After attending one of the worst offensive performances since 2005 that we have witnessed in Norman by our beloved Sooners, I went back to lab to determine what has caused our extremely uneven play over the last 3 games. (If you think 3 games isn’t a lot then remember 25% of our schedule has already been played). We need to accept that certain drastic things won’t happen such as the firing of coordinators or changing of quarterbacks. Knowing these things we have to begin to look at solutions that realistic. The solution has presented itself and it’s clear to me based on the offensive performance thus far the answer is ……….TEMPO.
The truth is the personnel and the plays will stay the same. As much as I would like to see a potential change in offensive philosophy that would resemble what we saw pre-Sam Bradford that will not occur. We are at least for this season married to the spread passing attack. Due to this, we need to realized that we must stop will the slo-huddle (where we get lined up and take long looks to the sideline for the call) and go back to the ultra-fast no huddle offense of 2008. When we have executed that strategy this season the offense has not been slowed down by any of our opponents. The 3 major reasons for the success includes: 1) Landry Jones is more comfortable in the ultra-fast no huddle offense, 2) the mental and physical fatigue that this type of offense places on a defense and 3) the more opportunities that offense has will equate into more points that the offense will score.
1) Landry Jones is more comfortable in the ultra-fast no huddle offense. The facts are Landry Jones doesn't perform well under pressure and when he has to think about his reads. When we are in the ultra-fast no huddle he seems to be sure about where the ball is going and confident in his throws and reads. We all agree that he is not a leader or pressure play maker. He is a player that must play with confidence and his confidence tends to waver from game to game. The quick reads and throws that come with the ultra-fast no huddle breeds the type of confidence that Landry Jones needs to be effective. Whether we like it or not he is the most important person in our offense and he has to be comfortable in the offense we run.
2) The mental and physical fatigue that this type of offense places on a defense. Without question, this type of offense creates many problems for a defense which include physical fatigue, mental fatigue, match-up problems and alignment issues. As the game wears on the defense will be more fatigued from having to chase offensive players all over the field. Defenses tend to have fewer capable players then offenses so as the game wears on physical fatigue will set in. When physical fatigue becomes a problem then mental fatigue will set in as well. As soon as a player bust an assignment or aligns wrong as we witnessed last year against Baylor big plays and touchdowns take place. With as much versatility that exists with our personnel we can begin to dictate who the defense can play against us. This will also allow us to use many of the players that the fans are clamouring for such Trey Millard, Roy Finch and Damien Williams. These players without a doubt would create major match-up problems because a defense would have to guess if we are running or passing, empty or diamond. Lastly, alignment is always an issue when tempo is increased. Bad alignment equals big plays. Because defensive coordinators recognize alignment is a problem, they tend to simplify their schemes to reduce the number of busted assignments. This only plays into the hands of the offense as they will see more base defense and will be able to attack that more efficiently. The advantages swing into the offense’s favor with the increase in tempo.
3) The more opportunities that offense has will equate into more points that the offense will score. This really speaks for itself. The truth is our offense is not imperfect but due to this we need as many chances as we can to score as many points as possible. This will not only benefit the young guys on our offense but provide the defense with more chances to make big plays because other teams will have to take more chances on offense. Although recruiting, or lack there of has been questioned recently in regard to our talent level, I believe that our second string is better than 8 or 9 other teams in the Big 12.
The bottom line is we have to get back to running more plays a game. With the team that we have we need to run over a 100 plays a game. Many may believe that we need to build more of a SEC-esque type team but that is not what we have defensively. If we try to play in that manner we’ll see more of what we saw against Kansas State. Our current defensive philosophy lends itself to be better suit then our previous defensive regime in partnering with a fast pace offense. Last year we took a lot of chances on defense and opened ourselves up to big plays allowing teams to stay in games whereas this year we play as more discipline form of defense and if we are able to get a substantial lead this defense will begin to force turnovers as teams will be forced to take more chances. Lastly if we asked Sooner Nation, I believe that we would rather put the onus on our defense to protect leads (Mike Stoops) than ask our offense to win a game late (Josh Heupel and Landry Jones).