Happy Game Day! What’s good?
What is a streak? Two games or three games? I have been wresting with this all week. My gut says its gotta be at least three but if we are going literal definition I think two might count. Corny? Yes. But sadly the math is the math here so I guess it falls on if you want to be that awkward “well actually” friend in the group or not. That is some people’s jam.
Oklahoma has a major test coming to Norman this weekend. While Baylor is outside the top 25 and having a down year based off the expectation set from the season prior, we all know what to expect — Baylor’s best defensive performance. Dave Aranda, the cool cucumber himself, always seems to dial it just right against Oklahoma. Now, we can have a similar conversation we had last week with Iowa State — Is that historical success because of something Aranda saw against Lincoln Riley? Possibly. That seems, with a one-game sample size, to be the case with Iowa State. However, what happens if Aranda is Jeff Lebby’s biggest denial? A gamer.
For whatever reason when I stare down the pipe of my inner thoughts trying to decide why last week felt like a schematic test and this one feels like a character test... I don’t really have a good reason. I will try to explain it the best I can. While Iowa State is the best defense in this conference and Baylor has struggled, my sneaking suspicion is that Aranda is going to whip out something that puts Gabriel’s head in a blender during a drive. Then, once headed to the sideline, Aranda will adjust to the adjustment he knows is coming.
That has been the Aranda success for so long over the course of his career. Take a great team, force them to a simple adjustment that you can predict, and then punish their predictability.
So, what does Jeff Lebby do?
This is where I take my “hey Chisholm, thats a good question” talk show hat off and put on my dorky speech and debate 2011 state championship hat on and tell you I have no idea. But.... I have a guess.
OU needs to look at things that they can predict Aranda will make an attempt to remove from the game. Eric Gray and Marvin Mims seem to be the obvious answers to that question, so Jeff Lebby needs to prepare for that and his answer in response does not necessarily need to be his first reaction. Do something creative. They take away Eric Gray and the traditional running game? Run 4 snaps of Willis in the wildcat (this is just an example, not a literal suggestion, please don’t throw fruit at me). They remove Marvin Mims? Line him up in the backfield and have him matched up on linebackers. Hell, I don’t know, I am just spitballing. But my point remains that same. If your “counter” is obvious, Aranda will see that coming a mile away.
- Oklahoma has multiple paths to victory, but what are some keys you might ask? WELL BOY DOES JOHN HOOVER HAVE A SURPRISE FOR YOU.
- OU’s offensive line has been a great bright spot this season, at least as of late. The Sooners have improved their running game week over week despite the rotating door at left guard. Oklahoma heads into this one with their hands full along Baylor’s defensive line. Chapman here breaks down the match up.
- I honestly had forgotten about the field goal and the field storming last year that made Lincoln’s head almost explode. What a time. Bad blood and all, how does OU put that behind them tomorrow?
- Oklahoma now has a schedule that doesn’t look so daunting as it did coming off the Texas game. West Virginia and a Texas Tech team that seems to be really misevaluating their QB presents an opportunity for the Sooners to right the ship to the season. As Tramel points out here, this is a big moment for Oklahoma football.
- Matt Brady’s surprise resignation caught us all off guard this week for Oklahoma basketball, and there’s a tough, honest conversation that needs to be had about the timing of this. Eli Lederman talks us through another hurdle in the Porter Moser era.
- Billy Bowman’s return this past weekend was not shocking, but the amount of snaps was. Billy talks here about the defense and Eddie hints that Bowman might be the link between the Sooners and forcing turnovers.
- Lots of great nuggets here but it’s worth your time to read Bob’s breakdown on the redshirt questions Oklahoma finds themselves in.
- Jocelyn Alo coming back to OKC? It’s too good be true (but it is true). Twitter was set ablaze yesterday to see that the former Sooner is landing with the new start up franchise here in OKC — the Spark.
- Women getting started fast, Jennie B has them rolling early in the year. Oklahoma was one of the most fun teams to watch in college basketball last season with their approach. I expect a lot of the same this season.
- I thought my favorite player to watch on this Sooners team was going to be Key Lawerence. Admittedly, he is still second, but Hoover’s article this week highlights the guy who as taken center stage for me — Jalil Farooq.
- What happens when someone attacks you with a chainsaw? You fight them with a chainsaw? I have no idea, but Chapman taught me what happens when two great rushing attacks go head to head.
- Roy Williams to be honored at the game today. I didn’t come from a family that found fandom with really either local school. Don’t get it twisted though, we still watched college football. A few players stole my heart as a child. Vince Young. Justin Blackmon. Roy Williams, though, was someone that I couldn’t get enough of. I still stand that we should rename the cheetah the “Roy” as a tribute to Roy Williams.
Anything else going on?
- Kiper’s Sooner Draft Board has five names on it. I would’ve guessed four of them, one surprised me. Do any of these names slip through your mind?
- Pete Thamel of ESPN (that’s still weird) reported that the Big 12 and Gonzaga have met about the Bulldogs joining the Big 12. What an interesting idea. The SEC is the better option, no doubt, but the early returns on Brett Yormark seem a lot more encouraging than the previous leadership.
- Finally, some universal college football content we can all get behind.
Talk to you knuckleheads later today.