As we've tried to do with every game this season we've reached out to a person who covers Oklahoma's opponent to have a brief chat about the game. This week's feature is one of SBN's newer blogs but none the less provides quality content on Cincinnati Bearcats athletics. Matt Opper from Down The Drive jumps on board with us to talk up Sooners and Bearcats.CC Machine: The offensive line has given up 15 sacks in three games. Is this a matter of them being inexperienced, not good or Zach Collaros holding the ball too long?
MO: It isn't really experience, between Jason Kelce, Alex Hoffman and Sam Griffin they have close to 60 starts under their belts, and CJ Cobb and Randy Martinez have played quite a bit over the years, but rarely in starting roles. From my perspective the biggest issue is that the staff is playing people out of position. CJ Cobb is the starting right tackle, but he doesn't have the foot speed or lateral quickness to match up with the moderately athletic ends he has faced, and he is lost in space against anyone quicker than that. Cobb can be a productive player at guard, not at tackle. But the staff has been unwilling to sit him down and give someone else a shot at the job because the options are a Sophomore, Sean Hooey and a Freshman in Andre Crueton.
CC Machine: How healthy is Isaiah Pead now and what do you expect to see from him Saturday night.
MO: Pead's health is really up in the air. He was announced as being good to go by the team doctors against NC State, but he barely played. He probably had 15 or 20 snaps in total. He will start, but it is very hard to guess at how effective he will be. With the ACL injury sustained by Vidal Hazelton against Fresno State, Pead is the most explosive athlete on the offensive roster so the team desperately needs some production from him, most likely in the passing game since the run blocking, well, blocking has been so suspect. I would hope for Pead to get at least 15 touches, with about 5 of them coming from the passing game.
CC Machine: What is the general mindset of Cincinnati fans going into this game?
MO: The Cincinnati fan base is really of two minds. The more dour, rational, and smaller faction give UC a small shot to get it done on Saturday. That group knows that this is a weird, weird game where crazy things happen every single weekend. There is no expectation of a win, or in truth, of a serviceable performance for these people, most of whom have started to accept what has happened and settle in for a long season. The other faction, by far the larger of the two has no expectation of a win, and they could probably do without a good performance because tanking again is all they need to start asking for Butch Jones's head on a spike.
CC Machine: Defensively, what are Cincinnati's strengths?
MO: The strength of the defense is the run defense up the middle. Derek Wolfe is a Sunday player and John Hughes is developing into a nice run stopper, Jordan Stepp has played well as a red shirt freshman as a rotation guy and Brandon Mills can also provide depth sliding in from end. The linebackers have been a pleasant surprise to this point, Malik Bomar, JK Schaffer and Walter Stewart are all athletic guys who play well in space and have forged a pretty good run defense to this point.
CC Machine: What are you most confident about heading into this game?
MO: To be frank, not much. I feel moderately confident that Butch Jones will get booed at some point during the game. But my confidence interval with this team is very low right now.
Did anyone else cringe when they read the name Bomar?