November 16, 2009

Playmakers Everywhere in the Hot 11

The Sooner Hot 11 is a ranking, compiled by associated editor Josh McCuistion, of the previous Saturday's top performers. In Oklahoma's blowout 65-10 victory over Texas A&M there were plenty of players who had Hot 11-type moments. This week's Hot 11 has many of the familiar faces but much like Oklahoma's starting line-up is also full of players beginning to make their mark this season. Have a look at the player-by-player breakdown of Oklahoma's three quarters of domination of one of the Big 12's most enigmatic teams.

11. Brian Jackson, Cornerback - Stats: Five solo tackles, one fumble recovery for a 52-yard touchdown, and one quarterback hurry.
Analysis: If not for Jackson being in the right place at the right time he might have been left off this list. However there is no denying him making the big play that really set the tone for the entire game on his touchdown return. He also played well in coverage and helped stop a group of A&M receivers that is are as talented as they are productive. But then again, another big challenge…another big week for Jackson.Last Week: N/A

10. Adron Tennell, Wide Receiver - Stats: Five catches for 76-yards and two touchdowns (11, 10).
Analysis: As I said in Saturday night's game thread, I just don't know what to make or expect of Tennell. One week it seems he can't catch a cold and the next week he is fighting off defensive backs while snagging the ball out of thin air. Maybe he can't be predicted but Tennell certainly put together what was probably his best game as a Sooner against the Aggies.Last Week: N/A

9. Frank Alexander, Defensive End - Stats: Four solo tackles, two tackles for loss (six yards), one forced fumble, one pass break-up, and one quarterback hurry.
Analysis: In his first start of the season Alexander looked like the player that had everyone raving as a freshman but had seemed to disappear for much of his sophomore season. Maybe it was just the matter of getting consistent playing time that kept Alexander from looking like this for the first nine games but he was more than Texas A&M could handle, particularly in pass-rushing situations. If there was one complaint Alexander often lost the edge and allowed Johnson to slip out of the pocket and buy time with his feet.Last Week: N/A

8. Cory Brandon, Offensive Tackle - Stats: N/A.
Analysis: After the BYU game it seemed unikely that Brandon would even be part of the offensive line going forward much less one of the team's best 11 players in a Big 12 game. However he more than earned this status last night as part of a tandem on the right side, often with Stephen Good, that finally showed the ability to open up some running lanes for their backs. Brandon isn't a nasty blocker but his athleticism allows him to get to the second level and wall off linebackers scraping down the line of scrimmage.Last Week: N/A

7. Travis Lewis, Linebacker - Stats 11 tackles (three solo), half a tackle for loss (one yard), and one quarterback hurry.
Analysis: It's tough to call a player who leads the team in tackles a disappointment but Lewis for much of the year hasn't looked like the same guy that was among the nation's best freshman last year. The speedy linebacker on Saturday night was back to flying all over the field and taking part in his seemingly now trademarked trash-talking. While it often times seems out of place if Lewis can continue through the Sooners remaining three games as he did on Saturday night, he'll have more than enough reason to 'bark'.Last Week: N/A

6. Jeremy Beal, Defensive End - Stats: Six tackles (four solo), 1.5 sacks (17-yards), two quarterback hurries.
Analysis: If not for so any great performances Beal would have been much higher, and even so an argument could be made that he had a top five kind of night. Beal kept Jerrod Johnson under constant pressure and more than anything did a great job with his gap responsibility to keep Johnson from using his feet to make plays. Beal just continues to play week in and week out at an All-American level.Last Week: N/A

5. Landry Jones, Quarterback - Stats: 24-for-39 for 392-yards and five touchdowns (5, 36, 11, 67, 10)
Analysis: Jones faltered early in what looked like a possible continuation of last week's outing against Nebraska and the bad fortune of another interception only aided the concerns. It would have been easy for the young freshman to fold but instead he came back and had a career performance. After the game Jones talked about putting less burden on his shoulders and simply getting the ball in the hands of his playmakers and letting them do the hard work, it was a recipe for success against A&M.Last Week: N/A

4. Gerald McCoy. Defensive Tackle - Stats: Four tackles (two solo), 1.5 tackles for loss (10 yards), half a sack (six yards), a quarterback hurry.
Analysis: He might as well RSVP in the top four because McCoy just can't seem to put in anything less than a stellar performance. His stat line is better than it had been in a few weeks but even without great stats his impact on the game is immeasurable. McCoy blew up play after play last night and with the pressure coming from Alexander and Beal off the edges he left no room for Johnson to step up in the pocket. Last Week: N/A

3. Ryan Broyles, Wide Receiver - Stats: Eight catches for 79-yards and a five-yard touchdown, one carry for a 25-yard touchdown.
Analysis: I'm never afraid to toot my horn when I get a player's evaluation right but I must say Broyles is slowly proving to be one of my all-time whiffs. It's not that I didn't think Broyles was a good player but I worried about his top end speed and ability to play wide receiver. Well, he has shown Velcro for hands so far in his career and while he may not have the speed of a 100-meter champion he is one of the nation's quickest receivers nearly impossible to tackle in space. Regardless of how Oklahoma gets Broyles the ball, as long as they do, they'll be successful.Last Week: N/A

2. Trent Williams, Offensive Tackle - Stats: N/A.
Analysis: The big offensive tackle had struggled some as the season has wore on but facing the biggest challenge of his year, Williams answered the bell shutting out vaunted A&M sack-master Von Miller who came into the game as the nation's leading sack artist. Miller was held to one tackle and was a non-factor throughout the game. It may have done more than just stop the blood-letting of Williams' draft stock and perhaps even pushed him back in the right direction.Last Week: N/A

1. Demarco Murray, Running Back - Stats: 18-carries for 80-yards and five catches for 143-yards and two touchdowns (36, 67).
Analysis: There was never any doubt who would take this week's top spot, Murray simply impacted the game in just about every aspect. On second thought, Murray failed to throw a touchdown pass so maybe he'll have to be moved down. In all seriousness, Murray's display as Oklahoma's 'Wildcat' will give Texas Tech even more to think about in this week's preparation. This was the Murray everyone expected to see all season and hopefully he can continue to get quality blocking that will allow him to make similar big playsLast Week: N/A

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