Before the season, on July 3, Oklahoma redshirt freshman linebacker Ogbo Okoronkwo (@OgboOkoronkwo) tweeted, “Our offense gonna look like a video game…”
Rookie mistake, Ogbo. Rookie mistake.
Perhaps he was talking about the Sooners’ scout team and not our game offense, because the one on the field, according to the eye test, does not look like a video game. The run game that is made to look like an option, but in reality is a designed running back handoff, has been more readable than your favorite book. Fortunately, the numbers are a little better than the eye test, as the Sooners are third ranked rushing offense in the conference.
In the passing game, junior Sterling Shepard is the only person who seems to be able to catch a ball. He has almost 49% of the Sooners’ total receiving yards. He has no opposite receiver with his amount of dynamic talent, which explains why he has more targets than any other Sooner pass catcher. Even against Kansas State, when Shepard walked off the field after an injury, quarterback Trevor Knight’s first pass was a bullet to the gut of junior Durron Neal; the pass was promptly dropped on the right sideline. Oklahoma has the number five passing offense in the Big 12, and Knight’s lack of quality targets is the reason for its limited production.
An able receiver needs to step up for Oklahoma if the Sooners want to have any chance of being an aerial threat for the remainder of the season. But, it appears that no eligible set of hands is able to pull off the challenge. Junior Missouri transfer Dorial Green-Beckham is the man who will set the Sooners’ passing game right – next season.
Due to NCAA regulations, the 6’6” receiver has to sit out this season before suiting up in 2015. His value is seen in his numbers; in his two seasons at Missouri, he caught 87 balls for 1,278 yards and 17 touchdowns in 15 career starts. Beckham was released from the Missouri football team in April 2014 due to unspecified violations of team rules. But, he had been cited for multiple drug-related problems and an incident where he allegedly broke into an apartment to find his girlfriend. Due to his character issues, Bob Stoops took a lot of flack for letting Beckham onto the team. In light of the Ray Rice domestic violence incident, Oklahoma’s Athletic Director Joe Castiglione said in an SI.com story that Beckham “probably wouldn’t be at Oklahoma” if the domestic violence outrage would have been at the time Beckham was unsigned.
But, now that he is at Oklahoma, he would be an invaluable asset on the football field to accompany Shepard (assuming Shepard stays in Norman for his senior year, rather than declare for the NFL draft). Even if Shepard does leave, Beckham would still be the best receiver in the crimson and cream. His size is the biggest advantage, as he would be Oklahoma’s tallest starting receiver this season by about six inches. Knight throws a decent deep ball, and his height could cover up throws that are short due to his elevation. Also, Knight and the coaching staff would be more confident in the passing game with Beckham on the field. He would give them solace in the fact that a talented set of hands, besides Shepard, is on the field.
As long as he stays out of trouble, and Shepard is a Sooner senior next season, Beckham will have no problem fitting in with the Oklahoma offense in 2015. Also, don’t forget about sophomore quarterback Baker Mayfield, a proven passer who is ineligible due to transferring from Texas Tech after losing of his starting job to David Webb. Who knows, maybe it’ll be the Mayfield/Green-Beckham connection, that reignites the Sooner offense next season?