November 17, 2010

Texas Tech Hot 11: A New Name on Top

The Sooner Hot 11 is a ranking, compiled by associated editor Josh McCuistion, of the previous Saturday's top performers and in Oklahoma's 45-10 demolition of Texas Tech it was hard to choose only 11 players worthy of recognition. That being said there is no question that in spite arguably Oklahoma's best first half of football since the second week of the season there were still a few players who stood out amongst the others. Take a look as we go from top to bottom in a breakdown of Oklahoma's final home game of the 2010 campaign. Although perhaps above all those listed would like to give a tribute to the performance of Adrian Taylor, last Saturday's co-Don Key award winner who saw his Sooner career end too soon.

11. Austin Box, Linebacker - Stats: Seven tackles (three solo), one quarterback hurry.
Analysis: You can tell that Box is still getting into not only game shape but still getting the mental aspect of things right as a few big plays were popped on his watch but just the same Box made some plays against the run at the line of scrimmage that Oklahoma frankly hadn't seen from the position since the Texas game. If he can keep it up he could help Oklahoma sure a shaky middle of the defense. Last Week: N/A

10. Ben Habern, Center - Stats: N/A.
Analysis: After a bad snap early on to Demarco Murray Habern got back on his game and really played as well as he had in some time. Perhaps the best play of all was Habern getting his nose across the face of the defensive tackle for Texas Tech on the run that ended up being Roy Finch's first career touchdown as a Sooner. On the day though Habern put in a solid effort and more than made up for his early error.Last Week: N/A

9. Roy Finch, Running Back - Stats: 12-carries for 67-yards and a 29-yard touchdown along with one catch for three-yards.
Analysis: With all the fuss that has been made over Finch it's almost unbelievable that Saturday was his first venture into paydirt. Not surprisingly his first touchdown didn't come on a 3-yard ISO play but instead a great 29-yard run in which he broke tackles, shook defenders, and used his great balance to put himself in the end zone. Anyone remember Adrian Peterson's first touchdown run against Bowling Green?Last Week: N/A

8. Kenny Stills, Wide Receiver - Stats: Four-catches for 86-yards and a 59-yard touchdown.
Analysis: OK, so maybe Stills' touchdown will be remembered for some things that had little to do with the play itself but the receiver is starting to emerge as Oklahoma's first legitimate deep threat possibly since the departure of Malcolm Kelly. And though Stills' manner of getting it done offensively differs greatly from Kelly there is no denying his speed, size, and incredible hands make him a lethal threat down the field.Last Week: N/A

7. Quinton Carter, Safety - Stats: 17 tackles (seven solo), one pass break-up.
Analysis: It hasn't been the year that some had expected from Carter but it was a fitting way for a three-year starter to finish out his career at Owen field. Carter was physical and made several big hits in the open field but it's his growth as a pass defender in the past few years that really showed up on Saturday with a near interception and a couple other near misses Carter really looked solid from start to finish against the Red Raiders.Last Week: N/A

6. Donald Stephenson, Offensive Tackle - Stats: N/A.
Analysis: Early in the season Stephenson got off to a pretty fast start but struggled mightily last week against Texas A&M's Von Miller, however he bounced back in a major way against the Red Raiders and really dominated the left side of the line. Stephenson is starting to show the talent that the coaches have raved about for several years and if he can learn to play with the desire and drive he shows at times there is no reason to think he can't become yet another NFL Sooner.Last Week: N/A

5. Jeremy Beal, Defensive End - Stats: Six tackles (three solo), 2.5 tackles for loss (11 yards), 1.5 sacks (10 yards).
Analysis: The co-Don Key award winner did a lot to make sure he was well remembered by Sooner fans after a big performance on Saturday. Beal was his usual disruptive self against the pass but it was against the run game that his greatest impact was felt, Beal crashed down repeatedly on Texas Tech's running backs preventing big runs with the one exception of forgetting that Mike Leach was no longer pulling Taylor Potts' strings.Last Week: N/A

4. Landry Jones, Quarterback - Stats: 22-for-29 for 317-yards and five touchdowns (12, 59, 29, 18, 8).
Analysis: At home Jones may as well just be assumed as a member of the top five, he just checks in with one strong performance after another and against the Red Raiders was no different with a nice mixture of short passes, stuff over the middle and various other calls he rally looked the part of a growing quarterback. If Oklahoma can protect him against Baylor and Oklahoma State, we'll see if that growth is a reality.Last Week: N/A

3. Jamarkus McFarland, Defensive Tackle - Stats: Five tackles (two solo), two tackles for loss (seven yards), one pass break-up.
Analysis: A lot of McFarland's big plays came in the second half but his domination of the two quarters that you almost have to forget that the game really didn't hang in the balance. McFarland was equally proficient against the run and the pass including a pass break-up while running a stunt around the right side of the Red Raiders' line. Now that McFarland figures to be the starter at nose tackle for the Baylor game it may be his chance to show that with more playing time he can make more plays more often.Last Week: N/A

2. Ryan Broyles, Wide Receiver - Stats: Eight catches for 119-yards and three touchdowns (29, 18, 8).
Analysis: If Broyles were in the NFL he'd be a fantasy owners dream, the guy is just about an assured 7-catch, 120-yard performance with as many touchdowns as he can catch. He isn't always the flashiest guy around the country but there seems to be a genuine need for more reporters around the country to start giving the kid his due, there may be a few guys out there who are as good as Broyles but none that are any better and yet somehow he is routinely left out of such talk and it's nothing less than ignorance.Last Week: N/A

1. Jamell Fleming, Cornerback - Stats: Eight tackles (four solo), one tackle for loss (two yards), and two pass break-ups.
Analysis: If Fleming keeps growing through the next calendar year as he has in the last one there is little doubt he'll find this top spot again before his Sooner career is over. Fleming is quickly becoming one of not just the Big 12 but the country's shutdown corners. His performance against Jeff Fuller may have served notice but as he continues to build on his reputation and shuts down various types of receivers it's starting to set up a showdown in Stillwater in a few weeks.Last Week: N/A

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