Erich Schlegel - Getty Images
Gap blocking and blitzing caught Texas Tech off guard and contributed to Oklahoma's 41-20 win.
Oklahoma's win in Lubbock on Saturday came at the expense of a surprised Texas Tech team. The Red Raiders were extremely confident going into the game (and rightfully so) but when it comes to preparedness, it may be a different story. By his own admission, the Sooners were faster and quicker than Tech head coach, Tommy Tuberville, thought they would be.
"They were fresh. They were quick. They were fast. A lot quicker than I thought they would be. They made plays, and we just dug ourselves a hole we couldn't get out of. So we'll go back to the drawing board and get ready for next week."
"Again, the speed that they showed from top to bottom, their defensive line and receivers and linebackers were just -- it just overwhelmed us." - Tommy Tuberville
The Sooners used their speed to blitz, run, block, pass and catch. They basically beat Tech in every aspect of the game by forcing the Red Raiders to constantly make adjustments just to keep up. One of the things that OU did was to change their blocking assignments which resulted in Landry Jones having his best outing of the season. When asked about not being able to get to Jones, this was Tuberville's response.
"They kind of gap blocked. We've been getting a lot of pass-rush from our two inside guys. They weren't going to let that happen today. They gap blocked everybody inside. Kept backs in the block. He had very little, very little pressure when it wasn't in tough situations there in the second and third quarter."
Tuberville wasn't the only one to mention Oklahoma's blocking. Senior safety DJ Johnson said that he tried to get to Jones but just couldn't make it through to him.
"They knew what to expect. They had two weeks to prepare against us. They anticipated it. They gap blocked. There were a couple of times that I went down in there, and usually someone will come free. But I was getting blocked, everybody was getting blocked, and he was releasing the ball fast. The thing was we weren't able to take away his initial read."
The success of Oklahoma's game plan equated to the failure of Texas Tech's. Where the Red Raiders were surprised at the flow of the game, the Sooners weren't shocked at all by it. Especially when it came to the play of quarterback Landry Jones. Bob Stoops said the offensive success was a combination of Jones' ability, solid play-calling and a good surrounding cast.
"Again, I'm not surprised by it. Landry is an excellent quarterback, and I thought we just overall had a good rhythm."
"I thought early in particularly in the first half and early third quarter, we ran the football that set up some play-action passes for them, and the line protected him. That's another factor."
Landry Jones wen't on to agree with Coach Stoops on the play-calling and support from his teammates.
"Yeah, I think the play calling was great today. Coach Heupel did a lot of good things that kept us in a rhythm. I think it was really just us going out there and executing the way we know we can, and not forcing balls down the field and playing good in the run game, being physical. So it's just today was just us putting it together, and us playing as a good offense."
Defensively, Oklahoma did some things differently than what we've seen from them through the first three games of the season. Most notably, they used the blitz to get pressure on Tech quarterback Seth Doege. Bob Stoops went on to say that the pressure, from the blitz, was a major factor in the game.
Well, it made a difference. It made them uncomfortable. It made him move his feet. Even when he escaped it a few times, it's hard to throw the football. Had he some inaccurate throws when we did pressure him. So, you know, again, I'm sure it was effective overall. Then what happens when you don't blitz and you fall out and play good coverage. It still makes them squeeze the ball a little more. They're wondering is it coming or not? Then they're just not quite as sure of themselves.