It's time for Travis Lewis to step up and rally this team.
Coming off a miserable performance against Texas Tech, I'm quite certain there are a number of things that "we'd like to see" this Saturday against K-State. I know for me personally, I could come up with a list about a mile long of things we could improve on coming off last week. But I won't subject to all of mine so we'll cover a few and then I'd like to here what you're hoping to see from our Sooners on Saturday.
#1 - A win. That's right people, that's the kind of brilliant analysis you get here at CCM! Seriously though, I don't want to say there were some people who were "alright" with the loss last week but maybe they handled it better than some of the rest of us (cough, me, cough.). I pray we don't have to find out, but I'd venture to guess a second consecutive loss might not be so easy for them to deal with. So is it fair to say our season is potentially riding on this one game right now? I think that is a pretty fair statement. A loss and your national championship chances go from pretty slim to non-existent. A Big 12 championship with two conference losses, uh bye-bye. Back-to-back losses for the first time since 1999 I believe, um not good. I'm not sure how this team couldn't feel the pressure after last week, so we'll learn a lot about them during/after this game. If they come out and dominate, then maybe they're the team we all thought they were heading into this season and Tech was just a fluke. However, if they get down early and fold up under said pressure then I think it goes without saying we've got some major issues.
#2 - A killer instinct. For whatever reason, this team seems to have it at times and then lose it just as quickly. I'm sure we all wish it wouldn't have taken a loss for them to get this back, but it is what it is at this point so it's no longer about that but instead how you respond to the adversity of it. If they come out and jump on K-State early, I think that says a lot about this team. I want to see them play with that killer instinct for a full 60 minutes, no matter what the scoreboard says. If we're fortunate enough to be up by a comfortable margin, don't take your foot of their throat. This team, after last week, has lost the benefit of taking anything for granted. I'm not advocating running up the score, I think we all know Stoops won't do that to Snyder (of course that assumes we would even be in that position to being with), but we gain nothing by showing a team mercy if we can get a lead.
#3 - The 50-front. It's a defense designed to slow down/stop a power run game which is exactly what we can expect to see Saturday afternoon. For some unknown reason, despite using it with great success last year, DC Venables has refused to utilize the 50-front formation in 2011. I think we will continue to see the "Endy" or four DE front they've been using on passing downs, but on first and second or obvious run downs I'd be pretty disappointed if they didn't try and use that 50-front formation. If nothing else, KSU probably won't be expecting it since we've yet to employ it all year.
#4 - The
Triangle Diamond. Much #3 above, another formation that was used with great success last year and one we've really yet to see (at least on a consistent basis) this season. The diamond was incredibly effective last year and for a team looking for an identity in the run game, why not try and mix things up and go to something you known you've had success with in the past? If K-State shuts it down then fine you adjust, but at least at that point you've tried it. I can't help but feel at times Heupel is over thinkingthings when it comes to his play calling, not using aspects of this offense that have been successful in the past. Also though at other times I feel like he has some of that Kevin Wilson stubbornnesswhere he sticks with something even though it continues to fail (i.e. the run up the middle into a cluster of bodies). Coming off a loss, I would not be surprised at all if it feels like more of the playbook is being utilized. In fact, I'll be incredibly disappointed if it doesn't feel that way.
#5 - OUfront seven imposes their will. If our Sooners can contain or even the good lord willing, shutdown the K-State run game and for Klein to have to throw it is a MAJOR victory for this defense. I feel pretty confident in saying even KSU fans don't want to be in a position where Klein has to win them this game with his arm. So the play of the OUfront seven will obviously be a huge part of this game. If K-State is gashing them up the middle, where they are sure to attack, then we're in major trouble. The OU DTs will have to do their part and plug up the middle of that line, drawing multiple blockers, so the LBs behind them can make plays.
There you have it my fellow OU fans. To be sure, there are plenty more and if we are to be victorious we'll likely need to see a bunch of them. So what say you? What do you hope to see that will help us come away with the win in the Little Apple?