Dec 30, 2011; Tempe, AZ, USA; A general view of an Oklahoma Sooners helmet during a game against Iowa Hawkeyes during the 2011 Insight Bowl at the Sun Devil Stadium. Oklahoma won 31 to 14. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Hilderbrand-US PRESSWIRE

Knowing the Big 12: Oklahoma Sooners

The fourth Big 12 opponent on the schedule for the Kansas Jayhawks in 2012 will be the Oklahoma Sooners. The Sooners finished last season with an overall record of 10-3 and a conference record of 6-3. Oklahoma’s three losses in 2011 came against Texas Tech by a score of 41-38, Baylor by a score of 45-38, and Oklahoma State by a score of 44-10. The Sooners earned a bowl bid and played the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Insight Bowl. Oklahoma made easy work of Iowa as they won by a score of 31-14.

Oklahoma had twelve players from their offense leave this past offseason. Although, the biggest loss for the Sooners offense has to be that of Ryan Broyles. Broyles was the biggest and most reliable target for Landry Jones last season. In 2011, Broyles recorded 1,157 receiving yards on 83 receptions and ten receiving touchdowns. He was selected in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions. Kenny Stills will most likely be counted on to fill the gap left by Broyles’ departure.

Despite losing their top wide receiver from last season, Oklahoma kept their starting quarterback from 2011. Landry Jones announced back in January that he would be returning to Norman for his senior year. Last season as a junior, Jones recorded 4,463 yards on 355 completions, 29 passing touchdowns, and fifteen interceptions. Landry will need to be a key part of the offense if Oklahoma wants to be successful in the Big 12 this season.

Just like the offense, the Sooners had twelve players leave on defense this offseason. Two of these players include the 2011 Big 12 Defensive Play of the Year and the leading tackler for Oklahoma during the Stoop’s era. These two players are Frank Alexander and Travis Lewis. Both of these players were drafted in the 2012 NFL Draft. Alexander was selected in the fourth round by the Carolina Panthers while Lewis was selected in the seventh round by the Detroit Lions.

During the 2011 season, Lewis recorded 84 total tackles (most on the team), four tackles for loss, one sack, one interception, and two forced fumbles and Alexander recorded 19 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks, one interception, three forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery. Alexander also broke up eight passes.

The biggest strength for the Sooners on defense in 2012 will be their defensive backs. They have five full and part-time starters from 2011 returning for the 2012 season. The two most important defensive backs this season will be Demontre Hurst and Tony Jefferson. Hurst recorded 55 total tackles, four tackles for loss, one interception, one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries, and eleven broken up passes last season. Jefferson had a nice sophomore year with the Sooners in 2011 which was highlighted by four interceptions.

The road to a Big 12 Championship will be a hard one for Oklahoma in 2012. They will need to play two big road game against TCU and West Virginia (new additions to the Big 12) and two big home games against Texas and Oklahoma State. The Sooners also have a big non-conference game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in Norman on October 27th.

2012 Oklahoma Sooners Schedule -

@UTEP 9/1
Florida A&M 9/8
Kansas State 9/22
@Texas Tech 10/6
Texas 10/13
Kansas 10/20
Notre Dame 10/27
@Iowa State 11/3
Baylor 11/10
@West Virginia 11/17
Oklahoma State 11/24
@TCU 12/1

Other “Knowing the Big 12″ Previews -

TCU Horned Frogs
Kansas State Wildcats
Oklahoma State Cowboys
Texas Longhorns
Baylor Bears

For more on Oklahoma, check out Stormin in Norman.

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Tags: 2012 NFL Draft Baylor Big 12 Championship Big 12 Defensive Play Of The Year Carolina Panthers Demontre Hurst Dertroit Lions Frank Alexander Insight Bowl Iowa Iowa Hawkeyes Kansas Jayhawks Kenny Stills Landry Jones Norman Notre Dame Notre Dame Fighting Irish Oklahoma Oklahoma Football Oklahoma Sooners Oklahoma State Ryan Broyles TCU Texas Texas Tech Tony Jefferson Travis Lewis West Virginia

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