September 20, 2011

Sooners Hot 11: Florida State

The Sooner Hot 11 is a ranking, compiled by associated editor Josh McCuistion, of the previous Saturday's top performers and in Oklahoma's potentially perception-altering 23-13 win over Florida State there was an incredible defensive performance to consider. Even aside from the defense there was an ample amount of applicants to consider as Oklahoma played a physical brand of football not seen from the Sooners in some time. Every unit on the roster is accounted for in this Hot 11 line-up so take a look at the breakdown of Oklahoma's bit victory.

11. Gabe Ikard, Offensive Guard - Stats: N/A.
Analysis: Last year Ikard had his ups and downs as a first year not only player, but starter, along the offensive line. At times his athleticism shown through and while at others his tight end strength was a problem at offensive guard. This year Ikard has continued to grow and get stronger and on Saturday night against a talented, but fairly young, interior group of Seminole defenders he was a big part of Oklahoma's solid ground game. Not surprisingly his pass protection was, as last year, pretty much spot on.. Last Week: N/A

10. Tress Way, Punter - Stats: Four punts for 182-yards (46.2 per kick), with three kicks dropped inside the 20.
Analysis: If not for the bad shank that gave the Seminoles tremendous field position in the fourth quarter he'd be even higher on this list. But even with the poor punt his average yardage per kick was exemplary. Way boomed one kick after another and his improved ability to find height and allow his gunners to get underneath the punt and down the ball inside the 20 is going to be a tremendous asset through the year.Last Week: N/A

9. Ryan Broyles, Wide Receiver - Stats: Seven catches for 55-yards.
Analysis: Based on just the sheer numbers it could be argued that Broyles is a bit high but when you consider the gravity of a few of his catches along with the fact he was apparently quite sick and this number is more than deserved. Broyles may not have been his best, presumably due to the illness, but that's not to say he didn't have plenty of impact and has to be due thanks for all of the one on one coverage enjoyed by Stills throughout the game on Saturday night.Last Week: No. 2

8. Demontre Hurst, Cornerback - Stats: One tackle.
Analysis: OK so maybe we should start a new game of 'what does Demontre Hurst do all game'. I've got a sneaking suspicion that he spends his time going over the week's upcoming class schedule or perhaps he makes a phone call to catch up with his family. Who knows? Well certainly not anyone watching this game on television as Hurst made little to no appearance, yet again. Oklahoma has a lockdown corner and it's Hurst.Last Week: No. 10

7. Landry Jones, Quarterback - Stats: 18-for-27 for 199-yards and a 38-yard touchdown.
Analysis: Jones wasn't perfect, far from it, but the point of the matter is he answered one of the big questions that has surrounded him since taking the starting job nearly two years ago. Can he make big plays when the chips are down? People love to talk about the touchdown to Kenny Stills but it was his third down completion to Broyles that really sold me on his performance. It's a big league throw in the face of pressure and one that may have killed much of the naysaying.Last Week: No. 3

6. Ben Habern, Center - Stats: N/A.
Analysis: The big offensive lineman had three quarters of some of the finest football he has played at Oklahoma, and in spite of some stumbles in the second quarter this spot on the Hot 11 is well deserved. Habern looks to be as healthy as humanly possible and it shows when watching him get around and seal linebackers from making backside tackles. It's the difference in three-yard runs and four-yard runs. Last Week: No. 8

5. Ronnell Lewis, Defensive End - Stats: Seven tackles (five solo), 1.5 tackles for loss (seven-yards), half a sack (two yards).
Analysis: I haven't heard a lot of hype about his game and I thought Lewis was very disruptive from start to finish but clearly grew in strength as the game went on. Lewis did a great job getting upfield but his pass-rush abilities are to be expected due to his athleticism - the thing that sticks out is his growth as a run defender.Last Week: No. 6

4. Javon Harris, Safety - Stats: Three solo tackles, two interceptions (69-yards in return), one pass break-up.
Analysis: A real case could be made for Harris as the game's top player but as with a few others it's a mistake, or two, that will cost him such a lofty ranking. It seems evident that the more one watches Harris the more he proves himself as an aggressive player - whether it's good for Oklahoma or not Harris is going to be involved in more big plays to come this year. And it's worth noting that while he did have errors against Florida State his game was considerably cleaned up from his Tulsa performance. Last Week: N/A

3. Tony Jefferson, Safety - Stats: Eight tackles (seven solo), three tackles for loss (12-yards), one sack (7-yards), one quarterback hurry.
Analysis: People have mentioned ton of Oklahoma defenders as worthy of recognition, and rightly so, but for some reason Jefferson has gone largely unnoted. The talented defender was everywhere against the Seminoles, playing a key role in their staunch run defense as well as taking part in breaking up several pass plays. I thought Jefferson would emerge this year and this game fits the adage of 'big time players make big time plays in big time games'.Last Week: N/A

2. Kenny Stills, Wide Receiver - Stats: Seven catches for 125-yards and a 38-yard touchdown.
Analysis: This was one of the toughest No. 1 picks I've ever had to make and honestly I'm still not sure I've made the right call. At any rate Stills was absolutely outstanding with two catches that, to me, will go down as some of the best in Oklahoma history. Obviously his touchdown catch will always be thought of as much but to me his catch in the second quarter under severe pressure showed not only great hands and concentration but awareness to get down before a vicious hit from Lamacrus Joyner.Last Week: N/A

1. Tom Wort, Linebacker - Stats: Eight tackles (four solo), 2.5-tackles for loss (15-yards), one interception returned for 12-yards and 1.5 sacks (11-yards).
Analysis: He showed flashes last year, the Texas game among others, of being this kind of guy but Wort really put it all together against E.J. Manuel and company. With Oklahoma blitzing he was either in the Seminole backfield or left one-on-one to make several important tackles and almost without fail he did so. It seems that the talk of a second year off a knee injury has yet again proven true with his explosiveness seems to have fully returned.Last Week: N/A

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