Players To Watch: Oklahoma

Matt Warden

Landry Jones

His numbers may not be as solid as fans are used to seeing from Jones at this point in the season, but his talent makes him a player to watch every week. Jones entered this season as a Heisman favorite, after his season ended early due to an injury last year. Through five games this season Jones has passed for 1032 yards and seven touchdowns. These numbers aren’t awful, but from a player whose name has been synonymous with Heisman talk the last few seasons these aren’t the statistics one expects. His hard time was evidenced by his two interceptions against Kansas State in the Sooners lone loss on the season, and his six sacks. Oklahoma was reeling after the close loss to the Wildcats in week four but may have put themselves back in business after their week five handling of Texas Tech. Jones led the way in the game against the Red Raiders with 259 yards and two touchdowns. If Jones can get time in the pocket to make the throws he needs to make, he can light you up on every play. Everybody knows that Jones has a strong and accurate arm and the poise to make the big throws when needed. If he can find the focus and protection against the Longhorns, watch out for his passing attack.

Damien Williams

Since the departure of Adrian Peterson, the Sooners have been a team heralded for their passing, not their rushing. Damien Williams looks like a guy who could change that kind of thinking if he can put everything together. The junior running back has rushed for 341 yards and five touchdowns through four games this season. Although he had a lackluster performance in the loss to Kansas State, as did every other Sooner, he showed some new facets of his game against Texas Tech that make him even more dangerous in the minds of opposing defenses. In the win versus the Red Raiders, Williams carried the ball 14 times for 48 yards while also catching the ball six times for 82 yards. A guy with only two catches on the season entering that game, Williams showed that he has the skills to make plays beyond the backfield. Against a Texas Tech defense that entered the Oklahoma matchup with one of the best passing defenses in the country, Williams’s all-around performance becomes even more noteworthy. He’s not a name many fans are used to hearing, but expect to see Williams make some plays in many different areas when the Sooners play the Longhorns.

Sterling Shepard

After watching Andrew Buie play the most impressive game of his career for West Virginia in its win over the Longhorns, it’s clear that there should be a sleeper pick for players to watch this week. Freshman receiver Sterling Shepard seems to fit that bill perfectly for the Sooners. In his first season Shepard’s numbers are what you would expect: 14 receptions, 197 yards and one touchdown. When playing next to an established and proven receiver like Kenny Stills in a pass happy offense, receiving targets early on for a freshman isn’t usually the norm. The stat that jumps out about Shepard is his performance against Kansas State. In a game where seemingly no Sooner played their best game, Shepard indeed played his, catching seven passes for 107 yards and a touchdown. When everyone was in a slump against a top conference opponent, Shepard showed poise and a bit of the clutch gene. At 5-foot-10 and 188 pounds, confidence is Shepard’s best weapon. It’s this confidence and poise shown in his biggest matchup so far that makes Shepard a sleeper pick for a breakout performance.