ARLINGTON, Texas —
What OU’s done since Saunders entered the lineup against Texas showed it as well.
It averaged more than 41 points per game. The only loss was against Notre Dame ,and Saunders hauled in 15 passes for 181 yards against the top-ranked Fighting Irish.
Norvell freely admits he was hoping Saunders would be a Broyles clone when he was recruiting him last spring. Saunders, who was an All-WAC selection after his sophomore season at Fresno State, was looking for an offense he could flourish in.
“We needed to fill that with a really quality guy that had a great feel and was able to run routes and make plays. We showed him a lot of that. I think we showed him every one of Ryan’s catches,” Norvell said. “He’s a real smart, tough kid and a really good football player;.I knew that when he came here. He’s an excellent route runner — a clean, fast, explosive route runner. He’s done very good with that for us.”
What happens over the next year will show how many traits Saunders truly shares with Broyles. Saunders isn’t the only player to get in legal trouble over an off-the-field mistake. Broyles had to redshirt his freshman season because he pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor larceny charge.
Four years later, OU had no problems calling Broyles the model it looked for in its program.
Saunders believes he has the same characteristics.
“Of course. I’m the type of person ... I’m not gonna make the same mistake twice,” Saunders said. “It’s a learning experience. I’m over it. I’m past it.”