Players to Watch: Oklahoma stacked with offensive skill position playmakers but Shannon keeps Sooners defense clicking

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Photo Credit: The Associated Press

Blake Bell, Junior QB

All things start behind center for the Oklahoma offense and the signal-caller is Blake Bell, who has led to the Sooners to a 5-0 start this season. His efficiency has been a big reason for that success. The junior has passed for 835 yards and six touchdowns with a 69.2 completion percentage. These numbers are not gaudy but Bell gets the job done every time out with his crisp passing and ability to hit receivers when he needs to. The Longhorns have continued to have a tough time defending the deep ball, which plays directly into Bell’s hands. Look for Bell to challenge the Texas secondary and get them on their heels to open up the running game.

 

Brennan Clay, Senior RB

Although Oklahoma features a few capable backs, Brennan Clay has been the leader as far as rushing the football for the Sooners. In five games this season, Clay has rushed the ball 68 times for 450 yards and three touchdowns. His 6.6 yards per carry average should be something the Texas defense pays attention to as Clay can break off big runs every single play. At 5-foot-11 and 201 pounds, Clay is a compact back who can move the chains in short-yardage situations and break tackles for big gains. If Texas can tackle and force turnovers like they did against Iowa State, it will make it that much easier to keep Clay in check.

 

Frank Shannon, Sophomore LB

A player that many people probably have not heard of is one that the Texas offense should look out for this week. Shannon is the leading tackler on the Sooners defense and will do his best to disrupt the Texas run game. Shannon has racked up 34 tackles this season and has an interception. Shannon has the speed to get quickly from sideline to sideline and Texas will need to keep a hat on him to get the running game going against a tough Oklahoma defense.

 

Sterling Shepard, Sophomore WR

Another smaller receiver that can give the Longhorns trouble when he gets into the second level is Shepard, who has caught 21 passes for a team-high 266 yards and three touchdowns this season. He has the ability to increase these numbers significantly against the Longhorns. Shepard’s stats aren’t spectacular but he will likely have the biggest impact for Oklahoma. Texas needs to be aware of his presence on the field.