Claremore Daily Progress

Sports

August 30, 2012

Can Kenny Stills be Kenny Stills again?

NORMAN —  It is not because he wears a blond mohawk. Nor is it because he seems to revel in giving his 32,503 Twitter followers oh, so much to read about.

It is not because he shared a picture of himself in a dress, in Texas A&M maroon rather than Sooner crimson, no less.

Instead, it is because of all of these things and that at different times last season, when his team needed him most, Kenny Stills appeared to lose interest, develop alligator arms or plain forget how to catch the ball.

Perhaps it changed this past spring, but you’d never know because the only thing Bob Stoops put out for public viewing was the spring game in which Stills was more notable for the balls he dropped than the ones he caught, not to mention the fact that Trey Metoyer was the best receiver at Owen Field that day and it wasn’t remotely close.

Perhaps Stills is ready to lead this season, his junior year. As the career catches leader among current Sooners, it stands to reason. But I’ve heard a lot of people try asking Stoops about that possibility and I’ve heard Stoops say many things, none of them an unequivocal endorsement of Stills’ leadership skills.

Really, if Stills’ could only earn the comments Stoops gives Landry Jones — “Landry with the experience and maturity, he really demonstrates it on a daily basis,” the head man said of the quarterback Monday — it would represent a great leap forward.

But maturity requires, you know, maturity.

Stills’ decline has been there for all to see. Not only has he quit making the plays and producing the points he once produced, but his ineffectiveness accelerated after Ryan Broyles was lost to a torn ACL last season.

In 2011, Stills was suspended for the opener, but came back with seven catches for 125 yards and a touchdown against Florida State. A vicious hit taken against the Seminoles left him sidelined against Missouri, but he followed with back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back strong games.

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