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Oklahoma Sooners Football vs. Kent State Preview: Brent Venables provides a steadying presence

The Oklahoma Sooners take on thew winless Kent State Golden Flashes

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 03 Kent State at Washington

What’s good? How are we?

I am sure 1-0 as a Sooner fan feels good. Shout-out to the Oklahoma Sooners for just handling business like a responsible adult. Saturday last week almost felt like we had previously been living with our college best friend who never grew up, but then we decided to move in with our cousin who is engaged. From total chaos and fear that the kitchen sink is clogged to someone who has their act together and asks you if have any towels because they are going to run a load.

This game should be largely the same as what we saw last week, which was different than I anticipated. The Sooners were coming into the season with every reason to be emotional. Every reason to try to make a statement. Run up the score. Prove a point.

They didn’t do that. The emotional firecracker of a coach didn’t have a team that played like that at all. Did they play hard? Of course. Did they dominate? Of course. But they did it with grace, almost making it look easy. The game was about them from the start and — in BV’s own words — oozed game control. They weren’t there to prove how wrong everyone else was about them. They were there to handle UTEP, get reps for younger guys, and get away healthy.

It was a business trip.

I thought this team would be an emotional buzzsaw, trying to run up the score against every lesser opponent. Obviously I missed that evaluation, so that changes how I see this game. I think Oklahoma will win this game easily, but I don’t think this will again about impressing anyone with a box score. It’s going to be about game control and development of depth.

Storylines to watch

  • Kent State plays fast. They are the Aldi’s version of Oklahoma’s offense. AND BY THE WAY, nothing wrong with Aldi’s. I love saving a buck as much as the next guy. If we were going to be honest though, it does taste slightly different even if we don’t want to admit it. Okay, I digress. My point is this. The defense for OU has some reps against tempo. Sooner’s should be taking away their biggest advantage.
  • Do we see more rotation at running back? Now. I don’t mean, total touches. Lots of guys are going to get run in a blow out based off the way this coaching staff says they wish they would’ve done that in week one. I mean when it is early and it “matters”. Marcus Major looked the part against UTEP. Does he cut into Gray’s snaps/carries? I think he should. That is not to take anything from Gray, meant more of compliment to Major and an acknowledgement of his skill set.
  • Does the offensive line continue to play well and can the starting 5 lock in? We saw some rotation this past week up front but coaching staff has largely linked that up to gun smoke and heat, and no I am not joking about that first one. So, can the starting 5 play their portion of the game and play well. Break up a few semi size holes, keep DG’s jersey clean, and then pass the baton off to the backups? Also, I am sure Tyler Guyton would like to prove that he deserves to keep the spot and not give it back to Wanya Morris. BV said that its still Morris’s spot when he returns but... let’s see if that can change.
  • Oklahoma’ defensive line was so good against UTEP. Grimes was the guy with the box score stats and lighting up the crowd. This weekend maybe we see Jalen Redmond get more involved? Or the Oklahoma son of Ethan Downs? Maybe we see more blitzes? How it happens I don’t care. I just know that I want more pressure on the QB because that can really elevate this defense if they can do it consistently.
  • Does the Crazy Train intro stick? Who made this insane choice? Does anyone actually like it?

Know your opponent: Who is Kent State?

  • Kent State was a high flying offense a year ago. They aren’t that anymore. Oklahoma will be playing from ahead and allowed to rotate some depth pieces in for some Sam Presti ordained developmental time. However, Kent State does have one deep threat that Oklahoma needs to be aware of in Dante Cephas. He put up 105 yards against Washington so should be Woodi Washington’s problem most of the day.
  • 1 sack for Kent State last week, I don’t know if this will be much of a test for the big guys up front. Frankly, I think we might know less. Gabriel should have an easy clean pocket to play from. Oklahoma however will hope to have more success than Washington did on the ground. Washington only average 3.9 yards per carry. Major and Gray should have more success than that.
  • Kent State’s tempo could be an issue. Especially in defending the run game. The Golden Flash had the most success on offense in their run game so this will be a test for Stutsman and the linebacking core to make sure they have the holes plugged and ready for a quick snap. Again, OU has seen a lot of that in the spring and fall so they shouldn’t struggle there.
  • Finally, Schlee forced some passes into some tight windows allowing Washington to come up with two interceptions in week 1. I assume that Schlee will come in more careful this week but OU should still be ready to create a play or break on a football that might be available. Obviously OU forced a turnover late against UTEP but I would like to see some more success in the turnover department early, on the other side of this story Kent State forced 3 fumbles. So OU ball carriers need to be careful and secure the ball because they will be looking to punch it out.

Final thoughts

  • Oklahoma will win. Young guys will play. Brent won’t care about covering a spread. He will care more about creating depth and player development. I think game will be dominant but not gross. Which somehow I like more.


OU - 38

Kent State - 13