Ah, game day us upon us once again. The Sooners will mix it up with Kansas this afternoon and we've reached out to our friends over at Rock Chalk Talk to give us the skinny on the Jayhawks. Big thanks goes out to misterbrain for taking the time to answer our questions.
Sooners vs Jayhawks coverage.
CCM: David Beaty took over with the cupboard pretty bare, in terms of across the board talent, so surely there's not much being counted against him this season, right?
RCT: It's pretty much impossible for him to do any wrong right now. In the first game against FCS opponent South Dakota State, he had less scholarship players (64) than his opponent, who are allowed 20 less by NCAA rules. When you start that far behind everyone else just on numbers, it's hard to blame him when his teams run out of gas for lack of depth. When you add in that most of last year's production was lost to graduation or discipline issues, there was no expectation of success coming in. We've seen some progress from week to week, and that is really the only thing that can be expected with this team.
CCM: That's not to say there isn't any talent at all in Lawrence (I'm a fan of De'Andre Mann). Can you run down some of the names on either side of the ball that OU fans need to be aware of?
RCT: Mann is definitely one of those that should be looked out for. I'd add to the list Ryan Willis (who we'll talk about more in a minute) and Ke'aun Kinner, the JUCO transfer that was a big steal for the Jayhawks. Kinner has had his production drop off as the offense has started to balance out and teams have focused on stopping him.Given the performance of our defense, it's tough to pick out someone who is actually worth keeping an eye on, but if I had to pick someone, I'd go with Ben Goodman, the senior who appears to be the leader of the defense.
CCM: We all know what Samaje did last season against Kansas but this season Oklahoma actually has a competent passing game. Which aspect to the Jayhawks try to take away from the Sooners on Saturday?
RCT: I think they'll try to take away both, but I'm not counting on them being very effective. Everyone on this team knows of the embarrassment that they suffered last year in Norman, and I imagine that this defense is going to be keyed in early on making sure that Perine doesn't repeat his performance. But overall, I'm sure the coaches are preparing for the full offensive attack of the Sooners, and the passing game seems to be what they need to focus on the most.
CCM: Talk about the quarterback situation, the injuries, the emergence of Ryan Willis, and the future of the position.
RCT: The quarterback position has been an absolute whirlwind since last year, when Michael Cummings took over after Bowen became the interim head coach. He performed well enough to be the presumptive starter going into spring football, but was injured and lost for the season. Montell Cozart took over for the beginning of the season, but his issues seemed to re-emerge this year. The offensive line hasn't helped any, but Cozart hasn't seemed to be able to handle the pressure. What's fortunate is that when he went down with injury, the other QBs on the roster were also a bit roughed up, as Willis probably would not have gotten a serious chance otherwise. He has given us real hope for the future, once we can get the offensive line ironed out.
CCM: What's worse on Homecoming, it's Halloween or Oklahoma is the opponent?
RCT: Honestly, the only opponent that might be good to see on Homecoming would be Iowa State, but even this year I don't think it would have mattered. But having the game be on Halloween is actually pretty perfect for this team, since the result should really be a horror show of epic proportions. I'm expecting the Jayhawks to not be able to get anything going at all the entire game, and Oklahoma should be able to move up and down the field at will. At the very least, maybe we'll see some interesting Halloween-themed Homecoming parade floats.
You can read the other side of the Q&A, with my answers to their questions right here.