Folks, the Oklahoma Sooners are in rough shape. However, the do have a chance to rebound at home against a ranked opponent — none other than the No. 19… Kansas Jayhawks?
Here to tell us a bit more about the college football season’s best early success story is Rock Chalk Talk — SB Nation’s Kansas site.
1. Oklahoma fans are familiar with Jason Bean at QB, as he nearly pulled the upset a year ago. Schematically, should we except a similar offensive style compared to what we saw with him QB last year, or should we expect some new wrinkles from the offense?
Kansas’ coaches have gone out of their way to say Bean is good enough that they don’t have to change anything while he’s in for Daniels. To some extent, I think it’s true. The Jayhawks have run a lot of misdirection and option to open up running lanes and spring receivers open, and that’s probably an ideal offense for Bean. The issue is, Bean will have to throw the ball at some point, and his career competition rate and interception numbers will tell you that he’s just prone to missing some throws or turning it over from time to time.
2. At the skill positions, which player is most likely to make a big impact on Saturday?
I’ll go with Devin Neal. Kansas has several receivers who could come up with a big game here and there, but Neal has such a combination of speed and power, and since Bean is best used as a part of the ground game, I expect Kansas to run the ball, and Neal will get the most carries.
3. Defensively, it’s been a mixed bag, but the group has shown plenty of promise. When things have gone well, what has been the key to success?
The key to success is disrupting things up front. Edge rusher Lonnie Phelps has caused a lot of havoc in opposing backfields, and when the rest of the line gets in on it, the Kansas defense really clicks. If there’s not much push up front, the cornerbacks aren’t at a level where they’ll stick with receivers for any extra time. When KU isn’t getting that push, the defense can look downright awful, but fortunately they’ve shown flashes where they can get stops when things work up front.
4. Who is your favorite Oklahoma Sooner of all time in any sport?
Tony Crocker. Loved those sleeves!
5. I hate to ask this because I’m sure the topic gets old, but do you believe KU will be able to keep Lance Leipold in Lawrence this offseason?
I think it ultimately depends on what situation Leipold wants. Kansas and its donors are *very* excited by the prospect of a competitive football team. Unless someone throws obscene money at him, which seems a bit unlikely, Kansas is going to match their offer to keep him. But if Leipold thinks the best career move is to move to a school with some more built-in advantages, he probably would take it, as would most people in that positon. If he’d rather keep building on what’s he’s got in Lawrence, rather than try to jumpstart a new struggling program, the Jayhawks will be happy to offer the money necessary to keep him (again, barring some unforseen Mel Tucker type contact offer).
6. How do you see this one playing out on Saturday, and what is your score prediction?
I don’t think there’s any doubt that Kansas has looked better recently than Oklahoma has (as weird as that is to say). Still, I know the level Kansas recruits at, and how it compares to Oklahoma’s level. Even if a lot of players jumped ship after Lincoln Riley’s departure, Oklahoma will simply have bigger, faster athletes on the field than Kansas will. I believe in this year’s Jayhawks, but it’s just too hard to picture a Kansas win in Norman with their 2nd string quarterback. I’ll say Oklahoma 42, Kansas 31.