Ask any Oklahoma Sooners fan and they will tell you the one thing missing from the Sooners’ offense over the past few years is the presence of a game breaking tight end. The Sooners have not had a legitimate star tight end since Jermaine Gresham left for the NFL. For a team with names like Stephen Alexander and Keith Jackson in their past, this is not something OU fans are accustomed to.
In 2012, only Brannon Green caught three passes as a true tight end. Other than that, it was all receivers, running backs and the versatile Trey Millard. There was no tight ends that was there to put on the field. Of course, Stoops said the reason for that was because the top four receivers on the Sooners’ team were better than any tight end on the roster, which he said should be clear to anyone who actually watched OU play in 2012.
The problem in 2012 was that James Hanna and Trent Ratterree graduated and Austin Haywood, the man that Stoops was counting on to take over in 2012, chose to transfer away from OU in the offseason. When looking at the young tight ends in the lineup, it was easy to see what Stoops wanted Justin Brown, Kenny Stills, Jalen Saunders and Sterling Shepard on the field instead. While Trent Dilfer called the Sooners’ receivers brutal, that was clearly a ridiculous statement since two of them men are now in the NFL and the other two are the Sooners top receiver Saunders and a fantastic youngster in Shepard.
However, with Brown and Stills gone, it might be time to see if one of the young tight ends needs to step up. Those men are redshirt freshmen Taylor McNamara and Sam Grant and Brannon Green. With Jay Boulware as the new assistant, it is imperative that these three young players start to make the move to break out of the pack and take on that leadership role at the tight end position. With a young, inexperienced quarterback in Blake Bell, getting a tight end into the game plan is something the Sooners have to work on for the 2013 season.