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This week's roundtable focuses on impact players and the validity of the Texas Tech defense.
Yes, we're a day late with the roundtable. For those of you that had your Thursday completely ruined because we didn't get this posted in time, we're extremely sorry. However, there is a bright side though. Today you get the roundtable along with the Friday Locks. Wow! Now that's a good way to spend your Friday!
The topics for today are the Texas Tech defense, best and worst memories and which Sooner players must step up and perform on Saturday afternoon. Let's go!
Texas Tech defense. Is it legit or a fraud?
Jordan: I don't believe it to be "legit" with respect to its current No. 1 overall ranking, but I also do not think you can immediately dismiss their success simply because of their schedule. Admittedly, their schedule has certainly played a big role in that ranking, but we of all people should know that even if the team across from you is not quality you still have to stop them. UTEP probably isn't all that much better than most of the teams Tech has played and yet they ran all over Oklahoma. So it's a bit of a give and take.
Matt: I don't believe that Texas Tech has the best defense in the Big XII, much less the entire nation. Tech hasn't faced a team yet this season that is capable of being balanced. On top of that, they definitely are beneficiaries of playing a soft schedule but they also have earned their ranking. It is what it is. Regardless of the level of competition, you have to line up and beat the guy in front of you. Texas Tech has been outstanding at doing that through the first four games of the season. Here's to hoping that Oklahoma can expose a few things on Saturday/
Rich: As we mentioned on the podcast, this is a defense that has been productive against...well...no one! I believe that Oklahoma still has the potential to be solid offensively but up to this point has been unable to string four quarters together. That said, this is still the most talented offense that Tech will have faced up to this point. I am not willing to jump on board with them having the best defense in the nation as many like to say by the stats. However, if they completely shut Oklahoma down in all facets of the game, I would be willing to jump them up quite a bit. In short, this is a hyped up defense, while improved from past years, that has not proven themselves worthy of such notoriety.
What is your worst Oklahoma/Texas Tech memory?
Rich: 2005 takes the cake for me, a game that was played in Lubbock, the Twilight Zone. In typical Sooner fashion, Oklahoma, behind Rhett Bomar and Adrian Peterson, proved they were a second half team eventually taking a 21-17 lead off a Peterson score while leaving 1:33 left on the clock with no timeouts remaining. The Red Raiders marched down the field winding up on the 5 yard line with just over 10 seconds left in the game. This is when the seemingly impossible happened. Taurean Henderson took a hand-off on what would be the final play of the game. In that instant, Henderson appeared to be stopped short of the goal line but his reaction changed the fate of the game. After what appeared to be a tackle, Henderson reached out while the official ruled the play a touchdown sealing the game. The play was reviewed time and time again. Due to the nature of the system, the ruling on the field carries significant weight and video evidence proved to be inconclusive. To put the icing on the cake, Mike Leach went for a two point conversion after the ruling. I still shake my head when thinking about it.
Jordan: Sadly, there are so many to pick from. I guess I'm going to take the easy way out and go with last year's embarrassment. I remember saying on our podcast the Thursday before something to the effect of being as confident in winning that game as any I could possibly imagine. In my mind, I gave OU less than zero percent chance of losing. All of which made sitting through that game sickening. It was miserable. For a grown man, I deal with OU losses embarrassingly poorly (I'll own it) and that night I can assure you was not one of my finer moments.
Matt: For a series that spans only 19 games this one sure has a lot of disappointing moments. The 2005 game was bad because of the bad calls on the final drive of the game. Last year was incredibly frustrating as well. However, for me, the worst moment has to be the 2007 game. Oklahoma was still in the hunt for the BCS championship but Tech ended that with a 34-27 win. Sam Bradford was lost early due to a concussion and Demarco Murray was lost late, when he was injured on an onside kick. Murray's injury would end up being season ending.
Best Oklahoma/Texas Tech memory?
Matt: My two best moments at Oklahoma football games were...
1) The 2000 OU/Texas Game
Yes, I'll look for any reason to play that video.
Rich: The scene was set for a showdown of epic proportion in 2008. For that not to be the choice would be ludicrous for many fans (seeing that I am the youngster of the group). The atmosphere was electric as Bob Stoops called out the fans. What ensued was nothing short of insanity, and I'm not talking about the workout program. With planes flying overhead from a neighbor down south and in a must win situation for a chance at a Big XII 3-way tie along with a BCS Bid, the fans responded and it translated on the field as the Sooners thrashed the top ranked Red Raiders and all but sealed Sam Bradford's Heisman hopes.
Jordan: I fear my answer will be terribly unoriginal, but I'd be remiss if I went with anything other than 2008. I was incredibly fortunate enough to be in the stadium that night and actually fortunate enough to have fallen into season tickets that year. My father and I made all the home games, RRSO, Big 12 Championship, and even went down to Miami for the MNC game. It was a special year for me personally and that night is arguably one of the most special nights in OU Football that stadium has ever (maybe will ever) seen.
Offensive and defensive players who must perform on Saturday...
Jordan: Offense, I'll go with Damien Williams. We've all been screaming for him to get more carries. The coaches are saying they're going to give him more carries. If that actually does happen, Williams needs to have a big game and when he has been given the ball he's given us no reason to expect anything less on Saturday.
Defense, I'm kind of torn. I want to be clever, I guess, and go with a guy like Julian Wilson who I think (or at least hope) will be on the field a lot and who I think will be responsible for covering the slot. But I think I'm going to have to go with a guy up front because the OU pass rush is going to have to be a factor in this game for the Sooners to win. So I'll go with David King, who while not the most dynamic of pass rushers, should be able to get a good and much needed push against this Tech offensive line.
Matt: It has to be Damien Williams on offense. It is proven that Landry Jones cannot take this offense and put it completely on his shoulders. Josh Heupel must balance the attack and that puts Williams at center stage. He's shown flashes through three games but now he needs to become the workhorse back that OU has missed the last two seasons.
Defensively, give me a linebacker. Could we please have a linebacker make some huge plays and dominate a game in the manner of Torrence Marshall, Teddy Lehman and Curtis Loftin did? No? Alright, give me Julian Wilson then. Safeties are going to be huge in this game for Oklahoma's defense in pass and run support.
Rich: On offense, I will stick to my guns with Trey Metoyer. Justin Brown as well as Kenny Stills have shown they can be big time receivers for Landry Jones. However, Metoyer and Jones have yet to end up on the same page. Communication will be key coming out of this bye week for Oklahoma and if it isn't there, I would rather bench him for Sterling Shepard.
On defense I am going to go with a position group in the defensive ends. David King can be productive and R.J. Washington has shown potential, they simply haven't been able to pressure the QB into bad decisions. I'm looking for them to step up their game and become a major factor against Texas Tech.
Big XII Power Rankings
Rich: Kansas State, West Virginia, Texas, TCU, Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma St., Texas Tech, Iowa St. Kansas
Jordan: West Virginia, Kansas State, Texas, OSU, TCU, Oklahoma, Baylor, Texas Tech, Iowa State, Kansas
Matt: West Virginia, Kansas State, Baylor, Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas Tech, Iowa State, Kansas