Are we confident in our team? Yes. Are we so confident that we can't see the threat that this game and this Texas team present? I'd like to think no, but I'm sure there are some who would disagree. Something like this is always a little bit tricky to put together, because I don't want to give the impression that I'm not confident in our Sooners (which I am). But at the same time, I'm just not a believer in going the blind homer route and telling you all how great OU is and how Texas sucks (which they do), has no chance to win this game, and how we have nothing to worry about. One because I don't think that's why you all come here and two because I don't believe it to be true.
So to that point, here are some things Sooner Nation could be worried about heading into the familiar stomping grounds of the Cotton Bowl.
Well our two greatest sources of confidence will not play a role in this game, so that's got to be a reason to be worried right? One we've known about and were able to plan for thus bracing ourselves for the painful break-up. Oh, Greg Davis how we'll miss you! The second was much more recent, but just as heart breaking. We just keep asking ourselves why, why, why couldn't Garrett Gilbert have held onto this job through October 8th??? Was that really too much to ask?
Okay, so we had a little fun with that first one but that doesn't mean there wasn't some truth to that. In both Davis (horizontal fun!) and Gilly (INT thank you very much) we knew what we were getting. In the two headed combo of McCoy Jr. and Ash, we can't be quite sure what to expect. Originally it was believed that McCoy was the passing one and Ash was the running one, but that was really pigeon holeing two guys who were each capable of doing more than just those two things respectively. No one will ever confuse McCoy's arm for that of John Elway, but in spite of said noodle arm he just finds a way to make plays. They may not be pretty in their arrival, but I'm pretty sure if the UT guy catches it that it still counts right? No disrespect to McCoy, but Ash should be the guy worrying OU fans. It's no secret that the Sooners have struggled to defend mobile QBs in the past and while Ash is certainly no VY (who is though really?) he can definitely move around back there. That said, it would be a mistake to just dismiss his passing ability as a non-threat. So in short, you've got two guys who are mobile enough to either make big plays with their legs, extend plays long enough to allow their WRs to break coverage, and good enough passers to do some serious damage.
Bad Landry. Those two words and what they mean to us here and all over Sooner Nation are all that need to be said. Texas has shown to be more than willing to sell out from any and everywhere on the field to try and pressure the QB. And Landry has shown to have a tendency to freak out under pressure. A throw away or even taking a sack in this game likely won't be the end of the world. The same probably couldn't be said about a pick six or drive killing INT. Texas has had no problems forcing turnovers through their first four games, so avoiding them will obviously be huge for this OU offense.
The Texas run game. Not necessarily in their ability to just line up and run it down our throats, but more so the creativity they'll use all day to try and get the run game going. Much like OU, Texas has no shortage of options at RB nor do they lack for ways in which they'll try to use them all. Whether it's Fozzy Whitaker in the wildcat, Malcolm Brown in the power-I, D.J. Monroe on the jet sweep, or Joe Beregon/Cody Johnson in the jumbo set, the Sooners are likley to see all of the above at some point this Saturday. And if Texas is able to get any of those going on a consistent basis, well then things get significantly more difficult for our Sooners.
The Texas front seven. In some specific instances like Okafor/Jeffcoat against Lane Johnson or Kheeston Randall against Gabe Ikard. The Randall vs. Ikard match-up is the one to really keep an eye on IMO. Randall gave Ben Habern some major issues last year and that was against a guy accustomed to playing center, whereas Ikard is obviously a temporary solution to Habern's broken forearm. Okafor and Jeffcoat are both guys who could give our tackles trouble one-on-one and that's without taking into account the pressure Texas will add to that with blitzes. Couple all that with three very athletic LBs who can make plays from sideline to sideline and you can start to see why OU might have trouble running the ball.
A Shipley returning kicks or punts, need I say more? I believe he's just on punts and in general (from what I've read) Texas has been average at best in the return game, but wouldn't it be just like them to break out of their funk in Dallas? OU fans are well aware of the issues we've had covering kicks in years past and while they seem to have resolved most of those, it wouldn't be unlike the history of this game for them to pop back up.
Despite plenty of evidence to the contrary in recent years, Texas has apparently come to the realization that a non-corpse at the TE position can actually help your offense. Defending the middle of the field/down the seam hasn't necessarily been a strength of Venables' or the OU defense, so a guy like D.J. Grant could be potentially very scary for this defense.
There are some of what you might be worried about, I'm sure there are others that I might not have included or Texas fans think should have been included. As always, the comment section is ready an waiting. Have at it!