November 2, 2011

Hot 11: Kansas State

The Sooner Hot 11 is a ranking, compiled by associated editor Josh McCuistion, of the previous Saturday's top performers and with Oklahoma's impressive 58-17 demolition of Kansas State on Saturday it's time we take a belated look back at who the top performers were. Not surprisingly with such a complete performance there are a healthy dose of players from both sides of the ball.

11. Donald Stephenson, Offensive Tackle - Stats: N/A.
Analysis: Stephenson, for whatever reason, had looked a little off since the Texas game but really came back with a strong performance in Manhattan. With the passing lanes being opened by Stephenson and the rest of the Sooner offensive line Landry Jones could have thrown from a lawn chair set up in the Oklahoma backfield. Stephenson brought the experience to the left side but certainly wasn't the only member of the offensive line to make this list in what was a banner effort from the entire unit.Last Week: N/A

10. Aaron Colvin, Defensive Back - Stats: Five tackles (four solo), one tackle for loss (two yards).
Analysis: I'm not sure I've seen a guy who can quietly put together stronger performances than Colvin. When Oklahoma was struggling with some tackling early in the game Colvin never seemed to catch the sickness. Before he is all said and done at Oklahoma Colvin may go down as one of the better open-field tacklers of the Stoops era. When you consider he was, again, playing corner after spending all year at safety his performance becomes even more noteworthy.Last Week: N/A

9. Tony Jefferson, Safety - Stats: Six tackles (five solo), one forced fumble, one sack (10-yards).
Analysis: If not for a few early hiccups Jefferson would be even higher up this list, once he got rolling on Saturday he became the dominant force that the nation has taken notice of (notably as a Thorpe award semi-finalist). The thing that continues to impress most is how much he has developed as a pass-defending safety. Everyone knew Jefferson could be a threat in the run game but at times last year he was near a liability against the run.Last Week: N/A

8. Tom Wort, Linebacker - Stats: Six tackles (Five solo), two tackles for loss (13-yards).
Analysis: For whatever reason Wort is one of those guys that people want to stare at his few mistakes and ignore the body of work. It's no coincidence that a completely suspect front seven suddenly found it's feet against the Wildcats. The talented linebacker isn't the biggest linebacker in Sooner history but reads quickly and routinely slowed down Kansas State's attempts to get off tackle. Just another solid performance from the sophomore. Last Week: N/A

7. Trey Millard, Fullback - Stats: One carry for a 61-yard touchdown.
Analysis: It would be easy to think that the long touchdown run is what put Millard on this list but the big fullback was a big part of some of Oklahoma's biggest run plays and was routinely near perfect on his blitz pickups. Millard could quite easily be argued as the most complete player on the Sooner roster and one can't help but wonder if there aren't still new wrinkles awaiting for a guy that seems very likely to continue to climb the list of Oklahoma's elite group of fullbacks.Last Week: N/A

6. Ronnell Lewis, Defensive End - Stats: Five tackles (four solo), one sack (10-yards), one fumble recovery.
Analysis: Lewis was solid in the first half but it was in the second where he really found his feet and showed why so many think he'll be collecting serious paychecks this time next year. The mistake so many make about Lewis is to think of him as an undersized pass-rushing end. Funny part? That's exactly what he is, at least physically, but those who don't watch Lewis stack up the run to his side or just lock his arms out on the edge against offensive tackles just don't realize how special of a talent he is.Last Week: N/A

5. Landry Jones, Quarterback - Stats: 35-for-47 for 505-yards and five touchdowns (11, 18, 29, 8, 12).
Analysis:Honestly, it's harsh to have him this low on the list but that is the caliber of some of the performances of some of those ahead of him. It sounds like a cop-out but of those listed above him I could quite easily make an argument for Jones against any of them but much as I accused others with Wort perhaps it's a situation of paralysis by analysis. The scariest thing about those numbers is that Jones, while good, wasn't operating at his peak. 500-yards and not at your best? That's just impressive.Last Week: N/A

4. Ryan Broyles, Wide Receiver - Stats: 14-catches for 171-yards and a 29-yard touchdown.
Analysis: Perhaps Broyles can convinced his opponents to simply spot him a dozen catches, 150-yards and a score and save him all the running around. The guy is as automatic as any player in the country and to me has to, as of now, be the runaway guy for the Biletnikoff. Why? He lis tied for second in the country in receptions, hs more yards per catch that guys thought of as more 'big play' threats like Robert Woods and even Justin Blackmon. At this point, it's open and shut.Last Week: N/A

3. Corey Nelson, Linebacker - Stats: Six tackles (five solo), two sacks (nine yards).
Analysis: I think this is one that may surprise some people but honestly a case could be made that he is too low. As up and down as Oklahoma's defense has been this year - when they are on Nelson is usually right in the eye of the storm. Or more to the point the talented linebacker who has made plays both in pass and run situations seems to actually be the eye of the storm. It seemed as though the light came on for him against Texas and each week, with the exception of Tech, he seems to be picking up steam.Last Week: N/A

2. Adam Shead, Offensive Guard - Stats: N/A.
Analysis: Flat out one of the best performances I can remember from an Oklahoma offensive lineman in quite some time, this year I thought Gabe Ikard's work against Ball State was the only comparable performance and with competition considered you'd have to give the nod to Shead. Watch his work on Roy Finch's 31-yard touchdown run as well as Blake Bell's one-yard run, that's some pretty pulling action. It will be interesting what happens with Shead now that Ben Habern is set to return to the lineup.Last Week: N/A

1. Roy Finch, Running Back - Stats: Nine carries for 73-yards and a 31-yard touchdown run along with seven catches for 69-yards.
Analysis: Look at that balance and all that he brought to the offense after being shoved into more duty than anyone could have expected him to take part in. Finch was needed and really answered the bell for the Sooners. And with how hard he runs one can't help but wonder how much that has fed the offensive line to work just a little bit harder for him. Finch leaves it all on the field on every play and his touches are showing the coaches appreciate the effort.Last Week: N/A

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