It's time once more for the collective brain trust here at CCM to have our weekly discussion of the Oklahoma Sooners and the Big 12 in general. This week we're throwing down on our favorite memory from the OU beat down of Texas, and our thoughts on the Kansas Jayhawks as well. Feel free to leave your own thoughts in the comments section. Hope you enjoy!
I know we have to move on from the Texas game and face the rest of the season, but what is one moment from that beat down that is going to make you smile for a long time to come?
Rich: I've got the feeling that I will not be alone on this one. That moment comes during Trey Millard's 73 yard reception, however it is not what is going on, on the field that makes me smile. It's what happens on the sideline as a referee is attempting to keep up with the play that not only makes me smile but down right laugh. As the ref comes into view, he is running full steam down the sideline. Unbeknownst to him, Case McCoy is a tad too close to the field of play and gets absolutely trucked. The ref knocks him to the ground and continues up-field while a penalty would later be assessed. It sums up the way things went for the Longhorns that afternoon.
Jordan: Wow, there are so many. It's almost impossible to limit it to just one. Any number of the plays Trey Millard made, Damien Williams' 95-yard TD run, the domination on both lines. But if I have to choose just one, it would have to be Mack Brown calling a timeout with eight seconds left just to score a garbage touchdown in a transparently pathetic attempt to make the score look slightly better. If this does in fact wind up being his final RRSO game, that will perfectly sum up his tenure at Texas in my book.
Matt: When I came up with this question I didn't realize how hard it would be to answer. That said, I think the play we'll be talking about for years to come is Millard's 73-yard reception. The combination of speed and power just on that play sums up the difference between Oklahoma and Texas right. Seeing Baby McCoy get trucked by a ref on the play was an added bonus.
Oklahoma ran the ball all over Texas last weekend and should be able to do the same against the Jayhawks. Does the game plan stay the same, in your opinion?
Jordan: Without question. There is no reason to take any unnecessary chances in the pass game this week. Let your backs do the heavy lifting, get them all in for some work, and pick your spots with Landry and the wide receivers.
Matt: I think it has to. The last two weeks have been the best Oklahoma's offense has been and Damien Williams has been a huge part of that. Last week the Sooners went up against the worst rush defense in the conference and this week is the second worst. If that isn't a recipe for a heavy dose of running then there isn't one.
Rich: Surprisingly enough, Kansas has the 7th best defense in the Big XII (Texas, West Virginia, and Baylor all rank below KU) in yards given up per game. In their last outing, the Jayhawks allowed only 2.6 yards per carry on 44 attempts which is a feat in itself. This simple fact may make some offensive coordinator begin to rethink their game plan. However, the Oklahoma offensive line has progressed consistently each week leading up to this weekend. The Sooners have a big and physical line which is key in springing the run game for massive chunks of yardage. We know that OU has the personnel and we know that the game plan has been near flawless in the past two games. I expect Heupel and Norvell to continue to build upon their recent success while sticking to what has been working. As the old saying goes, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!" Kansas currently is giving up roughly 200 yards per game on the ground. Oklahoma would be naive to move away from the run while using it to set up the pass.
Is there a fear that this will be a letdown game after last weekend?
Matt: This week is all about focus. The Sooners seem to be finding their stride and the true measure of their improvement won't be found in what they do against rivals but in the focus they show against teams who they are heavily favored against. If the Sooners can play clean against Kansas then we truly know that this team has turned the corner. That said, Notre Dame is next week so yes, I'm worried.
Rich: Absolutely! The main reason is due to this being a below average team coming to Norman while being sandwiched between Texas and an undefeated Notre Dame. The momentum is running high for this Oklahoma team but the general notion is Kansas will present little to no challenge. The similarity to last season's first home loss comes to mind as Oklahoma overlooked Texas Tech for an undefeated Kansas St. team. If the coaching staff is able to keep the players' eyes on the prize while taking one step at a time, they should be fine.
Jordan: Were it not for Stoops' perfect record following Dallas, I'd be more inclined to buy into this theory (especially after Tech last year). But I think he and his staff have a proven track record of not allowing their players to put all their eggs in the proverbial RRSO basket. I actually expect OU to come out of the gates strong, get a big lead, and actually play some backups in something other than the last 90 seconds of a game.
Defensively, Oklahoma put together its most dominating performance of the season against Texas. What can we most expect to transfer over into this week?
Rich: The biggest thing I expect to transfer over comes from the secondary. This is a group that has a solid handle on how the defense as a whole is supposed to work. In watching the RRS, it became very apparent that Tony Jefferson can be the guy to deliver a blow that strikes fear into receivers coming across the middle. As a unit, they were great in coverage on the corner blitzes and linebacker blitzes that have been utilized while playing bump and run. However, it is the turnover margin that this unit is creating that will carry this defense. In the first three games, OU managed a mere single turnover in their favor. Since that point, the defense has come alive, creating six turnovers. The best defensive unit on the field at any given time will need to continue to produce turnovers as the Sooners prepare to travel to Morgantown, WV in a month. To sum it up, the turnovers are coming from playing man coverage while jamming receivers and mixing up blitz packages...all things that will need to remain a constant if Mike Stoops wants to field the best defense in the Big XII.
Jordan: I fully expect the same kind of domination from the Oklahoma secondary vs. the Kansas receivers. To put it kindly, this is a match-up that heavily favors the Sooners and that is without even taking into account a front seven that should be able to pressure whichever KU quarterback is in the game at the moment.
Matt: I thought that the linebackers took a huge step forward last Saturday and I expect to see that continue into this weekend. James Sims is one of the most underrated backs in the conference and Oklahoma's second level will need to be on their toes.
Big 12 power rankings...
Jordan: Kansas State, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, OSU, TCU, Baylor, Texas, Iowa State, Kansas
Matt: Kansas State, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, TCU, Texas, Baylor Oklahoma State, Iowa State, Kansas
Rich: Kansas St, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, West Virginia, TCU, Iowa St, Texas, Baylor, Oklahoma St, Kansas