Republished from the October 11 article on “The Inside Sports Factor” on Bleacher Report, written by Jake Leonard
Things could not happen at a worse time for the St. Louis Rams‘ rookie starting quarterback Sam Bradford. The 22-year-old University of Oklahoma graduate and 2008 Heisman Trophy recipient, despite his meager success and now, a fan favorite, still has a lot to prove in this rookie season. That doesn’t come without some trials and errors.
In five weeks’ time, Bradford hasn’t been completely used as offense-exclusive, but also working the defense as well. Bradford has thrown for 115 receptions out of 203 attempts for a total of 1,159 yards with six touchdowns and rushed three times for ten yards. He, however, has lost the ball by interception eight times. It’s merely trial and error for a rookie. On the defensive side, he has made a single tackle. It’s interesting how the Rams work Bradford as a vital part of both ends of the team.
Before joining the Rams after the 2010 NFL Draft as the first overall pick, Bradford played 30 games over three seasons for the Oklahoma Sooners. In the 2007 season, he completed 237 of 341 passes for 3,121 yards with 36 touchdowns and eight interceptions, while he rushed 31 times for 7 yards. The Sooners would defeat the University of Missouri twice in that season, one of them for the Big 12 Championship, and would face West Virginia in the Fiesta Bowl, which they would lose 48-28 in his BCS bowl game debut.
Bradford would make history anyway, breaking and/or matching some records, whether for Oklahoma or in the NCAA:
- Broke record set by Josh Heupel: Most Passing Yards In A Half with 350 yards
- Broke record set by Jason White: Most Consecutive Pass Completions with 22 completions
- Tied school record: Most Touchdowns In A Game with 5 TD
- Broke NCAA freshman passing touchdown record set/tied by David Neill/Colt McCoy with 30 TD
In 2008, Bradford would launch his campaign for the Heisman Trophy, which he proved himself with 328 completed passes for 4,721 yards with 50 touchdowns and 8 interceptions, including 42 rush attempts for 47 yards and five touchdowns. He would lead the Sooners to a third straight Big 12 Championship defeating Missouri 62-21 and would earn a trip to the BCS Championship game against Florida after finishing 12-1 and ranked second in the AP Poll and first in the BCS standings. However, Bradford would be handed his second straight bowl loss, losing to Florida 24-14.
Yet again, Bradford would make history by breaking or matching some records, including some firsts after winning the Heisman Trophy:
- Broke record set by Josh Heupel: Most Passing Yards In A Game with 468 yards
- Broke record set by Hawaii: Most Points In A Single Season with 702 points
- First team to score 60+ points in five consecutive games
- First sophomore Heisman Trophy recipient since 2007’s Tim Tebow
- First Heisman Trophy recipient for Oklahoma since 2003’s Jason White and fifth overall
- First Heisman Trophy recipient of Native American descent since 1970’s Jim Plunkett
Bradford would skip the 2009 NFL Draft to return for his junior season with the Sooners. However, it would be a shortened season, as he only played in two games, passing for 37 of 63 passes for two touchdowns and would rush three times for negative yardage. His junior season would mainly pass through because of injuries, despite becoming the school’s all-time passing leader. He would undergo shoulder surgery and announced that he would not return to Oklahoma for his senior year, expressing interest in entering the 2010 NFL Draft.
In his college career, he completed 602 of 887 passes for 8,327 yards with 88 passing touchdowns while being intercepted 16 times, while rushing 76 times for 49 yards with 5 rushing touchdowns.
When will Bradford reflect the success he had with the Oklahoma Sooners, or will we have to wait for the Rams to have a winning season? We will have to wait and see. Welcome to the Big Show – this isn’t college ball anymore!
Jake Leonard is the general manager of WWPM MediaNet and future host of an upcoming sports show slated for debut in 2011. You can check out the website at http://www.wwpmmedianet.info.