January 1, 2010

New Names in 2009's Final Hot 11

The Sooner Hot 11 is a SoonerScoop.com ranking, compiled by associated editor Josh McCuistion, of the previous Saturday's top performers. In Oklahoma's dominating 27-0 victory over Oklahoma State there were plenty of players who had games worth of the Hot 11, several of them in positions they aren't familiar with. This week's Hot 11 has many 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 important bowl win against the Heisman runner-up and a respected group of Cardinal.

11. Quinton Carter, Safety - Stats: Eight tackles (five solo), one interception.
Analysis: Unlike many of his other inclusions in the Hot 11 Carter's role in this game wasn't based on huge hits or massive plays. In fact, aside from a second-quarter interception Carter's effort on the day was workmanlike. But routinely Carter came up and made tackles near the line of scrimmage to prevent Stanford's potent running game from ever really getting on track. Carter last year was simply known as a head hunter but is now becoming a complete safety.Last Game: N/A

10. Tress Way, Punter - Stats: Four punts for 196-yards (49-yards per kick), two inside the 20.
Analysis: For the second straight game Way was simply too good to not be on this list. Not only did he average nearly 50-yards per kick but also dropped two inside the 20-yard line and continued to put Oklahoma in a good position when the Sooner offense sputtered in the first half. In a game when the Sooners wanted to force Stanford to face long fields Way was a huge part of doing just that. Last Game: No. 1

9. Ryan Reynolds, Linebacker - Stats: 12 tackles (three solo), one tackle for loss (four yards), two quarterback hurries.
Analysis: It's hard to believe that this was Reynolds' last game but aside from a missed tackle on Toby Gerhart's early touchdown it was a typical Reynolds performance. He mixed it up between the tackles and did an outstanding job of preventing Gerhart from getting forward momentum and running at Oklahoma's athletic, but smaller, secondary. All in all it was a fitting way to go out for a player who overcame more adversity during his career than perhaps any Sooner in the Bob Stoops era.Last Game: N/A

8. Trent Ratterree, Tight End - Stats: Three catches for 86-yards.
Analysis: I can't think of the last time a non-scholarship player made this list but Ratterree was certainly deserving making several big plays in the passing game and seeming to fill the role, at times, of a safety valve for Landry Jones. The big man from Weatherford, Okla. had struggled with dropped passes and mental errors for much of the season but yesterday was Johnny on the spot in repeated big situations.Last Game: N/A

7. Gerald McCoy, Defensive Tackle - Stats: Three solo tackles, one sack for six yards, and one quarterback hurry.
Analysis: It almost seems unfair that McCoy is this low on the list in his final game as a Sooner but that's not at all to say he didn't make a real impact on the Stanford offense. It was clear, particularly after the injury to Adrian Taylor, that the Cardinal were going to do everything in their power to make sure it wasn't McCoy who beat them. And while McCoy's retaliation aimed at Chase Beeler was poorly timed it's always important for teammates to see they stand together on the football field. Last Game: No. 5

6. Dejuan Miller, Wide Receiver - Stats: Six catches for 84-yards.
Analysis: Miller had some shining moments during the season but I think he clearly saved his best for last by not only putting up massive receiving numbers but he also did a great job in blocking for Ryan Broyles in open space that allowed Broyes to make one lengthy run out of nothing again and again. If Miller can keep the momentum from this game going in the spring there is no reason to think he can't be a real impact player as a junior in 2010.Last Game: N/A

5. Trent Williams, Offensive Tackle - Stats: N/A.
Analysis: It wasn't just Williams' play, which was exemplary even for a guy that had played the position all season which of course Williams had not. More than anything Williams seem to be a catalyst for an offensive line that wasn't always pretty or perfect in the way it handled things but did seem to make the blocks it needed to, when it had to. Yet again Williams showed off the versatility and selflessness that he has been noted for during his time in Norman.Last Game: N/A

4. Travis Lewis. Linebacker - Stats: Nine tackles (one solo), half a tackle for loss (one yard), one interception (five-yard return).
Analysis: It wasn't the season that everyone envisioned for Lewis but it was probably his best game as a sophomore for the Sooners. As always Lewis helped out as the emotional lightning rod for the Sooners but did more than just gets the players around him excited. The tackling machine was involved in one player after another and rather than just showing off his athleticism he met Stanford's physical style with physicality of his own. Last Game: N/A

3. Ronnell Lewis, Linebacker - Stats: Six tackles (three solo), half a tackle for loss (three yards), one forced fumble, and one pass break-up.
Analysis: It's hard for me to say whether this game was out of nowhere but with Lewis' talent it's not really realistic to say that what he did on Thursday was completely unexpected. Lewis is starting to become one of those players you hear tall tales about when he jumped over a tall building in a single bound or challenged an offensive lineman to lift the same amount of weight. While several kick-returners this year have learned what Lewis is all about it was a run in with Gerhart that showed just what the young Sooner is capable of. Last Game: N/A

2. Landry Jones, Quarterback - Stats: 30-for-51 for 418-yards and three touchdowns (30, 13, 6).
Analysis: Jones made one poor decision early in the game but other than that there was little you could find fault with the redshirt freshman for. The biggest thing to remember is that not only was Jones playing with young receivers, offensive linemen, and facing immeasurable problems that came from them but he also worked for much of the season without a running game. Jones did a lot to help place himself as a starter moving into next season. Last Game: N/A

1. Ryan Broyles, Wide Receiver - Stats: 13 catches for 156-yards and three touchdowns (30, 13, 6). Two carries for eight yards and four punt returns for 47-yards
Analysis: Who else could it be? A lot of folks have talked about what type of season it would have been if not for Oklahoma's, at times, dominant defense. The better question is what type of season might it have been without the sophomore whose performance may well have put him on some pre-season All-American lists next year. As Broyles has a full year to grow with Jones there is no telling what the two may be able to accomplish moving forward. Last Game: No. 2

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