Weekend Open Post | May 10th - 11th - The Football Brainiacs - OU Edition (2024)

Red River Shootout | Projected Starters Comparison | Advantages
– Charlie S – Posted on: May 6, 2024

We are officially back in offseason mode, so let’s have a little fun shall we? How about a little Red River position group comparison of projected starters and talking about which team may have an advantage?

For this exercise, I only focused on the projected starters. Again, I am not talking about the depth at each position group, just basing the comparison on the guys who will likely run with the 1s to start each team’s season.

This is how I see it, let me know what you think in the comment section.

QB: Advantage: Texas

I am not a huge fan of Quinn Ewers, however, he certainly is a ‘good’ QB and he is playing his third year in the same system with a bunch of really good skill position players. His mistakes will not come from not being familiar with the scheme or even because of the defensive calls thrown at him, he has seen a lot of defense…they will come by his own doing when they happen. Jackson Arnold is a young guy with little experience working in a somewhat new offense. There will be times when he makes mistakes because of his unfamiliarity with the offense or defensive calls he is seeing for the first time. Teams will throw wrinkles at him that he has never seen. He will make first-year starter mistakes. Can Arnold close the gap here? Sure. Will he? That is something we will all find out together.

RB: Slight Advantage: Texas

Some of y’all are not gonna agree with this one, and I keep wanting to make this ‘slight advantage Oklahoma’ but in my heart of hearts, I just cannot do it based off what we saw last year. Yes, Gavin Sawchuk looked pretty good at the end of the year. Yes, OU has a rather deep stable of backs. Yes, OU is bringing in the top back in the class of ’24 in Taylor Tatum to join Sawchuk, Barnes, Hicks and Franklin. However, since I am basing this comparison only on the starters and not the entire depth chart, I just believe Baxter and Blue are a slightly better duo than Sawchuk and whoever turns out to be RB2 for OU. Again, slight advantage and it simply comes down to not knowing who RB2 will be for OU and not fully confident what the rotation will look like. So right now, I give Texas the slight advantage based on knowing who and what I am getting in Baxter and Blue.

WR: Advantage: Oklahoma

Simply put, Oklahoma has one of the better wide receiver rooms in the country, not just the SEC. Texas has brought in some new dudes to try to replace all the production they lost in Worthy and Mitchell and Whittington. The Sooners roll out returning production from Nic Anderson, Jalil Farooq, and Andrel Anthony as well as adding Deion Burks to the starting lineup. Right now, on paper, this is an easy call to say OU has a solid advantage here. Again, since this is based solely on the projected starters, I have not even taken into account OU’s backups who could start at a bunch of schools across the country.

TE: Slight Advantage: Texas

Another area that is more murky than clear. Texas lost their elite pass catching TE in Ja’Tavion Sanders but they brought in a talented yet largely unproven TE in Amari Niblack from Alabama and they return Gunnar Helm who was sneaky effective last year. OU lost its starting TE’s in Austin Stogner and the kid with the broken hand (Blake Smith) but they added Bauer Sharp, who was raved about all spring Jake Roberts and high ceiling freshman Davon Mitchell. On paper, I could easily give OU the slight advantage, but after last years performance/usage from this group and the lack of seeing any real tangible improvements in the spring game, right now, I’m gonna give Texas the slight advantage based largely on Gunnar Helm being the most productive returner in both rooms. This is a room where it would not be all that difficult to see OU winding up having the better group, but right now, ahead of the season, I cannot quite get there.

OL: Advantage: Texas

While I am of the opinion that the Texas offensive line continues to underachieve, OU simply has way more question marks. On paper, Texas has a solid advantage as they have a starting group that has the potential to be ‘great’. OU has a collection of solid talent that has the potential to be ‘very good’ but maybe not ‘great’ right now. Personnel-wise, advantage Texas.

DL: Advantage: Oklahoma

What a difference 2 weeks makes for this one. Two weeks ago, prior to Lole and Williams joining OU, I likely would have had this one as a slight advantage for Texas or simply called it a push. When OU landed Lole, I would have called it a slight advantage for OU. Once they added Williams, the choice was easy. Based on projected starters at this point, OU has a clear advantage. Not only did OU upgrade at the position, but they kept Williams from Texas which would have upgraded their line…so bonus win there for Oklahoma.

EDIT: With Lole flipping to Texas after this article was published, I would still have OU with the advantage, but likely call it a slight advantage at this point.

EDGE: Slight Advantage Texas

Now hear me out on this one…remember we are talking about projected starters, not talent in the room and high ceiling guys who will begin the year as depth. Out of the four combined projected starters, I think Texas has the best guy in transfer Trey Moore. Right now, R Mason Thomas and Ethan Downs project as OU’s starters. Moore and Ethan Burke/Barryn Sorrell project as UT’s starters. Burke nor Sorrell are really game-changers, but I like Moore’s potential. Another reason to give UT the slight advantage here? Lack of tangible evidence of high-level development last year. We just didn’t see the OU EDGE room make a jump. Maybe they do this year and if that is the case, they will likely be the better room because of how deep and talented they are. But right now, based on projected starters only, I give the slight edge to Texxas.

Linebacker: Slight Advantage: Oklahoma

I’m kind of going the opposite route with the linebackers that I took for EDGE. Of the starting linebackers (we will include SAM/Cheetah for this discussion) I believe Texas has the most dynamic returning Linebacker in their WILL as Anthony Hill is just a freak. He should make a jump also from last year’s stout freshman season. With that said, Danny Stutsman is the current ‘best’ linebacker among the group and I prefer his running mates (Likely Lewis and McCullough) more than Hill’s running mates (Gbenda and Blackwell). Now, I actually expect the OU linebackers to make another jump in the third year of Venables scheme and I think they will turn out to be one of the better groups in the country. Again, only talking starters here so that’s why it is just a slight advantage right now. If I took OU’s depth into account, it would be a solid advantage for OU.

CB: Advantage: Oklahoma

On paper, this one could be considered a push based on projected starters. On the field, well, Texas’ secondary has been a mess of late and until it is not, it still is…if that makes sense. Gentry Williams is the guy I can point to and identify as the best CB in the group when he is healthy. Woodi Washington came back to work on his game and he knows too much football to be anything less than solid. Take Kendel Dolby into account when he is playing Nickel/Cheetah and you have a very stout bunch. OU gets the solid advantage designation here in part because of Texas’ issues of late.

S: Advantage: Oklahoma

Not gonna complicate this one. On paper, OU has one of the country’s best safety rooms. Billy Bowman is returning for one more year before an NFL team gets to select him in the draft and Peyton Bowen or Robert Spears Jennings will start opposite of him this year and both of those guys will be drafted no later than the 2026 draft. If you want to include Dolby here instead of with the corners, that’s fine as well as he is an NFL guy too, IMO. Again, Texas has some really talented guys back there with Mukuba, Derek Williams and Jahdae Barron, but until they show up on the field, there are just too many questions for me based on their recent play.

The fun part will be in October when we can come back to this post and see how things played out on the field, rather than on paper.

Interested to read your thoughts.

Sourced Note | Cornerback Recruiting
– Charlie S – Posted on: May 6, 2024

The Sooners currently have two cornerbacks verbally committed in the ’25 class in Courtland Guillory and Maliek Hawkins.

In state priority target at cornerback, Trystan ‘58.72’ Haynes is set to announce his commitment to the school of his choosing tomorrow. You should be feeling good about that one obviously. (Haynes committed to OU).

I spoke to a source last night who reiterated what Super K reported previously, in that OU would still consider taking a 4th corner in the class as they feel a couple of commits/targets could play multiple spots in the secondary.

One-time Sooner lean Cobey Sellers will be announcing his commitment this week as well and right now we expect him to choose Texas A&M.

As we have noted, the other name to keep an eye on is Seaonta Stewart who has an OV to OU scheduled for June. Stewart is a guy, along with Maliek Hawkins, who likely would fit in OU’s plans as a defensive back rather than just a corner.

Now, source did say OU likely will not push Stewart for a decision, as they like what they have locked up, but they would not turn him down. However, OU also would not necessarily mind having the luxury of seeing how the rest of the cycle plays while also being mindful that the next portal cycle will provide them an opportunity to pick up a corner if need be.

Thoughts on Trystan Haynes
– JY – Posted on: May 7, 2024

It was explained to me by someone that “stars” are applied to a recruit because of how their game, characteristics etc and so on project to the NFL. If a guy is a 5 star in their mind it is because they believe his game will translate to the NFL. All that being said, there are a few guys every year, in every class that this philosophy seems to have missed. After I saw Courtland Guillory’s film, I texted K and Charlie & said that if there’s a better cornerback prospect out there, I haven’t seen em. You’d think that he’s short or something because of the lack of stars, but he’s 6 foot maybe 6’1″ which is very big for a corner. Nevertheless how in the world was Bookie a 5 star when he was barely 5’9″ on a good day? It seems kind of arbitrary sometimes how people are rated, and I absolutely understand how 5 star players are projected 1st round picks. What I don’t understand however, when I watch a kid like Trystan Haynes, how he’s barely a 4 star. 5.8 according to Rivals which is their lowest 4 star ranking. 89 according to 247 which is also their lowest 4 star ranking. I certainly understand that there can only be 32 first round picks in the draft, and to mirror that, guys who get 5 stars are projected to be one of those guys. Just like the Rivals 250, ESPN 300 etc are the size they are because approximately, that’s how many guys get drafted every year. More than most people I understand that recruiting and projecting someone’s game is an inaccurate science at best. What I do know is that there are a couple of things we’ve always said here at TFB when we’re breaking down someone’s film…

1* You’ll know it when you see it.

2* If you have to make excuses for someone, he’s not the guy.

I have a third rule, and if you ever get to know me, you’ll understand how goofy I am sometimes. So it seems befitting that this rule be applied to when I watch someone’s film. If their film makes me talk to myself out loud while I’m watching it, that dude can play.

Why I said all of that, I wanted to provide a frame of reference about my assessment of Trystan Haynes’ skillset and what I think of him as a prospect. On the hoof he goes 6’2″ 175, which for a corner is gargantuan. Since he’s a low four star, according to the logic provided, I thought, he must struggle with top end speed, direction change etc. But folks, let me tell ya somethin…when I cut on his tape, this dude makes me talk to myself in expletives. Coach Switzer once said that if you need to watch more than 2 or 3 plays of a guy’s film, he’s probably not the guy. I know I mutilated the quote, but he’s definitely a two play guy. Immediately what stands out to me is his fluidity. I also like him better as a receiver than I do a corner, but I’m not the guy making those decisions. He returns punts, kickoffs, had a few pick 6’s and the guy can move. He’s smooth, effortless and fluid. His ball skills are next level and could be not only a problem as a corner, but an absolute nightmare at the position. He’s got elite top end speed, short area quickness and appears to have a good level of football smarts as well. Shame on me for not watching his film before now, but I’ve had my heart ripped out so many times by recruits I kind of avoid em until the smoke gets thicker about a potential commitment. I’m glad I didn’t, because I would have been pining away for this guys commitment this whole time. When I turn on somebody’s tape and they make me say “Holy $hit3!” trust me when I say he can play. I understand that everybody can’t be a five star, but I’d challenge anybody out there to find someone better than this kid.

What Sources From TCU Had to Say About Williams Potential
– Charlie S – Posted on: May 8, 2024

One of the most frequently asked questions following the Sooners picking up former TCU defensive tackle Damonic Wiliams is: Is he a first round guy?

K spoke with sources about that topic when Williams first entered the portal.

Source told him without hesitation that they (TCU) absolutely believe, right now, he is a day 1 or 2 pick. Which would mean he is a 1st through 3rd round guy in their estimation.

So the talent is there.

The next question will be, how badly does he want that first round tag and to what lengths is he willing to go for it?

Is Damonic a guy who will trust the coaches and the NFL scouts if they come back following the ’24 season and say he is a day two pick and he could use one more year in Norman?

The talent is there and I expect him to do everything he can this year to lock up his spot on day one in the ’25 draft. Anyway you slice it, whether he stays in Norman for 1 year or 2, it is a massive win for OU because if he stays for only one year, you know you got a great year from him.

Portal Note | IDL Planning to Visit
– Charlie S – Posted on: May 9, 2024

So one question has been answered, OU is still in the market for another interior defensive lineman.

I have been in touch with Stephen F Austin defensive tackle Brandon Lane (6’3 300) who tells me he is looking to visit Norman next week.

Lane committed to Michigan State following his entry to the portal, but recently decommitted from them. He has also visited NC State.

He tells me USC and LSU are also in pursuit of him and they are standing out right now.

He added that Todd Bates’ track record is something that stands out to him and said “I would love to play and compete for OU, definitely”.

He was credited with 45 tackles (16 solo) and 1.5 sacks last season and he has two years of eligibility remaining.

Weekend Open Post | May 10th - 11th - The Football Brainiacs - OU Edition (2024)
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