The Sooners face the Tulsa Golden Hurricane under the lights tomorrow night at Chapman Stadium in Tulsa. To save time I won't get into my official protest of a Friday night college football game rather I would like to introduce John Hoover of the Tulsa World who step's in this week as our resident expert on Oklahoma's opponent.
John was kind enough to spend a few minutes answering our questions about Tulsa and how they match-up against the Sooners. Thanks for your time, John, and welcome aboard the Machine.
CC Machine: After Friday night who can we say has been Oklahoma's toughest opponent so far this season, Miami or Tulsa?
John Hoover: Miami's defense combined with Tulsa's offense might make the Top 25.The way Oklahoma took apart the Hurricanes in the second half was as impressive as anything they've done so far. But Tulsa is a more potent opponent because they can pressure just about any defense thanks to Paul Smith being so savvy and tough and Gus Malzahn's scheme being so creative.
CC Machine: I really like Paul Smith! He has a good arm and shows great leadership. How do you think he and the TU receivers will look to find success against OU's secondary?
John Hoover: They'll poke away short at first, looking to get an easy big gainer off missed tackles. If that works, they'll eventually try to strike deep, and Smith is remarkably accurate with the deep ball. If the short stuff doesn't work, they can always go deeper later on. I don't think TU can go toe-to-toe with the Sooners, so they'll have to have some quick strikes.
CC Machine: On paper the match-up between OU's offense and TU's defense looks very advantageous for the Sooners. Are the stats a little misleading or are the Golden Hurricanes in trouble against OU's offensive attack?
John Hoover: Nothing misleading about the stats. Oklahoma's offense has its foot to the floorboard, while we're scratching our heads over why Tulsa's defense isn't playing better. When the Sooners have the ball, they should be able to overpower Tulsa's front six (look for a lot of that three-tight end formation) in the running game. Tulsa's best chance is to commit two safeties to the run at all times and hope Sam Bradford gets careless.
CC Machine: When I think Tulsa football Paul Smith is the first name that comes to mind. Tell us a few other players that Sooner fans need to be familiar with before Friday night.
John Hoover: No doubt OU fans wish their old pal Courtney Tennial was playing, but he's out for the year with a torn Achilles' tendon. That's too bad for everyone. Freshman fullback Charles Clay had three catches for 98 yards and three TDs against BYU. Freshman wideout Trae Johnson caught TDs of 41 and 17 yards against UL-Monroe. When he's healthy, junior Tarrion Adams is about as good a running back as OU has seen in non-conference play. Senior LB Nelson Coleman, who ranks 10th in school history in career tackles, is very active and creates bad mojo for offenses.
CC Machine: When it comes to playing this game in Tulsa which team benefits the most, OU in recruiting the area or TU having the opportunity to play a top five program at home?
John Hoover: OU doesn't need to play in Tulsa to recruit in Tulsa. No doubt Tulsa benefits from this game far more than OU does. It's a guaranteed sellout, boosts the home attendance average, brings national TV to Chapman Stadium and increases visibility for the entire Conference USA.
CC Machine: Care to give us a score prediction?
John Hoover: Sam Bradford appears too cool to get rattled in his first road game, which I'm thinking will have more OU fans than Tulsa fans. Even if he does falter, the Tulsa defense won't be able to hang with OU's receiving corps all night. Also, OU's offensive line is abusing people in the running game. Oklahoma's defense will shut down the run and make Tulsa's offense one-dimensional, and that's probably Smith and Co. Smith is better than he was when he played OU in 2005, but he doesn't have a Garrett Mills to throw to. If Smith gets pressured like he did in that game -- and this OU defense is far better than that one -- it could get ugly. -- Oklahoma 48, Tulsa 21