Losing Baker Mayfield never helps an offense in their following season, but the Oklahoma Sooners still hope to produce a top notch backfield, including a QB who looks to change the way Lincoln Riley will coach the offense. In this article, I will focus on the QB and RB depth, two of the sooner’s deepest positions heading into 2018.
The depth at QB starts with Kyler Murray, a recent MLB draft pick who hopes to recreate some of the same success Baker Mayfield produced, but will use his legs to cover some ground Baker wasn’t able to. In high school, Kyler looked to use his strong arm, and his incredibly fast legs to wreak havoc on opposing defenses. Everyone saw glimpses of what he could do on the ground when he took off for a 65 yard run against WVU. Even if he’s unable to locate the receiver accurately, he can trust his legs to get first down’s seemingly whenever he feels like it.
Behind him will be Austin Kendall, someone who has been ready to take the helm since stepping on campus at Oklahoma, but has been out shined by a Heisman winner, and a top recruit in Kyler Murray. He played well in the spring game, and should be one of the best back ups in the country, he’ll be ready to take the field if his number is called.
Last season, this was one of the Sooner’s deepest positions and will remain that way heading into 2018. It all starts with Rodney Anderson, who broke out in the last half of 2017, rushing and receiving for over 1400 yards, and 18 touchdowns. He enters this season a Heisman contender, and will be a feature part of the offense as both ball carrier and receiver.
It doesn’t stop there, as Oklahoma features many backs capable of handling the load as a primary ball carrier. This backfield features Trey Sermon, a standout last season before Rodney took the country by storm. He finished with 750 yards and 5 TD’s, but his impact on the field was clear the first few games of last season. Against Ohio State’s defense, Sermon accounted for nearly 100 yards of total offense, and one of the most important TD’s of the entire season. Look for Lincoln Riley to find ways to involve him frequently. The 3rd back will likely be Kennedy Brooks, a sophomore, or blue chip recruit T.J. Pledger.
Both backs will be battling for playing time, and we shouldn’t be shocked if these guys really impress late in games, or if one of the top two backs deal with injuries, something Anderson has been plagued with during his tenure as a Sooner.
These are key spots for the Sooners, and they look to feature serious depth. If Kyler Murray or Austin Kendall struggle throwing the ball, this stable of running backs are ready to take the reins of the offense, and carry the Sooners to big wins throughout 2018.