Friday, October 10, 2008

Featured Match-Up: Sooners vs. Longhorns


A STRONG-ARMED quarterback who can make all the throws, Colt McCoy shows good touch on long and intermediate passes. He has good mobility in the pocket and is more than capable of avoiding the rush. At times he will tend to “throw it up” in hopes of a big play rather than take the sack or simply throw it away. His willingness to take gambles is also part of what you’ve gotta like about him. After suffering through a bit of a sophomore slump (McCoy’s touchdowns went down by seven and interceptions increased by 11 from his freshman season), McCoy is having his best season to date. He looks stronger and is playing faster.

FOR A SAFETY, Nic Harris possesses ideal size. His bulk and strength exceed that of many college linebackers. Harris is an excellent athlete and an instinctive football player that the Sooners' staff loves to move around and let loose. He's at his best moving forward—Harris is capable of getting into the backfield to stop a running back for a loss and he is also a very effective blitzer. Harris has experience playing in a nickel role and he is a defensive leader. The Louisiana native is very muscular and in phenomenal shape (less than five percent body fat)—he could be the strongest safety in the nation.


AT 6’8 AND over 330 pounds, it is obvious that Phil Loadholt’s biggest strength is his sheer size, but he is also very athletic for a mountain of a man. The residuals of the former high school basketball star are still there, allowing him to play left tackle and protect Sam Bradford’s blind side. In his first season as a Sooner, Loadholt started in all 14 games and was very productive. Born in Hawaii, Loadholt has made his way around the country throughout his young life, including a stop at Garden City Junior College prior to his arrival in Norman. The Second Team All-Big 12 performer adjusted rather easily to playing Division I football last season.

A FIFTH-YEAR senior, Brian Orakpo has appeared in 40 games heading into the Red River Rivalry. Throughout his time as a Longhorn, he has gained valuable experience playing behind the likes of future pros Tim Crowder (Broncos) and Brian Robison (Vikings). As a senior, Orakpo has improved all aspects of his game, but his strength remains his ability to get into the offensive backfield—his primary job is to get to the quarterback. He displays excellent agility and explosiveness off the edge for a defensive lineman. A hard worker, Orakpo plays to the whistle.

Photo Credit: OU Athletics Department, University of Texas Athletics