After Colt McCoy's rather remarkable freshman season, capped by a 300-yard performance in the Alamo Bowl that helped subside injury concerns, most Texas fans felt good about him putting together a strong sophomore campaign. And in the Sunday circuit, most thought Vince Young was poised in 2007 to build on his Rookie of the Year season that landed him a spot in the Pro Bowl.
But both players epitomized the dreaded sophomore slump, with Colt more than doubling his interceptions and VY playing mediocre football while battling a nagging quadriceps injury.
Meanwhile, before the ink could even dry on McCoy's freshman records, Oklahoma's Sam Bradford put together an even better freshman year, tossing 36 touchdowns against just 8 interceptions while leading the nation in passing efficiency.
Dare we greedily ask whether Bradford might suffer a similar sophomore slide?
We can certainly hope, but the situation looks significantly rosier for the Sooners heading into 2008. Texas struggled for half of 2007 to find a running game, while Colt McCoy was frequently scrambling for his life behind a too-often shaky offensive line. But when Oklahoma opens play this fall, it will feature what may well be the nation's top offensive line:
LT Phil Loadholt (senior) - 2nd Team All-Big 12
LG Duke Robinson (senior) - 2007 All-American
C Jon Cooper (senior) - DMN 1st Team All-Big 12
RG Brandon Walker (senior) - 2nd Team All-Big 12
RT Brandon Baxter (senior) - Started 7 of 12 games last season after recovering from '06 broken leg
That's right, all five starters return and all are seniors. Four were all-conference awardees in '07, and the fifth - Baxter - was recovering from major injury. He was ranked the #53 high school player in the country when he committed to OU.
Running behind this formidable group will be true sophomore DeMarco Murray, who Texas fans should remember well from last October. I think it's also safe to say the Sooners were conservative with Murray in his freshman season; an enormous, break out sophomore season wouldn't be the least bit surprising if Murray is fully healthy by the fall. (He suffered a broken knee cap last November, missed the rest of the season, and is still rehabbing.)
Murray: Good at football.
With Oklahoma well set on the line and in the running game, the situation is almost ideally set for Bradford to enjoy another big season as a sophomore. Though Malcolm Kelly departs, Bradford's favorite receiver last season was Juaquin Iglesias, who returns for his senior year. As does junior Jermaine Gresham, who was near uncoverable by the end of last season. Assuming one or two receivers step up in bigger roles for the Sooners this year, this looks like the class of the Big 12 on offense.
Of course, that's what many thought about the Longhorns at this time last year. Here's to hoping for a Sam Bradford sophomore slump.