I'm positive CC will have a more in-depth preview throughout the week, so I just wanted to quickly do a little mini preview of our match up with the Seminoles this week. I think we've all noticed the additional company we've had here so far this week and I for one am excited about it. I've spent a good deal of time over on fellow SB Nation site Tomahawk Nation and would encourage everyone else to do the same. So for all of our visitors, hopefully I'm not to far off base in this little preview here. However, if that is the case feel free to call me out in the comments.
I think this one warrants starting with, DON'T PUNT IT TO GREG REID ON SATURDAY!!! Does that about sum it up Noles fans? Samford made every effort to kick away from him last Saturday and made the costly mistake of not punting one out of bounds and paid dearly for it. With Ryan Broyles back there for OU, we're well aware how big a punt return TD can be and how much it can swing momentum. Tress Way will be key to this game and I'd rather see a 30 yard shank out of bounds rather than giving Reid any kind of chance to bust one.
FSU returns an incredibly talented o-line that is not afraid to line up and run it right at you. The Noles will likely use plenty of I-formation sets to try and exploit the advantage they have with their interior OL going up against our inexperienced (outside of a still recovering Adrian Taylor) DT rotation.
If FSU is successful running the ball as mentioned above, this could present a significant problem for the OU defense. QB Christian Ponder is quite adept at executing the play fake and given the youth we have at both LB and DB, if they are caught looking into the backfield Ponder could burn them on play action.
As our visitors have also been VERY quick to point out, Ponder isn't exactly a statue back there. He is more than capable of stepping up in the pocket, rolling out, or scrambling around to extend a play and we saw on Saturday just how destructive that can be to our defense. OU has always (at least in Stoops' tenure) had trouble with mobile QBs, so it will be important to get pressure on Ponder without overrunning the play and losing containment (this happened way too much against USU).
The upside to FSU and their running game is that OU fans will very likely see a lot more of Ronnell Lewis than they did against Utah State. The Hammer was limited almost exclusively to DE against USU due to their spread offense, so he will play a much larger role in the defensive game plan this coming Saturday.
The OU offense will be facing a much faster defense on Saturday, so it will be critical for a player like Demarco Murray to get north-south and avoid trying to bounce stuff outside. You cannot dance around against this defense and expect to be successful. This is a positive for OU because Murray really isn't that kind of a back and typically is a one cut and go RB. FSU brings a fairly inexperienced defensive line to Norman, so if OU is able to get a good push off the ball and run successfully, it would take a lot of the pressure off of Landry which after this past Saturday could be huge. I firmly believe OU will have to run the ball successfully to win this game. We do not want to get into a shootout with the Noles, so running the ball and controlling the clock will be key.
Those of us familiar with Bob Stoops' defensive philosophy will not be shocked to learn new FSU defensive coordinator Mark Stoops also prefers to play a zone defense. This could give the OU WRs more room to work and could (please dear Lord!) potentially lead to more than just Ryan Broyles being involved in the passing game. I would expect to see more of the hurry up (or hurry up, then wait, then look to the sideline) offense to give the FSU secondary less time to recover, hopefully exploit some mismatches, and wear the defense down.
Rest assured, we'll have plenty more for you in the coming days so consider this just a little something to wet your appetite.