By Nick Snow
STILLWATER, Okla. —
It’s no secret that there’s a little chemistry between Braxton Noble and Brandon Prather. Put the two in a pitch black room with a hundred defenders and chances are they’d still find a way to score.
That certainly was the case Friday in Norman as Noble and Prather torched defenses for a couple of big scores — something Stillwater coach Tucker Barnard hopes to see a lot of this season.
“Braxton and Brandon hooked up several times and looked real good,” Barnard said. “They had a good chemistry going and they knew what they needed to do.”
It wasn’t so much a question of whether Noble and Prather could get on the same page, so much as a matter of when. While the two had the entire spring and summer to work on their chemistry, Barnard said he wasn’t sure whether they’d be on the same page or not by the season opener against McAlester Friday — as Noble lost an opportunity to build on last year’s chemistry because of a season-ending injury.
“They hooked up two or three times on deep balls,” Barnard said. “That’s something that’s good to see us do, but I like that our opponents are going to have to see that on film. They’re going to have to know early that Brandon is a deep threat. He’s got incredible ball skills and can really stretch the field vertically. Hopefully that will open up some other things by making some people double up on him.”
Prather’s speed and Noble’s arm definitely had a huge effect later in Friday night’s scrimmage, opening draws for players like Marlon McDonald and Cameron Mayberry.
“Marlon ran really well and I think a lot of that was because we opened up the defenses a little bit,” Barnard said. “That’s really the big thing we’re looking for is that balance. If we can get some sort of balance, it’s going to allow guys like the Brandon Prathers, Spencer Parsons and Marlon McDonalds to make plays.”
Even if teams lock down on Prather — similar to the way teams locked down on Darrian Williams last season — Barnard feels confident that the scrimmage in Norman won’t be the last time Noble and Prather hook up for a big play this season.
“We know that our opponents are going to key on (Prather),” Barnard said. “We just have to find ways to get him the ball. He’s such a skilled player, we can’t afford not to get him the ball. They just have to keep working on their chemistry and hopefully it will pay off for us in the end.”
As far as preparing for the opener against McAlester Friday at Pioneer Stadium, Barnard said after looking at film early Saturday the Pioneers are already in the process of planning for the game.
“Now we’ll go into kind of full game plan mode the best we can with the video we have and what we think we know about McAlester,” Barnard said Friday night. “When we get back, we’ll get to work. We’ll get up early and get rolling. We hoping to have a plan ready for Monday.”