August 17, 2009

20 Fearless Predictions: English Ready to Re-Emerge

As we now approach the start of Oklahoma's college football season, this Just Joshin' is going to combine your traditional musings of mine along with my annual '20 fearless'. For's new members the '20 Fearless' is a scary look inside Associate Editor Josh McCuistion's mind mixed with a few opinions on just what might take place in the 2009 season. And as count down the days to BYU in 'JerryWorld' on Sept. 5 we'll count down five predictions each Monday leading up to the game. This week we get close to the top 10.

20. Jermie Calhoun will rush for at least 750-yards this season.
Analysis: With the chance to get even more carries this fall camp due to Demarco Murray's hamstring injury this one seems even more probable than it did. Add in that anyone who was listening heard the rave reviews from coaches and teammates following Calhoun spring's performance. Calhoun is a bigger more physical back than any Oklahoma has had since the days of a guy named Peterson, and while he may not have that kind of speed if reports from the spring are true Calhoun is a lot quicker than most had anticipated. He'll get his chances and here is betting a few big runs aid his total.

19 Sam Bradford will repeat as a Heisman finalist but will fail to bring home any hardware at all this year.
Analysis: I think with all the perceived good fortune that befell Oklahoma late in the season last year I can't help but think there will be some kind of backlash and Bradford may be dead in the water before the race starts in my opinion. When you add in the reality that Bradford will be behind 80-percent of a new offensive line and getting the feel for a near-equal number of green receivers and it seems that his massive numbers last year may be unmatchable. Besides the defending Heisman trophy winner wasn't a unanimous pick as all-conference and no public apologies had to be issued to appease of all people…the media.

18. There will be no such luck in Lubbock this year for Texas Tech.
Analysis: Sure there are always trying moments in big road games but no team has faced less luck in the last four years on one patch of grass, or in this case turf, than Oklahoma in Lubbock. In 2005 it was the mysterious calls that more or less robbed Oklahoma of several defensive stops. In 2007 Oklahoma's star freshman quarterback was knocked out while making a tackle. This year the Sooners face a depleted Texas Tech crew who while undoubtedly motivated after the drubbing in Norman last year simply won't have the horses, pardon the pun, to keep up.

17. Be very wary of the Kansas game in Lawrence this year.
Analysis: Yet again the Jayhawks fall into a great scheduling situation but this year surpasses even the good fortune of 2008. That's because unlike them pushing the Sooners in Norman last year after the big game in Dallas, they'll have a chance to knock off Oklahoma a week after the showdown at the Cotton Bowl. The Jayhawks also have plenty of offensive weapons and have already shown an ability for big plays in Norman, can they keep it up in Lawrence?

16. Gerald McCoy will take home Big 12 defensive player of the year honors.
Analysis: Before the season the honor was handed out to the very worthy Ndamukong Suh but as the season wears on it's hard to imagine people not noticing just how special McCoy is. Statistically, due to a defensive line stocked with NFL talent his stats probably again won't match Suh and while it's hard to separate the two McCoy's national exposure and the reality that he'll be playing in one big game after another should help push his notoriety well beyond that of his counterpart in the Big 12.

15. Auston English will prove last year, not 2007, was the blip on the radar.
Analysis: The only doubt that I have with this prediction is whether or not English will get enough snaps to regain his status as arguably the Big 12's best defensive end. That seems a silly argument but when you consider that both Jeremy Beal and Frank Alexander may soon have a place in that argument you realize it's as much a statement of English's talent as the depth Oklahoma has across it's defensive front four. English does however bring something that is almost unmatched, a motor that won't stop running.

14. Chris Brown will end the season as Oklahoma's No. 6 all-time rusher.
Analysis: Few realize how close Brown is to striking some of the great names in Sooner history. With a duplication of last year he'll jump ahead of names like Lydell Carr and Greg Pruitt with a completely reasonable 1,400 yards he'd end up No. 6 on the all-time list a few hundred yards behind No. 5 Quentin Griffin. Brown will reach such a mark, as usual, with little notoriety and respect outside of those who watch him week in and week out.

13. Sam Proctor will emerge as a difference maker at the safety position much as Quinton Carter late last year.
Analysis: Just looking at Proctor he has looked like a budding superstar from near day one on campus. Proctor has the size of a SAM linebacker but plays with the speed and footwork of a bigger cornerback. Proctor has been slowed at times by responsibilities to his family off of the field but if he can truly dedicate himself to becoming the player he is capable of Oklahoma's safety pairing of himself and Carter may leave every receiver they face fearing crossing routes.

12. Tom Wort will be talked about all season as the guy who will get everyone excited in the coming seasons.
Analysis: Honestly this one may not even be that bold as people are already talking about Wort's physicality and overall playing style as something that is fun to watch, even for his teammates. Wort may find playing time tough to come by at this point in his career but expect players and coaches to continue to whisper about the English assassin learning the ropes as a freshman.

11. It will be Bradford's fourth pass of the season that sees him break Jason White's Sooner career passing yards record.
Analysis: It surprises me that no one is talking about the fact that Bradford is on the verge of shattering Oklahoma's career passing record set by it's only other Heisman winning quarterback. With just 81-yards to spare Bradford's record-breaking total is definitely a when, not if, situation. It's a safe bet Oklahoma will be aggressive early on trying to make a statement to start the season. The only question that seems to remain is who will catch the record-breaking pass from the Heisman winner?

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