OU's Bob Stoops again praises freshmen

NORMAN, Okla. -- In his first press conference of the season, Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops said at least nine or 10 true freshmen will play this weekend at UTEP.

Tight end Taylor McNamara, center Ty Darlington, defensive ends Charles Tapper and Mike Onuoha, linebacker Eric Striker, cornerback Gary Simon and receivers Durron Neal, Trey Metoyer and Sterling Shepard will all avoid redshirt. Stoops added that cornerback Zack Sanchez “probably” will play. And though Stoops didn’t mention Alex Ross, the freshman running back fro Jenks, Okla., has also impressed this preseason.

No one, however, has impressed more than Metoyer and Shepard, both of whom Stoops saved most of his praise for Monday. Metoyer will start this weekend opposite Penn State transfer Justin Brown at wideout.

“Trey continues to be one of the best athletes we have,” Stoops said. “He makes as competitive a catch as anyone we’ve had. He has those really strong hands.”

Shepard, meanwhile, is backing up Kenny Stills in the slot. Stoops didn’t hesitate comparing Shepard to former OU All-American slot receiver Ryan Broyles.

“Sterling really has a special feel there,” Stoops said. “He’s kind of a sturdier Ryan Broyles. He has that quickness and those inside moves. He’s just so much strong body-wise.”

Quarterback Landry Jones also praised the incoming freshman class Monday. He compared it to the class of 2010, which had a dozen play as true freshmen, including Stills.

“It’s similar, as far as talent wise,” Jones said. “A lot of freshman that are going to play who are going to be great football players.”