October 13, 2009

Sooner Hot 11: Baylor

The Sooner Hot 11 is a SoonerScoop.com ranking, compiled by associated editor Josh McCuistion, of the previous Saturday's top performers and in Oklahoma's 33-7 victory over Baylor there were more than eleven players worthy of recognition. It seems that this week a pair of Oklahoma's most famous players battled for Hot 11's top spot in the third edition of the site's weekly rankings. Have a look at the player-by-player breakdown of Oklahoma's two-fold domination of a game group of Bears. The lopsided win left plenty of question marks, particularly in the red-zone, but was a solid start to the Big 12 season. Oklahoma's defense had some hiccups early but in the second half allowed one first down and the Sooner offense did well from red-zone to red-zone.

11. Tress Way, Punter - Stats: Three punts for an average of 40-yards.
Analysis: This seems like an odd choice but Way is quickly showing signs of greatly surpassing the lofty billing that he had coming out of Tulsa Union two years ago. His stats don't seem amazing but when you consider that he was usually punting to a short field and at least two of his three punts should have been downed inside the 20. His emergence the past few weeks can give Oklahoma real confidence to try and get into a defensive battle with Texas this weekend. Last Week: N/A

10. Sam Proctor, Safety - Stats: Five tackles (three solo), one pass break-up.
Analysis: It's going to be interesting to see if this was a game in which the light came on for Proctor or simply a shining moment. Since his arrival on campus Proctor has been talked about as a guy with worlds of potential but had yet to put together a game that really impressed observers. He came up to make several crucial tackles in space and prevented what would have been a long Baylor touchdown pass with a last minute break up in man-to-man coverage.Last Week: N/A

9. Jimmy Stevens, Kicker - Stats: Four made field goals (35, 25, 21, 24).
Analysis: Stevens was much maligned last season but has been spot on so far this year and though none of his kicks against Baylor were particularly game-changing they did allow Oklahoma to make sure they were getting something out of each of their stalled drives. Stevens hasn't just been making his kicks, he has been drilling them between the uprights and seems to be kicking with a confidence he never truly displayed last year. Last Week: N/A

8. Demarco Murray, Running Back - Stats: 17 carries for 82-yards and three catches for 36-yards.
Analysis: As usual Murray played a role in multiple facets of the game and looked to be Oklahoma's lone elite game-changer at the skill positions. Murray had some nice runs and also managed to make plays in the passing game. It's still a bit unclear if Murray is the home-run threat he once was after back-to-back seasons with knee injuries but does show the ability to still evade tacklers in open space.
Last Week: N/A

7. Keenan Clayton, Linebacker - Stats: Four tackles (three solo), one tackle for loss (three yards), one interception (12-yard return).
Analysis: Two weeks ago Clayton seemed to miss a few tackles against Tulsa in the open field but really got back to his game on Saturday afternoon even if he did miss some action with an apparent minor injury. Clayton's interception was yet another sign of the reason he was once a safety. If he can continue to play at the level he has for most of the season he may be yet another SAM linebacker to emerge as a senior ala Clint Ingram. Last Week: N/A

6. Jeremy Beal, Defensive End - Stats: Four tackles (two solo), 1.5 tackles for loss (six yards), half a sack (four yards).
Analysis: If there has been a player performing at any higher level for Oklahoma over the past few weeks than Beal it's hard to think of who it might be. Beal has been a holy terror off the edge and one has to think that when opposing offenses see him lined up next to Gerald McCoy quarterbacks have to have a feeling of what is coming. If Beal can put the same type of pressure on Colt McCoy this week the Sooners could very well be on the right track. Last Week: N/A

5. Dominique Franks, Cornerback - Stats: One solo tackle, four punt returns for 100-yards, long of 51-yards.
Analysis: During his time on defense Franks went almost completely unchallenged through the game, somewhat surprising considering a few mental lapses in the past few weeks. However, it's also a sign of what type of player Franks is still viewed at by opposing offenses like Baylor who chose to challenge Brian Jackson time and time again. However what brought Franks to this spot is the positive impact he is beginning to make in the return game, yet another thing that will be crucial to winning the big games of the Big 12 season.Last Week: N/A

4. Brian Jackson. Cornerback - Stats: Six solo tackles, one interception, two pass break-ups.
Analysis: As mentioned, one pass after another was thrown in Jackson's direction. The first drive of the game saw Jackson give up a pass to a receiver with much greater size, Willie Jefferson, later in the game the Bears tried to go back to the well and Jackson did a good job breaking up the catch. Jackson continues to show an ability to make tackles in space and also made a nice break on a pass attempt. Last Week: N/A

3. Brandon Caleb, Wide Receiver - Stats: Seven catches for 139-yards.
Analysis: He had a few drops but it's clear that Caleb has earned the confidence of Bradford and his long run after the catch on a 49-yard completion shows that Caleb may in fact be a more diverse threat than some had been inclined to believe. Caleb isn't an overwhelming physical talent but keeps making plays and seems to be a receiver willing to step up and be counted among a very green group of pass-catchers. Last Week: N/A

2. Sam Bradford, Quarterback - Stats: 27-for-49 for 389-yards and a three-yard touchdown.
Analysis: It didn't take long for Bradford to find his way back to the top of the Hot 11 list. The Heisman trophy winner's stats are almost scary to consider when you think about dropped passes numbering in the double digits. Bradford showed signs of rust on a pair of would-be deep touchdown passes that seemed to lack the same touch that he had shown through his monstrous sophomore season. However for a debut game there really wasn't a whole lot more that could be asked of Oklahoma's brightest stars. Last Week: N/A

1. Gerald McCoy, Defensive Tackle - Stats: Two Solo Tackles, One Sack (five yards).
Analysis: This will seem like an odd stat with such a paltry stat line but if you watch Beal's performances the past few weeks it becomes abundantly clear that McCoy consuming two blockers is leaving Oklahoma's emerging star defensive end one-on-one in a near impossible task for any tackle in the Big 12. McCoy makes one play after another available to his teammates around him and like many of the great defensive tackles his impact is hard to measure based on a stat sheet. Last Week: N/A

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