RB Adrian Peterson

2005 Statistics

Coach: Bob Stoops
75-16, 7 years
2005 Record: 8-4
TCU LOST 10-17
at UCLA LOST 24-41
vs. Texas LOST 12-45
vs. Kansas WON 19-3
BAYLOR WON 37-30 (2OT)
at Nebraska WON 31-24
at Texas Tech LOST 21-23
vs. Oregon WON 17-14

2005 Final Rankings
AP-22, Coaches-22, BCS-23

2006 Outlook

Quite often, it has been a two team race in the Big 12 South, and after years of dominating the Longhorns, the Sooners fell big in the Red River Shootout and Texas went on to have the magical Rose Bowl season – that didn’t sit well with OU brass. Hate to say it Longhorn fans, but I hope you enjoyed your run because the Sooners appear to be back. Words can’t say how big Thibodeaux’s return is to this team. His sacks will say it for him and he represents a defensive resurgence that should allow OU to dominate with such an athletic bunch. And they will save the offense and win games, so know how good they will be ad watch carefully.

The Sooners have one of the most dangerous weapons in college football in Peterson. He probably should be in the NFL and likely would be if not for his off year last year caused by his hampering ankle injury. He should approach 2,000 yards again and help Bomar progress even more as a collegiate quarterback. OU just has to go deep, early and often – at least once a quarter – until opposing D’s stop stacking the box. They dared Bomar to beat them deep, but OU never opened things up, and the results reflected this.

The Sooners didn’t like playing third wheel in the Big 12 last year, and rightfully so. It’s not a position they’re accustomed to. It should be a dogfight between Texas and Texas Tech, but that was short-lived because OU could easily find itself back in the Big 12 Championship game and a BCS bowl. Strong recruiting classes say so, as do we. That Stoop’s decline didn’t last long, and don’t bet against the guy who made this program again one of the nation’s best, regardless of its record.

OU’s schedule is mostly favorable, but they will have a few tough ones, likely early on when they face a Holiday Bowl rematch, but this time in the hostile confines in Eugene, Ore. If not then, OU could lose to Tech at home, but the Sooners will be out for blood after feeling robbed by a controversial ending to Tech's 2005 win in Lubbock. And never underestimate what can happen in Stillwater, so keep an eye on this year’s ‘bandwagon’.

Projected 2006 record: 10-2
QB - 3.5 DL - 4.5
RB - 4.5 LB - 4.5
WR - 3.5 DB - 3.5
OL - 3.5 ..

Passing: Rhett Bomar, 308-167-10, 2018 yds., 10 TD

Rushing: Adrian Peterson, 221 att., 1104 yds., 14 TD

Receiving: Malcolm Kelly, 33 rec., 471 yds., 2 TD

Scoring: Adrian Peterson, 14 TD, 84 pts.

Punting: Cody Freeby, 71 punts, 42.3 avg.

Kicking: Garrett Hartley, 14-22 FG, 37-38 PAT, 79 pts.

Tackles: Rufus Alexander, 102 tot., 56 solo

Sacks: Calvin Thibodeaux, 10 sacks

Interceptions: D.J. Wolfe, 2 for 65 yds., 1 TD; Reggie Smith, 2 for 14 yds.

Kickoff Returns: Reggie Smith, 18 ret., 20.9 avg., 0 TD

Punt Returns: Lendy Holmes, 7 ret., 5.9 avg., 0 TD


LB Rufus Alexander
OFFENSE: J.D. Runnels-FB, Kejuan Jones-RB, Travis Wilson-WR, Jejuan Rankins-WR, James Moses-TE, Davin Joseph-OT, Kelvin Chaisson-OG, Chris Bush-OG, Chris Chester-OG
DEFENSE: Remi Ayodele-DT, Dusty Dvoracek-DT, Clint Ingram-SLB, Chijioke Onyenegecha-CB, Eric Bassey-CB, Cody Freeby-P (dismissed)

Coming into 2006, the biggest area of concern for the OU coaching staff isn’t whether sophomore Rhett Bomar will perform, but if he’ll be able to stay out of trouble in order to do so. It is his second MIP (minor in possession) citation in a matter of months, but we are here to talk football. Coaches are feeling good about how Bomar progressed as the season went on after he replaced Paul Thompson in the Sooners’ season-opening loss to TCU. Thompson was benched and converted to a wide receiver. Bomar loses most of his line, but should move along nicely with all-American Adrian Peterson as a major distraction. Bomar also showed some significant mobility last season and a toughness and swagger that can’t be taught. After struggling mightily through the Sooners’ non-cons, Bomar improved dramatically once he hit the conference schedule (with the exception of the Texas loss) and improved exponentially all the way to the Sooners’ bowl win over Oregon in the Holiday Bowl. Thompson still is listed as the backup, so he represents a step back if inserted. And with only one other QB recruit in the last two years, this position seems like it could be a liability.

Running Back
Two words: All Day – as in how long Adrian Peterson will run. Peterson suffered a bit of a sophomore slump last season after being an undeserving Heisman finalist in 2004 as a freshman. Sure, he is a physical specimen – maybe the most raw talent of any RB in the nation, but he was great due to his Heisman QB (White) being the distraction for him to sneak under the radar. Now, he is the distraction, as he learned last year. Defenses will again stack eight and nine in the box until the deep passing game is established. To put Peterson’s dominance into perspective, fathom this, the star missed all or more than half of four games and still led the Big 12 in rushing (an off year for the usually “grounded” the Big 12, eh). Peterson should come into this season with a chip on his shoulder, feeling he has something to prove to be considered the greatest back in the country and return to his freshman form, and shouldn’t disappoint himself. Jaco Gutierrez actually had more yards per carry in his two starts, and other four-star prospects are just waiting their turn(s) to become household names in an offense that runs it over 60% of the time. This unit is an asset, but has to be balanced out with a better passing approach/game to realize its potential.

Sophomore Malcolm Kelly leads the way in OU’s arsenal. Last year, Kelly became just the fourth freshman in Sooner history to lead the team in receiving yards, and the first in 30 years. Jauquin Iglesias joins him in the starting lineup after breaking his way into the starting lineup at the end of last year, including the Holiday Bowl victory. Youth is definitely served here, where three freshmen saw significant playing time last year, all of whom return. The Sooners need to go long more often (longest pass play was 55 yards in ’05) to open up the rest of the field for more offensive production, and until they do, this corps will not realize its potential.

Tight End
Joe Jon Finley finally gets the starting role after waiting patiently for two seasons. OU isn’t big on utilizing its tight ends, but likes to go to them in the red zone if they are capable pass catchers, which Finley is. At 6-6, he has the size advantage over most linebackers and defensive backs and while he didn’t put up big numbers last year, he did come on toward the end. In his freshman year, had more catches in the team’s final two games than the whole season to that point, proving when given a chance he has the ability to be a possession type receiver when needed. No.1 prospect Jermaine Gresham will surely see time in a pass-catching capacity, so it looks good here if Stoops wants to open up the field with either of these guys…he just has to do it.

Offensive Line
The Sooners will be grossly inexperienced up front, but have a handful of backups from last year that should step in just fine. OU lost four players who combined for 41 starts last season, but it was not a superior bunch, and addition by subtraction seems like it will help OU, not hurt them. It all begins at the center position, which was a questionable spot until Jon Cooper stepped in. The sophomore started the final two games of the regular season last year but suffered a broken ankle against Texas Tech. He should return this year at full strength. In his seven games of action last year, he was not flagged for a single penalty. Protecting Bomar’s blindside will be right tackle Chris Messner. He played in all 11 games, starting eight and allowed just one sack. The biggest addition to the line is JUCO transfer Sherrone Moore, who comes to Norman from Butler County CC (Kan.). Moore was the No. 33 ranked JUCO player in the country according to Rivals.com. At 6-5, 300 he provides some needed bulk on the line’s interior. This year was a good one in the recruiting department up front, so it is just matter of time until OU is back to being superior here, as many anticipate.

After facing some harsh criticism early on last year, the Sooners’ stars should see a resurgence and more effortless production than the belabored efforts of last year. Bomar is the key, and needs to keep his learning curve going up, or it could be a long year. Look for Peterson, if healthy, to have a season more like his freshman one when he looked like an all-Pro against college kids. If this happens, which it will barring injury, OU’s in for an exciting season. Peterson feels like he has something to prove, and that fire will lead the entire team, especially on a spiritual level. Bomar looked like true freshman at times last year, mostly at the beginning of the season, which saw OU start 1-2 after being ranked in the Top 5 in preseason polls. As the season wears on, Bomar will show tenacity and more and more ability both throwing and scrambling. Everything starts up front, and we see good things as newbies will make this area better, and therefore the entire offensive effort. OU gave up just 21 sacks, but that number’s a bit misleading with Bomar’s mobility. Deeper routes will open up the underneath stuff Bomar so needs to take those little steps that eluded him last year, and as he is more confident, the entire team will look more like the Sooners who intimidate, not the ones who lose to mid-majors. Keep an eye on the team’s average per rush – if it hovers at 4.0 again, it will be another tough campaign.


WR Malcolm Kelly


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Rhett Bomar-So (6-2, 215) Joey Halzle-So (6-4, 215)
FB Dane Zaslaw-Jr (6-0, 242) Matt Clapp-So (6-2, 242)
RB Adrian Peterson-Jr (6-2, 218) Allen Patrick-Jr (6-0, 200)
WR Paul Thompson-Sr (6-4, 210) Fred Strong-So (6-1, 202)
WR Juaquin Iglesias-So (6-1, 190) Manuel Johnson-So (5-11, 176)
WR Malcolm Kelly-So (6-4, 204) Quentin Chaney-So (6-5, 208)
TE Joe Jon Finley-Jr (6-6, 244) Brody Eldridge-Fr (6-5, 248)
OT Chris Messner-Sr (6-6, 280) ..
OG George Robinson-So (6-5, 332) Ben Barresi-Fr (6-5, 296)
C Jon Cooper-So (6-2, 278) Cameron Schacht-So (6-4, 255)
OG J.D. Quinn-So (6-3, 305) Brian Simmons-Fr (6-5, 290)
Sherrone Moore-Jr (6-5, 300)
OT Branndon Braxton-So (6-6, 318) Brandon Walker-Jr (6-3, 315)
K Garrett Hartley-Jr (5-9, 182) ..



Defensive Line
Seniors C.J. Ah You and Calvin Thibodeaux return to anchor the line at the end positions. Thibodeaux, a sack specialist, was granted a medical redshirt after suffering a season-ending injury two years ago, so he is a senior again. Ah You was voted the Big 12’s Defensive Newcomer of the Year last year after picking up seven sacks. He was also named Defensive MVP of the Holiday Bowl. Pendleton, a two-year starter will be joined by Cory Bennett inside. Bennett played in all 11 games last year and showed promise as a big-time run stopper. Don’t be surprised when DeMarcus Granger takes Bennett’s job early on in the season. He was rated as the No. 1 defensive tackle in the country by ESPN coming out of Dallas Kimball. Gerald Kimball fills that status in this year’s class, so along with other four-star Des dotting the list of newbies, we foresee this line holding up well.

Rufus Alexander was rumored to be leaving for the NFL after his junior year, but came back to the chagrin of Sooner fans. Alexander is an early favorite for the Butkus Award given the nation’s best linebacker after registering a team-leading 17 TFLs. Zach Latimer returns in the middle as a guy whose motor is constantly running toward the ball. He had two games last year with double-digit tackles and earned Big 12 Honorable Mention honors. Demarrio Pleasant should step up as a starter, and Curtis Lofton looks like he will add nice depth. This unit is strong, and should help the Sooner’s No.4 rush defense stay vibrant.

Defensive Back
The youth movement on the Sooners’ squad continues here, though most of these sophomores and juniors are returning starters. OU’s set at the safety position, where it returns both Reggie Smith and Lewis Baker. Smith was named to the Big 12 all-Freshman Team last year and Baker made the move from linebacker to free safety last spring and proved to be a playmaker registering 36 tackles why trying to pick up the nuances of his new position. At corner, the Sooners’ live and die with D.J. Wolfe, who’s a legitimate run stopper as well as an excellent cover guy. He’s probably the most versatile of any in OU’s secondary and can even play safety if necessary. Brian Jackson should compete for a job by midseason as a redshirt freshman out of DeSoto, and Reggie Smith is last year’s No.4 prospect, ready to contribute.

Last year’s unit wasn’t the dominant force usually associated with Oklahoma defenses, but it wasn’t a pushover either, finished No. 13 in total defense and No. 4 against the rush after years of being in the top 5 in both. The team D will be jelled early, and will come together even more as the season goes on. The D is, without question, led by its four seniors (Ah You, Latimer, Thibodeaux and Alexander), all of which could battle for postseason awards and honors, and it should return to prominence. The youth on this squad represents its potential to be a force beyond ‘06, most notably Granger, who will be in the running for Big 12 Freshman of the Year. The defense should be able to put constant pressure on most teams with Thibodeaux and Ah You rushing the passer, and the entire effort on this side of the ball will be enough to keep OU in games the offense might squander.


DE Calvin Thibodeaux


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Calvin Thibodeaux-Sr (6-1, 251) John Williams-Jr (6-5,252)
DT Carl Pendleton-Jr (6-5, 277) Steven Coleman-Jr (6-4, 310)
DT Cory Bennett-So (6-2, 275) DeMarcus Granger-Fr (6-3, 305)
DE C.J. Ah You-Sr (6-4, 265) Larry Birdine-Sr (6-4, 258)
SLB Demarrio Pleasant-Jr (6-2, 235) Ryan Reynolds-So (6-2, 230)
Lamont Robinson-Fr (6-1, 225)
MLB Zach Latimer-Sr (6-2, 220) Curtis Lofton-So (6-2, 238)
WLB Rufus Alexander-Sr (6-1, 231) Lewis Baker-Jr (6-2, 210)
CB Reggie Smith-So (6-1, 190) Marcus Walker-Jr (5-10, 197)
CB D.J. Wolfe-Jr (5-11, 196) Brian Jackson-Fr (6-2, 194)
SS Jason Carter-Sr (5-10, 192) Keenan Clayton-So (6-2, 210)
FS Darien Williams-Jr (5-10, 197) Nic Harris-So (6-3, 218)
P Mike Knall-Jr (5-10, 175) ..




Garrett Hartley has half of his kickoffs go for touchbacks. The bad news is he is inconsistent/streaky, so winning those close ones is not in the bag, at all. With so many young wanna-be’s in the secondary, we think coverage will continue to excel.

Last year's punter Cody Freeby was dimissed from the team this spring leaving a wide open race amongst the remaining candidates. The inside track goes Mike Knall, who averaged 43.9 yards per punt as a freshman at Scottsdale Community College.

Return Game
This is a spot the Sooners have concern with simply because there’s no experience. Lendy Holmes is the most experienced return man, but it’s up in the air who will take the position. It could be between Holmes and Iglesias, who runs a 4.4 40-yard dash but could be held back due to his starting status as a wide receiver. So much talent means someone will step up and give Oklahoma an advantage here, eventually, too.