August 27, 2013

Jaz Reynolds back in the mix at WR

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Sooner fans weren't the only folks anxious to hear who Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops would name the starting quarterback for the OU's season opener against Louisiana-Monroe Saturday night at Memorial Stadium.

Senior running back Brennan Clay also wanted the decision made sooner rather than later.

"I was waiting for it," Clay said. "It was too long. We were waiting for who was going to be the No. 1, and they finally declared it."

SCOOPHD: OFFENSIVE NOTEBOOK HEADING INTO ULM

video by Eddie Radosevich

Now that Stoops and co-offensive coordinator Josh Heupel have their field general Clay said the Sooners can get to the business of winning football games.

You might expect to hear the vibe at practice has changed since redshirt freshman quarterback Trevor Knight rose to No. 1 on the depth chart, but Clay said that's simply not the case.

"It's the same," Clay said. "I don't think anything's changed. We know that a quarterback had to assume the role. Someone had to become the leader. They just so happened to have went with Trevor."

Heupel said the Sooners' practices are running as they should, too. Still, the fact remains Knight hasn't been under center at OU when it counted, and that's an environment Heupel knows OU can't simulate in practice.

But he believes he has an idea of how Knight will react under pressure but admitted he doesn't know for sure.

"You think you know what you've got all the time," Heupel said. "But when the lights come on and they get hit in the mouth and they gotta distribute the ball in front of 85,000 when it doesn't go well how do they respond?

"Certainly you're going to find those things out about all your players but the quarterback as well."

'JAZ IS READY TO GO'

Co-offensive coordinator Jay Norvell said he expected five men to receive the bulk of the work at wide out Saturday. He listed seniors Lacoltan Bester and Jalen Saunders, as well as sophomores Sterling Shepard and Trey Metoyer.

And then Jaz Reynolds.

"Jaz Reynolds has had a very nice camp and really got back," Norvell said. "He's been a really steady playmaker for us. Jaz is ready to go."

Reynolds was among a group of three current Sooners who were indefinitely suspended by Stoops in May 2012, including free safety Trey Franks and strong safety Quentin Hayes. None of them played at all last season.

Saunders said he's excited to see Reynolds back on the field. According to Saunders, Reynolds is the elder statesman of the receiving corps.

"Everyone respects Jaz," Saunders said. "He's the oldest one in our (meeting) room. He's been here the longest. Every one respects him, asks him a lot of questions -- I even ask him some stuff."

Norvell also singled out true freshman Austin Bennett as a player who could help the Sooners sooner rather than later.

"Austin Bennett is a young guy who's done a lot of good things," Norvell said. "We'll just kind of see. Really, really talented young guy, a smart you guy. He'll be able to get on the field early."

SAUNDERS TO PLAY ALL OVER

For his part, Saunders said he's ready to go as well. Playing against corner backs Cortez Johnson and Aaron Colvin has sharpened him over the last eight months.

"Going against Aaron, you feel like you're going against the best corner in the nation," Saunders said. "It's a real challenge going against him."

Saunders could presumably become the Sooners' top receiver in 2013 and their first 1,000-yard wide out since Ryan Broyles was catching passes on Owen Field.

"We're gonna play him all over," Norvell said. "We're going to play him as much as we can. We got 14 games left with him, and we'll try to use him every snap we can. We're gonna try to use him up."

'I FEEL POWERFUL'

Clay said he's the healthiest he's been in years and is poised for a productive senior season.

"My body feels the best it's ever been," he said. "I feel strong. I feel fast. I feel powerful."

He's listed as the co-No. 1 option at running back on the two-deep depth chart with senior Damien Williams. The two combined for just over 1,500 yards last season.

No matter who earns the start against ULM Clay said he and Williams will be ready to play.

"It's just a matter of getting back on the field," he said. "Either way you swing it, Damien or myself, [we'll] go out there bust and 'em up. It's a 1-2 punch."




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