September 15, 2009

Young Stars throughout Hot 11

The Sooner Hot 11 is a SoonerScoop.com ranking of the previous Saturday's top performers and in Oklahoma's 64-0 victory over Idaho State there were several stars worthy of recognition and a familiar face has found his way to the Hot 11's top spot in the first edition of the Hot 11. Have a look at the player-by-player breakdown of Oklahoma's lop-sided win in a game that got them back on the right track. It was another dominating performance from the Sooner offense while the Sooner defense continued to show signs of emerging into a special group.

11. Ben Habern, Offensive Center - Stats: N/A.
Analysis: Many will take issue with any offensive lineman making the list after Oklahoma's struggles at the goal line early in the game but the return of Habern wasn't simply the matter of Oklahoma improving at center but it also allowed Brody Eldridge to return to his most natural position at tight end. Habern, in his first career start, was solid throughout with only one comical moment when a bad snap rolled to the feet of Chris Brown and Brown grabbed a long run. Last Week: N/A


10. Demontre Hurst, Cornerback - Stats: Two tackles (one solo), one pass break-up.
Analysis: OK, so maybe I'm on board with the buzz surrounding this guy and including him on this list that he wasn't much challenged on Saturday night. Hurst's efforts on special teams makes him an under rated value for the Sooners but watching him working at cornerback last weekend made it clear why the Sooner coaching staff has been raving about him since the minute he stepped on campus. With Oklahoma possibly losing both of it's starting corners after this season Hurst picked just the right time to show up and start making plays. Last Week: N/A


9. R.J. Washington, Defensive End - Stats: N/A.
Analysis: It's rare that a defender makes this list without logging any stats but considering the amount of time Washington played and the pressure he applied while on the field make it hard to keep him off of the list. While he still is learning the position, as Chris Wilson has said over and over again, he shows signs of doing just what the Sooners would like in run support. The amazing thing is if Washington can learn to handle run responsibilities he is Oklahoma's most naturally gifted pass rusher and could soon become a nightmare for offensive tackles throughout Oklahoma's schedule. Last Week: N/A


8. Ronnell Lewis, Linebacker - Stats: Four solo tackles, two tackles for loss (four-yards), safety.
Analysis: Throughout the spring people wondered if Lewis wouldn't end up playing defensive end after looking a bit lost at the linebacker position, particularly the linebacker position at a pace and speed he had no way of preparing for in class A. However, just a few short months later it's amazing how far Lewis has come and showed flashes of being a special defensive player in the future. His tremendous size and speed make him a rare blend and if he can learn the Sooner defense and his role within it he'll be a terror in the future.
Last Week: N/A


7. Jarvis Jones, Offensive Tackle - Stats: N/A.
Analysis: There is no question that the right side of the offensive line looked much more stable on Saturday night. Perhaps more than anything when watching Jones is that he has a presence that few lineman possess, a nasty streak. He seems to latch onto a defensive lineman and truly try and embarrass them for fear of being embarrassed himself. There were many questions about Jones's work ethic during the summer but whatever he may not have done in spring and summer workouts, he is making up for on the field. Last Week: N/A



6. Travis Lewis, Linebacker - Stats: Nine tackles (four solo), 2.5 tackles for loss (five-yards), one forced fumble.
Analysis: If Lewis had been able to play longer he might be at the top of this list but his absence, and that of other well-proven Sooner defenders, allowed several players to step up and make their way into their first Hot 11. Lewis was a big part of Oklahoma setting the way things would be handled by the three-deep of the Sooner defense. Lewis separates himself from most linebackers nation wide due to his ability not only near the line of scrimmage and blitzing quarterbacks but also as a pass defender. Last Week: N/A


5. Demarco Murray, Running Back - Stats: 12 carries for 101 yards and two touchdowns (3, 9), two catches for 40-yards.
Analysis: Not enough has been made of the reality that Murray stepped up for his young quarterback and made plays both as a receiver as well as in the running game. The talented back still hasn't completely found his game but is starting to show the electrifying moves and burst that made him one of the college game's most exciting players over the past few seasons. If Oklahoma can continue to win without Sam Bradford they'll need big efforts from Murray to continue.Last Week: N/A


4. Austin Box. Linebacker - Stats: 9 tackles (six solo), 2.5 tackles for loss (11-yards).
Analysis: It may surprise some that Box ended up this high on the list but the more you watch his game the more it's clear that his role at linebacker is yet another positive sign for the future of the defense. Box made numerous plays and like the best of Brent Venables' linebackers he continued to make plays behind the line of scrimmage. If anything it was a subtle reminder that the losses of Tom Wort and Mike Balogun may not have been as devastating to the team as once believed. Last Week: N/A


3. Landry Jones, Quarterback - Stats: 18-for-32 for 286-yards and three touchdowns (24, 51, 11).
Analysis: Some have questioned Jones's completion percentage against such a lowly opponent but it must be remembered that he threw several nice passes in some of the ugliest conditions Oklahoma has played in over the last few years. His first touchdown strike to Ryan Broyles was a thing of beauty and showed that Jones has the ability to place touch on the ball that is similar to that of Oklahoma's Heisman trophy winning quarterback. Last Week: N/A


2. Gerald McCoy, Defensive Tackle - Stats: Two tackles (one solo), one forced fumble, 1.5 tackles for loss (eight-yards), one sack (seven-yards).
Analysis: If there is any doubt that McCoy is the best defender in college football, simply watch the past two weeks. Some will say it's the level of competition that has allowed him to be such an unblockable force but more than a few folks came away form last year's national championship game with the impression that McCoy, above all the All-Americans and future NFL stars who took the field, was the best player on the field. Idaho State's lineman are in hopes they never see anything like him again. Last Week: N/A


1. Ryan Broyles, Wide Receiver - Stats: Seven catches for 155-yards and three touchdowns (24, 51, 11).
Analysis: This one is as much for his performance as how he made it. While Landry Jones is a confident young quarterback it no doubt brought him comfort that Broyles stepped up to the plate and made some plays for him. His miraculous catch for his third touchdown was Mark Clayton-esque and the other two helped to show just what a diverse weapon he can be if used properly. If Broyles can bring the same level of play next weekend Oklahoma should be able to move the ball with consistency against Tulsa. Last Week: N/A


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