Oklahoma Sooners: Season Awards

Wrapping up Oklahoma's season awards

January, 23, 2012
1/23/12
10:00
AM ET
For the last two weeks, we've wrapped up Oklahoma's 10-3 season by handing out awards. Check them out below and leave your thoughts in the comments section or in our forum.

Oklahoma's breakout performer for 2012

January, 20, 2012
1/20/12
4:40
PM ET
The SoonerNation staff is wrapping up Oklahoma's 10-3 season by answering 10 questions, just like we did during the Sooners' bye week in November. Today:

Which Oklahoma player will have a breakout season in 2012?

G Adam Shead
In just a few appearances, Shead made a huge impact on the OU run game and was instrumental in paving lanes for the Belldozer package, before missing the latter part of the season with an MCL sprain. Next season, the Sooners might have to slide veteran Gabe Ikard from to right guard and use three-year starter Tyler Evans as a reserve to make room for Shead at left guard. But that’s how special Shead appears to be. He has the potential to become next All-American on the offensive line.
- Jake Trotter

[+] EnlargeTom Wort
AP Photo/Chris O'MearaOklahoma linebacker Tom Wort will be the focal point of the Sooners defense in 2012.
DT Jordan Phillips
OU needs a young defensive tackle to step up and Phillips could be the guy. All-Big 12 first team offensive lineman Gabe Ikard had great things to say about the redshirting freshman’s play on the scout team.

“He’s going to be the next Gerald [McCoy],” Ikard said while noting it’s probably not fair to put those expectations on a redshirting freshman to an top-five NFL draft pick. “He’s got all-american talent.”
- Brandon Chatmon

LB Kellen Jones
Jones, who didn’t even get to OU until August, has the look of being another big-time linebacker for the Sooners. He had 10 tackles in 12 games and just felt like he was getting more comfortable with each snap he was out there. At 6-foot-1 and 223 pounds, it will be interesting to see what a full year of conditioning is going to do for Jones.
- Bob Przybylo

LB Tom Wort
Can an established starter -- one without a position coach -- be a breakout player? I think so. Wort struggled with injuries in 2011, but was Oklahoma's best linebacker when healthy and could be an all-conference performer next season. He was often swallowed up by offensive lineman when OU played the 3-4 defense, but he should benefit from Mike Stoops' base 4-3 next season and better defensive tackle play. Now that Travis Lewis has graduated, Wort will be the voice of the defense and, if healthy, a star.
- Dane Beavers

What do you think? Which Sooner will have a breakout season in 2012?

Oklahoma's special teams MVP in 2011

January, 19, 2012
1/19/12
5:05
PM ET
The SoonerNation staff is wrapping up Oklahoma's 10-3 season by answering 10 questions, just like we did during the Sooners' bye week in November. Today:

Who was the Sooners' special teams MVP for the 2011 season?

K Michael Hunnicutt
Even though he missed a critical chip shot in the loss to Texas Tech, Hunnicutt stabilized a position that had been anything but since 2007. The freshman former walk-on ended up making 21 of 24 field goals, including four of four from 40 yards or farther. The Sooners have several holes to fill next season. Field goal kicker is not one of them. Finally.
- Jake Trotter

[+] EnlargeMichael Hunnicutt
Icon SMIFreshman kicker Michael Hunnicutt made 21 field goals for the Sooners in 2011.
K Michael Hunnicutt
OU’s special teams went from a team weakness in 2010 to a team strength in 2011 thanks in large part to Hunnicutt. He provided consistent, and trustworthy, field goal kicking as he missed just three of 24 field goal attempts this season.
- Brandon Chatmon

K Michael Hunnicutt
With all the transfers that have been happening, scholarships have opened up for the 2012 class. The one spot the Sooners are not actively pursuing? Kicker. OU is set with Hunnicutt at the position, following a great 2011 season. Oklahoma was looking at kickers in October but that has not been a focus at all in the last couple of months.
- Bob Przybylo

K Michael Hunnicutt
I believe this is our first unanimous decision out of all the awards we've done. And rightfully so. Hunnicutt brought stability to the Sooners this season after years (!) of fans shielding their eyes when Jimmy Stevens stepped up for a kick longer than 30 yards. For the first time since Garrett Hartley, OU fans can finally feel confident. And he's got three years of eligibility remaining.
- Dane Beavers

What do you think? Do you agree?

Oklahoma's defensive MVP in 2011

January, 18, 2012
1/18/12
3:40
PM ET
The SoonerNation staff is wrapping up Oklahoma's 10-3 season by answering 10 questions, just like we did during the Sooners' bye week in November. Today:

Who was the Sooners' defensive MVP for the 2011 season?

DE Frank Alexander
Cornerback Jamell Fleming may have very well been OU’s best defensive player at the end of the season. But no question, Alexander was the defensive MVP. Alexander was hampered by a shoulder injury OU’s final two games. But he still finished with a team-high 8.5 tackles and 19 tackles for loss on his way to becoming the fourth Sooner to earn Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year. The Sooners will miss Alexander, Fleming and end Ronnell Lewis next season.
- Jake Trotter

[+] EnlargeJamell Fleming
AP Photo/Ross D. FranklinOklahoma's Jamell Fleming played well against Iowa's Marvin McNutt in the Insight Bowl.
DE Ronnell Lewis
While Alexander was OU’s best and most consistent defender, Lewis could have been its most valuable. His athleticism off the edge had to be accounted for and he was a difference maker on special teams. The Sooners defense seemed to take a step backward when Lewis went out with a knee injury against Baylor. His absence allowed teams to focus on Alexander, who had zero sacks and just two tackles for loss in OU’s last three games without Lewis.
- Brandon Chatmon

CB Jamell Fleming
Fleming could not have finished the season in a better way. He was all over all the field against Oklahoma State and Iowa, earning Defensive MVP honors in the Insight Bowl win against the Hawkeyes. A lot like wide receiver Ryan Broyles, Fleming’s impact was felt the most when he wasn’t there. Fleming missed the game against Texas Tech where the sharks were torn to pieces. Nobody’s draft stock rose higher at OU than Fleming in the last month.
- Bob Przybylo

CB Jamell Fleming
I'm going with Fleming because of how the Sooners performed without him in the lineup, particularly against Texas Tech when his backup Gabe Lynn was torched by Red Raider receivers and eventually benched. When Fleming played well, he locked down his side of the field. And he was more consistent that defensive end Alexander and Lewis throughout the season.
- Dane Beavers

What do you think?

Oklahoma's offensive MVP in 2011

January, 17, 2012
1/17/12
4:30
PM ET
The SoonerNation staff is wrapping up Oklahoma's 10-3 season by answering 10 questions, just like we did during the Sooners' bye week in November. Today:

Who was the Sooners' offensive MVP for the 2011 season?

[+] EnlargeRyan Broyles
Mark D. Smith/US PresswireOklahoma's Ryan Broyles caught 10 touchdown passes in 2011 despite missing four games.
WR Ryan Broyles
Broyles’ true value to the Sooners wasn’t really known until he was no longer on the field. Everyone knew that Broyles was a great player. But few could have predicted the offense’s demise without him in the lineup. Broyles, who still broke the FBS career receptions record despite missing OU’s final four games, will go down as greatest receiver in OU history. Perhaps even one of the five best players of the Stoops era.
- Jake Trotter

WR Ryan Broyles
Has there ever been a receiver who was so important to an offense? The Sooners' offensive attack crumbled when Broyles went out with his torn ACL, never finding a rhythm. Some took Broyles and his uncommon consistency and production for granted during his four seasons. Not anymore.
- Brandon Chatmon

OL Gabe Ikard
The popular choice is Ryan Broyles, with good reason, but Ikard’s versatility on the offensive line came up big in 2011. After Ben Habern went down, Ikard made a smooth transition from guard to center. And with a healthy Habern and Ikard next season, there is definitely a reason to be excited about the quality of the offensive line. This year also gave some of the young guys a shot on the line so the depth should be improved as well in 2012.
- Bob Przybylo

WR Ryan Broyles
Based on how Oklahoma played without its star receiver, there's no question Broyles was the team's Most Valuable Player this season. Quarterback Landry Jones was clearly affected without his security blanket, throwing for just one touchdown pass in the Sooners' final 17 quarters of play without Broyles. How good will OU's offense be in 2012? We'll find out a lot about Jones when he doesn't have Broyles to throw to.
- Dane Beavers

What do you think?

Oklahoma's assistant coach of the season

January, 16, 2012
1/16/12
2:30
PM ET
The SoonerNation staff is wrapping up Oklahoma's 10-3 season by answering 10 questions, just like we did during the Sooners' bye week in November. Today:

Who is the Sooners' assistant coach of the season?

Defensive ends coach Bobby Jack Wright
After he was doused with Gatorade at the Insight Bowl, rumors ran rampant that Wright was retiring from coaching and moving into an administrative position. If that turns out to be the case, Wright will end his long career with a phenomenal coaching season. Under Wright’s tutelage, Frank Alexander and Ronnell Lewis both had breakout seasons, while R.J. Washington and David King turned into viable backups. The talent at the position prompted the Sooners to implement the “Endy” package, using four ends on the field at once in obvious passing situations to great success.
- Jake Trotter

Defensive ends coach Bobby Jack Wright
Wright did a superb job with the Sooners' defensive ends. Frank Alexander had a breakout season, Ronnell Lewis was a terror at the other defensive end spot, David King’s versatility and talent showed at times and R.J. Washington began to fulfill the potential he showed out of high school. Wright coached up his group to have strong starters and very solid depth.
- Brandon Chatmon

Receivers coach Jay Norvell
Norvell has played a big role in the development of Ryan Broyles. But his biggest accomplishment might have been not to let Jaz Reynolds become another “what might have been” story. He stuck with Reynolds, and it paid off. On the recruiting trail, 2012 has been a banner year for Norvell as he helped land three of the top 17 wide receivers in the nation and OU is still in the hunt for No. 1-ranked WR Dorial Green-Beckham (Springfield, Mo./Hillcrest).
- Bob Przybylo

Interior offensive line coach James Patton
Patton did an outstanding job with his centers and guards in 2012, especially when veteran starter Ben Habern broke his arm early in the season. Guard Gabe Ikard, who made the All-Big 12 first team, slid over to center and performed well, giving freshman Adam Shead a chance to showcase his skills at left guard. Shead was a big reason for the success of the "Belldozer" package as he was an outstanding puller. Patton has four capable players for three positions in 2012 as Habern, Ikard, Shead and starting right guard Tyler Evans return.
- Dane Beavers

What do you think? What was the Sooners' assistant coach of the season?

OU’s most improved player of the season

January, 13, 2012
1/13/12
4:18
PM ET
The SoonerNation staff is wrapping up Oklahoma's 10-3 season by answering 10 questions, just like we did during the Sooners' bye week in November. Today:

Who is the Sooners' most improved player of the season?

DE R.J. Washington
[+] EnlargeTony Jefferson
AP Photo/Sue OgrockiTony Jefferson (left) and R.J. Washington will be starters in 2012.
This could have gone to wideout Jaz Reynolds, but he flamed out late in the year. Linebacker Tom Wort was improved, but still too inconsistent. So I’ll go with Washington. Before the season, Washington seemed destined to finish the rest of his career on the sideline. Instead, he became a solid backup to Ronnell Lewis and Frank Alexander, then exploded for two sacks in the Insight Bowl facing off against future NFL first round tackle Riley Reiff. With Alexander and Lewis both gone, OU will be counting on Washington to be its No. 1 pass rusher next season.
- Jake Trotter

S Aaron Colvin
Colvin went from impact freshman at cornerback to a core member of the defense at safety. One of the most consistent defenders, Colvin is good in coverage, a solid tackler and always around the football and proved to be durable. Imagine the Sooners secondary without No. 14 this season.
- Brandon Chatmon

NB Tony Jefferson
It wasn’t a season without a bump or two for Jefferson, but when healthy, he showed exactly what he can do. He had four interceptions in two games (three against Ball State, one against Texas). During the second half of the season he wasn’t 100 percent, but he was back to his old self in the bowl game. He had seven tackles and had that explosiveness again. Playing at his natural safety spot, 2012 should be a breakout season for the California native.
- Bob Przybylo

DE R.J. Washington
In his fourth year on campus, the No. 11 overall player in the 2008 ESPNU 150 finally found his way onto the field. And he made an impact in spot duty, too, with 5 sacks, including 2 in the Sooners' Insight Bowl win over Iowa. Washington told our Brandon Chatmon in October that coach Bobby Jack Wright helped him change his practice habits, which led to a breakout season. And his bowl performance makes him the favorite to start at defensive end in 2012.
- Dane Beavers

OU's biggest disappointment of the season

January, 12, 2012
1/12/12
2:04
PM ET

The SoonerNation staff is wrapping up Oklahoma's 10-3 season by answering 10 questions, just like we did during the Sooners' bye week in November. Today:

What was the Sooners' biggest disappointment of the season?

Widespread rules violations

This one is easy. The widespread lack of attention to the “little things,” as defensive captain Travis Lewis put it, leading to a number of players being asked to transfer in December. Injuries plagued the Sooners. But just as detrimental were the numerous suspensions, stemming from skipped workouts, missed classes and failed drug tests. The Sooners didn’t have the intangibles needed to compete for a national championship. Very disappointing.

- Jake Trotter

[+] EnlargeJamell Fleming
Jackson Laizure/Getty ImagesJamell Fleming and the Sooners' secondary ranked No. 79 in pass defense in 2011.
Overall lack of focus

For a team expected to compete for a national championship, the Sooners didn’t approach every game to dominant their opponent. All too often they started slowly, seemingly with the belief they could just “turn it on” and win. Their slow start against Missouri was a perfect example and it finally caught up with them against Texas Tech when they ran into a 31-7 halftime deficit and couldn’t rally for the win.

- Brandon Chatmon

Lack of leadership

When things started to go downhill for OU, there was nobody there to bring that spark back to the team. Landry Jones is a great player, but it just feels like he doesn’t have the natural born leadership qualities. Defensive captain Travis Lewis went silent and stopped addressing the media after the loss to Texas Tech, something he even said might not have been the best idea in hindsight. Nobody could rally the troops together.

- Bob Przybylo

The 'Sharks'

After giving themselves a clever nickname in the preseason, Oklahoma's defensive backs didn't play consistent enough to warrant the moniker. Despite having an abundance of talent, Oklahoma ranked No. 79 in pass defense in 2011, and the Sooners were burned several times through the air. OU gave up 452 passing yards to Seth Doege and Texas Tech in a loss, and 485 passing yards to eventual Heisman-winner Robert Griffin III and Baylor. The Sooners had solid individual performers - the corners Jamell Fleming and Demontre Hurst were mostly solid -- but they didn't perform well as a unit. There is hope for the Sooners' secondary, however. Mad Mike Stoops returns to tutor the defensive backs in 2012.

- Dane Beavers

What do you think? What was OU's biggest disappointment this season?


Oklahoma's biggest surprise of the season

January, 11, 2012
1/11/12
3:00
PM ET
The SoonerNation staff is wrapping up Oklahoma's 10-3 season by answering 10 questions, just like we did during the Sooners' bye week in November. Today:

Who was the Sooners' biggest surprise of the season?

RB Dominique Whaley
Dominique Whaley didn’t start at running back at Lawton MacArthur High School. He didn’t start at Langston College, either. But Whaley never doubted himself, and came out of nowhere to win the starting job at OU. Whaley, a walk-on, opened with a four-touchdown performance against Tulsa, and never looked back until his season was ended early after he suffered a fractured ankle. It will be interesting to see how quickly Whaley can come back (almost three months later, he’s still on crutches). But if anyone has the desire and work ethic to return full strength, it’s Whaley.
- Jake Trotter

[+] EnlargeBlake Bell
AP Photo/Ross D. FranklinQuarterback Blake Bell scored 13 touchdowns this season for the Sooners.
QB Blake Bell
If you were told before the season Blake Bell would be the MVP of the Sooners' bowl game AND Landry Jones remained healthy all season, what would your reaction be? The Sooners came up with the Belldozer package and Bell became a key to OU’s redzone success, scoring 13 touchdowns. Few would have predicted Bell would have a notable impact on OU’s offensive success sans an injury to Jones.
- Brandon Chatmon

WR Kameel Jackson
There is no question the receivers struggled after losing Ryan Broyles. But when Jackson, a freshman, got his shot, he showed what he can do. Jackson only finished the season with 12 catches for 165 yards. However, his good hands were on full display in the Insight Bowl victory where he had three catches for 45 yards.
- Bob Przybylo

WR Jaz Reynolds
After being suspended for all of 2010 because of a malicious "tweet," few expected Reynolds to ever see the field again at Oklahoma, much less make an impact the next season. But, forced to the field because of injuries and a suspension, he flashed greatness, catching 41 passes for 715 yards and 5 touchdowns. Reynolds still needs to work on consistency, but he should be a starter in 2012 if he can recover smoothly from a kidney injury suffered in the Bedlam game.
- Dane Beavers

What do you think? Which player was the biggest surprise in 2011?

Oklahoma's worst play of the 2011 season

January, 10, 2012
1/10/12
4:25
PM ET
The SoonerNation staff is wrapping up Oklahoma's 10-3 season by answering 10 questions, just like we did during the Sooners' bye week in November. Today:

What was the Sooners' worst play of the season?

Broyles’ knee injury
The Texas Tech, Baylor and Oklahoma State losses were stocked with bad plays. But no play affected OU’s season like Ryan Broyles’ season-ending ACL knee tear during the third quarter against Texas A&M. The offense was never the same. Before Broyles’ injury, the Sooners scored 40 points six times. After, not once.
- Jake Trotter

[+] EnlargeLandry Jones
Matthew Emmons/US PresswireLandry Jones' third quarter fumble in Bedlam gave the Cowboys a 34-3 lead.
Jones' first fumble against Oklahoma State
The Sooners were in the game until Landry Jones’ initial fumble, a result of a missed blocking assignment and Jones trying to do too much. OSU defensive end Jamie Blatnick returned the miscue to the OU 1-yard line. OSU punched it in to take a 17-0 lead and the Cowboys cruised to a blowout 44-10 win and Big 12 title.
- Brandon Chatmon

Jones’ fumble-pass against Oklahoma State
If ever one play was a microcosm for a game, it was Jones’ fumble against the Cowboys. Already down 27-3, Jones went back to pass when the ball slipped out and Richetti Jones scooped it up for a touchdown in a 44-10 defeat most Sooners fans would like to forget.
- Bob Przybylo

Jones’ fumble-pass against Oklahoma State
If OU fans were hoping for a second half comeback against Oklahoma State, that hope quickly vanished after the ball simply slipped out of Jones' hand, resulting in an easy fumble recovery and touchdown early in the third quarter. As Bob said above, it summed up the Sooners' performance against the Cowboys.
- Dane Beavers

What do you think? Which play was the worst of the Sooners' season?

Oklahoma's best play of the 2011 season

January, 9, 2012
1/09/12
4:45
PM ET
The SoonerNation staff is wrapping up Oklahoma's 10-3 season by answering 10 questions, just like we did during the Sooners' bye week in November. Today:

What was the Sooners' best play of the season?

Stills' clutch catch vs. Florida State
Jaz Reynolds’ one-handed catches at Kansas State were spectacular and Jamell Fleming’s strip and score against Texas was special. But no play impacted OU’s season like Kenny Stills’ fourth quarter touchdown grab over Greg Reid that beat Florida State. The Sooners eventually crashed and burned, but for half the season they were title contenders because of this play. (WATCH)
- Jake Trotter

[+] EnlargeTony Jefferson
Mark D. Smith/US PresswireSophomore Tony Jefferson intercepted three Ball State passes in the second quarter.
Tony Jefferson’s one-handed interception vs. Ball State
With his one-handed pick against the Cardinals, the sophomore showed the instincts and athleticism that will make him a cornerstone of OU’s defense. That interception was one of three straight interceptions on three consecutive BSU possessions. A unbelievable sequence for Jefferson. (WATCH)
- Brandon Chatmon

Casey Walker’s sack and fumble against Texas
This might be the most disappointing 10-win season to a lot of fans, but a bright spot was how well the Oklahoma defense played in a 55-17 rout of rival Texas. It all got started in the first quarter by a big-time sack by Casey Walker, forcing a fumble and setting the tone. The OU defense scored three touchdowns against the Longhorns in the Red River Rivalry in the most complete game OU played in 2011. (WATCH)
- Bob Przybylo

Millard's 61-yard rumble to cap the K-State win
Looking back on Oklahoma's 10-3 season, the Sooners' most peculiar win came against scrappy, undefeated Kansas State in Manhattan. The week after the stunning home loss to Texas Tech, the Sooners shut out the Wildcats 35-0 in the second half and routed K-State 58-17. But it was the last score of the game that was capped the victory. Trey Millard lined up behind Landry Jones in the pistol formation, found a gaping hole over the left side, side-stepped a few Kansas State defenders and rumbled 61-yards down the sideline for the score. Who doesn't love fullback touchdowns? (WATCH)
- Dane Beavers

What do you think? Which play was the best of the Sooners' season?

SPONSORED HEADLINES

College Football Minute
Thursday's game shakes up the national landscape, David Ash calls it a career, and three things to watch this weekend. It's all ahead on the "College Football Minute."
VIDEO PLAYLIST video