By now it’s becoming evident that Oklahoma’s receiver corps this season probably will be by committee.
Armed with a swarm of talented pass catchers, presented with a new quarterback, and with dynamic players waiting in the wings and others still coming into their own, Lincoln Riley might not have a go-to receiver in 2020.
Then again, he might.
Sophomore Theo Wease showed last season that he has the kind of playmaking ability that can change games. And he showed last week against Missouri State that he has continued to improve his game.
Wease only caught two passes in OU’s 48-0 rout of Missouri State last Saturday in Norman, but he averaged a very CeeDee Lamb-like 22 yards per catch. That included a 38-yard sideline grab from Spencer Rattler on second-and-10 that set up a field goal.
“We felt great as a unit,” Wease said this week. “The coaches put together a great plan during the summer when we were gone. We had a great fall camp. I felt like we were really well prepared for the game.”
UCLA transfer Theo Howard led the Sooners with five catches and gained 63 yards. Junior Charleston Rambo (four receptions) and freshman Marvin Mims (three) led the team with 80 receiving yards. Freshman Trevon West caught four passes for 59 yards in the second half. Freshman H-back Mikey Henderson had four receptions for 37 yards. Walk-on wideout Finn Corwin caught two for 31 yards and a score. Freshman running back Seth McGowan popped a screen pass for a 37-yard touchdown. H-back Jeremiah Hall had a spectacular 17-yard grab on the goal line to set up a touchdown. And tight end Austin Stogner caught a short pass and turned it into a 17-yard collision. And Marshall transfer Obi Obialo is expected back soon after missing the opener.
That might be the MO for the Sooner receiving corps all season: players from different positions and different experience levels catching balls all over the field.
Rambo figures to get the first audition to replace Lamb as the team’s primary receiver. But the 6-foot-3, 192-pound Wease already established some legit credentials last year when he helped spur the greatest comeback victory in school history.
As OU overcame a 28-3 deficit on the road at Big 12 runner-up Baylor, Wease delivered a couple of catches that helped turn the game around: a short throw from Jalen Hurts on a crossing route, where he juked the first defender, spun away from the second and plowed through two tackles for a 12-yard gain, and a short out route that he caught while turning back inside, spun away from his man, juked an inside defender and then bulled through two tacklers at the goal line to score a 20-yard touchdown.
“It helped my confidence a lot,” Wease said. “I made some big plays to help the team win. That was my role. When my name was called, just step up to my role, trust in my coaches’ plan and just execute my job to the best of my ability.
“I could say that was one of my biggest moments. It helped me a lot. Because we were down and nobody wants to be down and playing catch up. But it helped me a lot to grow as a man and grow as a person and actually just trust in the process, trust in my coaches, trust in my teammates. I stepped up when and made plays when they needed me to make plays.”
Wease said he’s “very excited to see what Marvin can do” after Mims’ debut last week. But he also sounds excited to get the other two members of OU’s elite trio of 2019 5-star wideouts back someday. Trejan Bridges is still suspended, and Jadon Haselwood is coming off an offseason knee injury.
He said their absence shouldn’t be seen as a way for him to take on a bigger role.
“No, I don't look it at it like that,” Wease said. “It’s football. Everything’s not going to play out the exact way you want it to. That’s just another thing of adversity that we all go through. I’d love to have them out there with me, for sure. But I don’t look it at like the spotlight is on me. Other guys can step up too.”
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