Can the Sooners continue their run of dominance post Texas? It's seemed like Bedlam was months ago, and now the Sooners have everything in front of them. They are in a 4 team tournament. Here are 3 things the Sooners defense must do in order to have success Thursday evening against Clemson.
Contain Deshaun Watson
I don't believe the Sooners will be able to complete shutdown Watson, as he is a superior quarterback capable of making all the throws. The key I believe will be for the Sooners to not allow Watson to extend plays and drives with his feet. Watson averages over 12 carries a game and nearly 70 yards. Those aren't huge numbers, but they are yards which extend drives, convert 3rd downs, and bail out mistakes by their Clemson offensive line and skill position players. The Sooners MUST contain Watson in the pocket and not allow him to beat the Sooners with his legs.
Stop Wayne Gallman
Gallman is kinda the unsung hero of this team, as he has amassed 1332 yards on the ground this season (102.4 yards a game). He will surely be a focal point of the Clemson offense. Stopping him will force Clemson to be one dimensional and make things much easier on the Sooners defense.
Minimize the Big Play
Clemson's wide receivers and running backs have combined for 8 touchdowns of over 30 yards or more on the season. They have talent to beat a team and score quickly. The Sooners defense must be able to communicate, align correctly, tackle in space, and minimize the big plays.