November 7, 2007

Hot 11 full of Saturday night stars

For the first time since the Tulsa game, Oklahoma fans had a chance to rest easy and enjoy a comfortable Sooner win. Some tough games mixed with some lousy performances had Sooner fans at their wit's end. With Oklahoma's 42-14 win the Sooners looked methodical and in control from start to finish of the game. Take a look at what players were commanding enough to make it this week into the Sooner Hot 11.

11. Brody Eldridge, Tight End - Stats: Two catches for 23 yards.
Analysis: Honestly this guy could make it just about every week as anyone who is watching week in and week out will know that Oklahoma has no finer blocker than the sophomore tight end. However, he finally had a few passes thrown his way on Saturday night and though he isn't quite as graceful as one of his positional classmates, he picked up a couple of first downs for the Sooners. For all our young SoonerScoop readers out there, if you'd like to learn proper blocking on the 'edge' watch Eldridge over and over again.Last Week: Unranked

10. Demarcus Granger, Defensive Tackle - Stats: One pass break-up, one quarterback hurry.
Analysis: Sure Granger doesn't show up big on the stat line but then again, maybe he does? Look at Texas A&M's rushing statistics and realize how much of their option read plays were disrupted by the best nose tackle in the Big 12. Granger used to be a physical force without great understanding of the game, but his read of a screen disrupted a play that might have otherwise been a big gainer for the Aggies in the first quarter last Saturday.Last Week: No. 1

9. Manuel Johnson, Wide Receiver - Stats: Three catches for 56 yards.
Analysis: For the second straight game Johnson made a really positive contribution to Oklahoma's effort. Early on when the Sooners were struggling it was Johnson who made the game's first big play on a third and long to help Oklahoma get their first score of the day. Johnson is so smooth and solid in what he does for the Sooner offense it's almost easy to forget, or at the least take him for granted. Look for Johnson to continue to emerge as yet another weapon for the Sooners.Last Week: No. 6

8. Malcolm Kelly, Wide Receiver - Stats: Three catches for 60 yards.
Analysis: So it wasn't one of the top performances he put out in the first half of the season but again Kelly showed how much he does for the Sooner offense, by not doing anything other than putting on his own jersey. Kelly stretches a defense so drastically the players in the flat and underneath routes are often uncovered or at the very least one-on-one in winnable match-ups. Kelly's cool head when A&M players were trying to wind him up was another testament to his impressive maturation.Last Week: Unranked

7. Lewis Baker, Linebacker - Stats: Nine tackles (six solo), one tackle for loss (three yards), and a quarterback hurry.
Analysis: Baker just continues to make plays for the Sooner defense. The thing about the Sooners dynamic linebacker is that he seems equally adept in pass defense as run defense. The thing that sometimes gets lost is Baker's contributions also find their way into special teams and just bringing an overall attitude to the defense. His big hit on Michael Goodson seemed to reinvigorate the defense after losing a bit of steam after the half.Last Week: No. 8

6. D.J. Wolfe, Safety - Stats: 12 tackles (five solo), one fumble recovery.
Analysis: After spending most of the season just on the fringe of the Hot 11 Wolfe is making his second straight appearance among the Sooner elite. Of course Wolfe wasn't much tested by Stephen McGee and the Aggie inept aerial attack but he did help quite a bit in run defense coming up and slowing down McGee and Goodson on several occasions. Also, in a tribute to the 6-foot-, 200-pound senior he met head up with Jorvorskie Lane a few times and stood up to the challenge.Last Week: No. 3

5. Auston English. Defensive End - Stats: Three tackles (two solo), one sack (nine yards).
Analysis: He was well on his way to competing for the top spot in this week's Hot 11 but after suffering what seems to be a minor injury missed over half of the game. That sentence alone says just how good English was prior to the injury. He played roughly a quarter and a half of football and still finds himself among Oklahoma's top five performers on the day. English may sit out this week but there is no doubt he'll be a big piece to the Sooners trying to make a run at the national title game.Last Week: No. 4

4. Curtis Lofton, Linebacker - Stats: Eight tackles (three solo), one tackle for loss (one yard), one forced fumble.
Analysis: It certainly wasn't English's greatest game but it was pretty clear that it was part of Iowa State's game to neutralize Oklahoma's ability to make big plays with their front four, and of course the focal point would almost undoubtedly have to be English. However, he did manage the Sooners only sack and kept Bret Meyer under pretty constant pressure. While many's work ethic can be questioned last Saturday, English isn't among them. He continues to make me look smart, in spite of all evidence to the contrary.Last Week: No. 2

3. Gerald McCoy, Defensive Tackle - Stats: Two solo tackles, two tackles for loss (seven yards), one forced fumble, one sack (six yards), one quarterback hurry.
Analysis: Much like his quarterback, McCoy looks much more comfortable at home, or is it just more healthy? McCoy was very good on Saturday night and kept McGee under constant pressure which is no small task against a talented, and well respected, Aggie offensive line. His partnership with Granger is fast becoming the Big 12's most dominant and with both being underclassmen has the potential to become one of the nation's best in due time. One thing is for sure, McGee isn't looking forward to the next time he' see his chief harasser next year in College Station.Last Week: Unranked

2. Sam Bradford, Quarterback - Stats: 21-for-30 for 284 yards and five touchdowns. He also had two carries for 10 yards.
Analysis: Bradford quietly completed 70 percent of his passes and leapt towards the national record for touchdown passes by a freshman as he now just sits four behind Colt McCoy's record of 29 with at least four, and likely five, games left to play. Once Bradford looks half as confident on the road as he does at home the Sooners will be just as scary on the road as they are defending the friendly confines of Gaylord Family Memorial Stadium.Last Week: No. 10

1. Jermaine Gresham, Tight End - Stats: Five catches for 80 yards and four touchdowns.
Analysis: Well this one was just about as obvious as Gresham's talent. I've thought he would have already been a national name but I think it's pretty clear that Saturday night was his introduction to most of the college football world. Anytime you've got an ESPN highlight that consists entirely of 'Jermaine Gresham had not 1, not 2, not even three, but four touchdowns' you've pretty much become a nationally known name. It'd be unfair to expect Gresham to duplicate last week's stats, but can he be just as effective of a weapon?Last Week: No. 9

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