So as I type this we're a couple hours away from kickoff and I just wanted to take some time to put some of my thoughts about the game down on paper (so to speak). As an OU fan, I can't begin to tell you nervous I am about this game. Our Sooners have proven to have so much trouble getting up for games all year that I'm not sure how you couldn't be worried about this game against iowa. Other than pride, there is just very little to get this OU team motivated for this game. So that is the very obvious first 'musing' of this post as we approach kickoff.
Some others after the jump.
- I think we're all hoping that OC Josh Heupel will call a much more balanced game. There have been some message board rumors that OU is going with a more run oriented game plan, but obviously we'll have to wait until the game starts before they prove to be true or false. If true, I don't see that kind of game plan that can mean any less than 10-15 carries for Trey Millard which I know myself and a lot of other OU fans would be just fine with.
- We know Landry won't have a ton of proven options at WR, so it will be key that he doesn't try and force throws. As usual, we need Good Landry to have made the trip to AZ and avoid any stupid INTs.
- It will be interesting to see how often Blake Bell gets on the field tonight. Will they use him in more than just goal line situations? Will he actually get a chance to pass the ball? I'm not optimistic that either of those happen, which just continues to stunt his development as an all around QB.
- Kenny Stills needs to step up in a big way. He's had a month off to rest up and hopefully get healthy and this game is his first real chance to prove he can be that #1 threat. A big game for him would be a good sign heading into 2012.
- I know O^3 likes the chances of Kameel Jackson to have a good game and I could get on board with that idea. Jackson, out of the slot, could get plenty of targets if Heupel goes back to some of the quick, short routes OU has run in the past (which I expect him to do).
- I think a guy like James Hanna could be a significant weapon against this Iowa defense, but that obviously presumes the fact that Heupel remembers that there are still TEs on this roster (for one more game anyway).
- As worried as I am about the game itself, I'm about equally as worried that DC Brent Venables is going to utilize that stupid three man d-line. What I would LOVE to see is four actual down lineman that includes two DTs and three actual LBs on the field. I'd also absolutely love to see OU sub in a third corner and sub out a LB on obvious passing downs, but I've been screaming that for 13 years so at this point I'm not all that optimistic.
- Whether or not they do go the three man front way, but especially if they do, I think David King and/or R.J. Washington have to have a big game. Not to slight Frank Alexander because I think him getting consistent pressure, as he's done pretty much all year, is a given in terms of needing to happen. But we're going to need a push from that other side as well and without Ronnell Lewis the challenge is on King & Washington to do so.
- I'd love to see Travis Lewis close out his OU career with a really good game. Iowa's offensive system, or at least their system before losing Coker, would very much suit what Travis does well so I don't think it's out of the question that he could have a big game. If anyone could motivate this defense, you'd hope it would be a fifth year senior playing in his final game.
- I mentioned it on the podcast, but I say it again here. I think we see a lot of Tony Jefferson back at that traditional safety spot with Joseph Ibiloye playing in that Roy-back position. I think OU expects Iowa to still run the ball predominantly on offense and Ibiloye is a guy they traditionally use against run heavy offenses. All that said, I do think the coaches will try to work in Javon Harris plenty since defending the run is the strongest part of his game.
- If Venables and Willie Martinez decide to have Demontre Hurst and Jamell Fleming play their usual 5-7 yards off the line it could be a long night for the OU defense. Iowa is very adept at shorter routes, especially slant routes, and I firmly believe they'd be fine taking whatever the OU defense will give them. Which means that big of a cushion for the short routes Iowa likes to run become incredibly easy to complete if the DB isn't getting any kind of bump on the WR.