way too many sacks and wasn’t quite as dominant as it should’ve been. It’s not starting from scratch – Anton Harrison is a great one at left tackle – but the front five is going through a little bit of a reboot as it needs to be ready to get on the move. Getting McKade Mettauer from Cal at one guard spot helps and adding TCU’s Tyler Guyton as a likely key reserve at tackle matters.

The running backs are fine. Former Tennessee transfer Eric Gray should  have no problems picking up the slack with leading rusher Kennedy Brooks gone, Marcus Major is a 220-pound thumper, and Gabriel can take off enough to matter.

For more Oklahoma football go to Soonerswire.com

Oklahoma Sooners Preview 2022: Defense

Defensive coordinator Ted Roof has a lot more experience to work with on his side than Lebby has for the offense. The D struggled, allowing close to 400 yards and 26 points per game, but it was more about how it took so much time to warm up.

There was pressure in the backfield, but not enough plays for the pass defense. Overall the run defense was strong, but it didn’t face a whole slew of good running teams and then got hit for close to 300 yards against Baylor. There’s work to be done, but the returning experience and help from the transfer portal should be enough to improve.

It also helps to have a head coach with the defensive chops like Brent Venables.

There might have been issues at times overall, but the plays behind the line were there. A whole bunch of that production is gone, but the starting front four should be more than capable of getting the job done starting with Jalen Redmond on the inside and Reggie Grimes on the outside.

The biggest key up front, though, is the addition of 6-2, 302-pound Jeffery Johnson from Tulane. He’s not going to be too much of an interior pass rusher, but he’s a veteran who’ll hold up well on the nose.

The linebacking corps should grow into a strength. The Sooners might have lost leading tackler Brian Asamoah and star pass rusher Nik Bonitto, but DaShaun White is back on the weakside, Danny Statesman will be a statistical star in the middle, and hybrid Marcus Stripling will work in a variety of ways on the outside.

On the way is well-traveled TD Roof from Appalachian State, and Indiana, and Georgia Tech. He’ll make a whole lot of big plays.

The secondary didn’t make enough big plays – outside of a few spectacular moments – but the starting 4/5 will be solid, and there’s good, emerging depth.

Here’s where the transfer portal should play a huge role with Trey Morrison a steady four-year producer at North Carolina stepping in as a third safety and CJ Coldon a good corner option from Wyoming coming off a 67-tackle season with ten broken up passes.

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