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OU/Texas A&M Q&A With ESPN’s Jake Trotter

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If you haven't had the opportunity to catch up with Jake Trotter recently then you absolutely must check out ESPN's SoonerNation. Trotter is a part of the great cast of writers that make up the site that covers everything from recruiting to post game wrap ups and then everything in between.

Stepping away a bit from out weekly Q&A with opponent bloggers we're bringing in Mr. Trotter to talk a little Sooner football and possible expectations for Saturday afternoon against the Aggies.  

CCM: Texas A&M had high hopes coming into this season after "winning a share of the Big XII South last season" along with 18 starters returning. Is this a must win situation for the Aggies considering the second half meltdowns thus far?

JT: It's probably a must win if the Aggies want to salvage their season. Remember, A&M was in a similar situation last year, but then beat OU and went on a tear to end the regular season. I'm sure they see this game as a similar opportunity.

CCM: Texas A&M has possibly the best rushing duo in the conference while ranking 16th nationally in total rushing offense with 5.25 yards per carry. However, Oklahoma ranks 34th in total rushing defense while giving up 3.29 yards per carry. Something has got to give. Which one cracks first?    

JT: I think A&M could have some success running the ball. Despite the three losses, the Aggies have run the ball on everyone this season, and OU's run defense has been up and down.

CCM: One area of concern for the Sooners has been the ability to score in the red zone. Oklahoma tried something new against Kansas St. and left no points on the field going 5-for-5 on touchdowns. Has Oklahoma found a remedy for their red zone woes in the use of Blake Bell in the bunch formation as well as the rotation to bigger receivers?

JT: The "Bell-Dozer" formation isn't the end all, be all answer to all of OU's red zone issues, but I like the way OU is thinking outside the box. The formation should help. I think what will help OU the most is to just embrace its strengths. The Sooners have tried to turn into a power running team near the goal line, which isn't the identity of the offensive line or the offense as a whole. With Dominique Whaley out, there's no reason for OU to not finesse defenses in the red zone with the pass. This offensive line, while average on the ground, is tremendous protecting Landry Jones. Let this offense do what it does best.

CCM: This is a two-part question: The running back position was one of great depth heading into the season. Now the Sooners are without their diamond in the rough and leading rusher, Dom Whaley as well as Jonathan Miller and Jermie Calhoun who transferred. Who gets a majority of the carries or will Oklahoma pass the ball quite a bit more?

JT: I think you'll see Roy Finch get 50 percent of the carries, and Brennan Clay and Brandon Williams and maybe fullback Trey Millard split the other 50 percent. I don't think this will be '09 where OU completely abandons the run. OU will still try to run the ball.

CCM: Landry Jones is coming off a school record setting Saturday while passing for 505 yards in a single game. What are the chances of him bettering that mark against the Aggies who boast the nation's worst passing defense knowing Whaley is out?

JT: Slim. That was a special day for Landry. I see him playing well this weekend, but asking him to throw for more than 500 again is asking a lot.

CCM: Will Jamell Fleming and Ben Habern be ready to go, or do we see Aaron Colvin getting the start at CB and Ben Habern working in at left guard?

JT: Both Fleming and Habern will play, and I've been told Colvin will be at safety, and Habern eventually will be at center. The big question is, how will the Sooners shuffle the offensive line. If Habern goes back to center, that likely places Gabe Ikard at left guard. But what happens to Adam Shead, who has been playing terrific the last three games? He could slide to right guard, but Tyler Evans has been playing at a high level, too. This is a good problem to have.