Oklahoma GameDay: Under the Radar
Coming off a wild Red River Showdown, the SI Sooners staff looks at guys who could be pivotal in Oklahoma moving to 7-0 on Saturday night as the Sooners host the TCU Horned Frogs.
John Hoover: Michael Turk, Gabe Brkic
TCU punt returner Derius Davis is averaging 10.2 yards on punt returns so far this season, but he’s a big play waiting to happen. He led the Big 12 and ranked fifth in the nation last year, averaging 14.5 yards per return, and he was one of just three FBS players with two punt return TDs in 2020. He ranks second in school history with three runbacks on punt returns on just 21 career attempts. On kickoff returns, J.D. Spielman ranks No. 4 in the nation on kickoff returns, averaging 33.6 yards. He ran back the opening kickoff 87 yards against Texas and had three special teams TDs during his time at Nebraska, including a 99-yard kickoff return. For Oklahoma, that means taking extreme caution on kicks. Michael Turk needs to utilize the sidelines and extend his hang time with high punts, and Brkic needs to consistently produce touchbacks after OU scores. TCU excels at special teams returns, and the Sooner kickers must minimize the Horned Frogs’ advantage.
Ryan Chapman: Brayden Willis
A new OU quarterback should bring some new offensive wrinkles. Caleb Williams' legs are a major weapon that Spencer Rattler lacked, and as a result, it will be much easier for the Sooners to put the TCU linebacking core in conflict on Saturday night. As a result, some windows to throw over the middle of the field should open up that weren't always there for Rattler. Enter Brayden Willis. The tight end/H-back is a physical mismatch for most defenses, and Williams already proved he's willing to throw the ball in Willis' direction in the Cotton Bowl. While Marvin Mims, Jadon Haselwood and Austin Stogner should get theirs, a new weapon could emerge for the Oklahoma offense on Saturday night.
Josh Callaway: Billy Bowman
Billy Bowman had a bit of a tough day last weekend at the Cotton Bowl, so how about a bounce back performance back at home against TCU? If the Sooners are going to wreak havoc and cause some turnovers, Bowman could be at the center of that. He has done some good things this season and is clearly the best option at the nickel spot, but that breakout night where you really feel his impact on the game hasn’t quite happened yet. This just feels like it has the chance to be just that against a solid TCU team and in an atmosphere that should be electric. Bowman has to be tired of everyone showing Bijan Robinson’s stiff arm against him from last Saturday, so this is the chance to erase that negative memory with a positive one with some big plays against the Horned Frogs.
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