logo

Oklahoma blogger Allen Kenney of blatanthomerism.com breaks down the Sooners and how Missouri can beat them.

stoops28

There's only one word to describe the Oklahoma Sooners' season to this point: weird.

Yes, OU is No. 1 in the latest BCS standings. The Sooners have knocked off an impressive lineup of foes. They look like the frontrunners in the Big 12 South.

When things are going good, OU fans are accustomed to seeing 49-7, 63-10, etc. This year, though, opponents have generally played the Crimson and Cream tough. In four out of six games, the other side has been within a score at the final gun. Take a look at these national rankings:

  • Yards per rush: 3.48 (95th)
  • Yards per pass: 7.30 (48th)
  • Yards allowed per rush: 3.98 (56th)
  • Yards allowed per pass: 7.00 (64th)

 


Overall, the Sooners are actually allowing slightly more yards per play, 5.4, than they're accumulating, 5.3.

In other words, this is a good OU team, but it is not a group of world-beaters. If I were game-planning against the Sooners, here's what I'd do.

Stopping OU's Offense

This year, offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson is emphasizing rhythm and trying to not put too much pressure on his offensive line. Early on in games, in particular, Wilson is pushing the tempo to prevent opposing defenses from substituting and catch them napping.

In terms of play-calling, the Sooners are far more balanced this season than last, when the OU offensive line really struggled in the running game. When they're not running DeMarco Murray, the Sooners are relying on their screen game and quick-hitting passes to move the ball. Talented pass catchers such as Ryan Broyles are big threats through the air.

One thing opponents have to realize is that OU's offense may not be as explosive as in past seasons, but Landry Jones and Co. don't make many mistakes. OU has turned the ball over just five times in six games. If your defensive strategy hinges on generating takeaways, you might as well start getting ready for the next opponent.

First things first, junior wide receiver Ryan Broyles is Oklahoma's greatest weapon. The only team that has had success in keeping Broyles under wraps was Texas, which used bracket coverage all game on No. 85. That's a must.

Otherwise, aside from blitzes on obvious passing downs, play the Sooners straight up. Stacking the box on early downs may seem tempting, but Wilson sniff that out and check into hot routes all night.

Bottom line: Stop Broyles first and take your chances with the rest.


Beating the OU Defense

Since Bob Stoops arrived in Norman, not much has changed about the Sooner defense.

Stoops and defensive coordinator Brent Venables like to blitz. Then, they like to blitz again. Then, they like to blitz again after that.

OU comes at you from all different angles with all different kinds of players at all different times. The Sooners force opponents into mistakes with all that pressure. The major downside to such an aggressive philosophy is that it leaves the D susceptible to big plays.

That exposure has burned OU badly this year, as the Sooners have given up a stunning 19 plays of 30-plus yards to opponents this season.

The teams that have had the most success moving the ball have used the defense's aggressiveness against it and forced the Sooners to read and react. That has primarily involved play-action passing and the veer option.

Also, mobile quarterbacks who can make plays with their feet and buy time in the pocket give OU real trouble. If a quarterback can create some additional time for his receivers to get open, OU's defensive backs can be beat over the top.