My initial inclination was that there is a lot that needs to happen in this game if Oklahoma is going to come out on top. But then I had some time to think about it and actually I think the formula for our Sooners winning is pretty simple.
1. Run the ball
2. Hold onto the ball
3. Get six, not three
4. Don't give up (or at the very least limit) the big play
Seems pretty basic, no? Maybe, but if OU does those four things consistently I have little doubt they win and extend the streak to nine in a row. But you know me well enough to know I'm way more long winded than that up above, so we'll get more in-depth after the jump.
Good Landry needs to throw no more than 25 times- Much like yesterday's topics, I'll qualify this one by saying I'm not optimistic it actually happens. However if it were to occur, it would mean that Heupel realized we have a run game and OSU's defense hasn't stopped one all year. I've complained that this OU defense has been soft at times, well my friends if OU is soft then OSU's defense is Charmin super duper soft.
A power run approach would dominate this OSU defense allowing OU to control the clock and keep OSU's defense off the field. Additionally, if OU were able to get a lead employing this attack it would very likely force Weeden to take chances thus increasing the chances he throws a pick, or two, or three. Add to all of that, it would drastically increase the effectiveness of OU's play action passing against an overly aggressive OSU defense that would then be ripe for some big plays of our own.
Everything about this offensive approach to the game for OU makes perfect sense, even ignoring what they're predicting the weather to be, which is why I'm pretty sure it has no chance of happening. I've felt like Heupel has been over thinking things pretty much all year and while I'm incredibly hopeful that changes on Saturday, I'm going to have to see it first.
Brandon Williams needs more than 11 touches- Obviously playing off the last point, this kid could be the difference maker in this game if the coaches allow him to be. He is a 75 yard TD run waiting to happen IMO. He has a burst, when he gets the ball, that we haven't seen since a guy named Adrian was patrolling the OU backfield. Not promising that reports are this week he suffered a sprained or twisted ankle late in practice Tuesday, but is still expected to play and I'd imagine, in his first Bedlam game, will be more than ready to go. If and when he does get carries, I'm sure OSU will be ripping for the ball so to point #2 up above it will obviously be key that he holds on to the rock.
I've just got a funny feeling that this is the game where we see him finally break one and take it to the house.
Trey Millard needs to be more than just a lead blocker - See Brandon Williams.
No Bad Landry - We kind of covered this one yesterday, so this will be quick. NO BAD LANDRY. That is all.
This offense needs to get TDs, not FGs- Until last week, we obviously thought we had solved our red zone woes. Then this offense starts to stall out inside the 20 again like we saw early in the season and can't help but be a little worried heading into Bedlam. While I appear to be in the minority with respect to not predicting this to be a high scoring shootout, this still isn't a game where OU can get away with settling for field goals instead of scoring touchdowns.
We need a big play or two of our own on offense- If the run game is working as well as I hope it does, the deep pass will be there as the OSU secondary starts to creep up to try and help against the run. Whether it's Kenny Stills, Jaz Reynolds, Trey Franks, Dejuan Miller, James Hanna, or whoever we need to get a big play or more from our offense as well. Landry hasn't thrown a TD pass in two games and while I don't believe it's really hindering his confidence, it can't hurt him to hit something deep in this game. Both for his confidence and the offense's in general.
Weeden needs to feel some heat- Without Ronnell Lewis and against a stout OSU o-line, this won't be easy. But if the Sooners can't get pressure and Weeden has time to throw, then it's going to be a VERY long night for OU IMO. I can guarantee you he will pick this defense apart given the time, so Venables better have a little something special waiting for the old man Saturday night. It's going to be cold and old men don't generally move very well in cold weather, bad hips and all, so if they can get to him I think he gets rattled pretty easily.
OU needs to win the special teams match-up - Special teams will play a role in the outcome of this game. It may not be thedeciding factor, but they will show up good or bad. Weather will very likely be a factor, so field position could be huge in the game so Tress Way will play a role. Michael Hunnicutt has been outstanding this season, but he's still a freshman kicker in his first Bedlam game. Kickoff return coverage, or lack there of, certainly played a role in last year's game so we know how that can go if you're not ready. So long as this doesn't cost OU the game, that's the definition of "winning the special teams match-up" IMO and that's good enough for me.
Alright, time to hear from you. What players or match-ups are you watching or think OU has an advantage at? What does OU have to do to win this game in your mind?