Thing 1 - Sam Bradford doesn't make reads after the ball is snapped. He knows where he's going when everyone is lined up, and at the most, makes an easy, quick decision between two guys. This is not an indictment against him, since he's a freshman, or the coaching staff, which is handling a freshman. It's not really an indictment on anybody, which would mark the first time in about 100 years OU escaped something without an indictment.
I will now pause for a minute while the laughter dies down. I'm waiting on the download for the premiere episode of 30 Rock. I have time.
OK. It's a simple offense, probably the same junk they ran last year (option one - run, option two - throw an out, option three - go deep, repeat), and it's unfortunate that CU popped it's cherry. We need to move, we need to disguise, we need to make Nate Hybl . . . er, Sam Bradford actually make a decision with the ball in his hands. Can he do it? Maybe. Nobody knows. I'm guessing not, since it's not something they practice. Last year's offense was light on reads, too, and we killed it. Granted, our secondary was talented then, but I'm talking scheme here. It works against Tulsa and Boise St (ha!), but not against any team with a real defense. We have a real defense, sort of. It'll be a big test to see if we can force OU out of it's mass production line, repetitive simplicity. And if Hybl taught us anything, it's that a QB can deliver the ball when there is never a question as to where it's going. But making decisions is hard.
Thing 2 - Get this, according to Sam Bradford, nobody bothered to double team Malcolm Kelly this season before the Colorado game. I guess opposing coordinators needed all the man power they could muster on stopping Adrian Peterson. Now, the cover 2 isn't technically a double team, but it does put two guys in the way of a deep ball, and one guy sitting on any short routes. We don't do this anymore. Not since 2005's wildly successful pass defense was deemed unfair to other neat kids by Mack Brown. Wouldn't want to shatter their fragile world views.
Anyway, the coverage we employ will give no small amount of one on one shots to OU, so we need to play really well at corner. We'll cover up a lot of the deep stuff, it's the 1-12 yards stuff that we'll give up. The stuff that doesn't rely on a read. The stuff OU practices all day. Yes, I'm openly panicking. Can we go back to cover 2 for a game? It seems to work.
Thing C - Their OL is the product of a system. I know it seems weird to say that about the most blue collar of all the positions, but it's true. They are good athletes who are (usually) put in very good positions to succeed. here is a tiny, space saving example of what they do:
If it wasn't freaking OU, it would almost be refreshing to see. OL blocking at angles. OL between the defender and the runner. OL making easy kickout blocks. They down block and pull with the best of them. Thing is, just like us, they over-rely on it and you can beat it if you're ready. If you know you're going to get down blocked, and if the end is ready for the kick out, you can beat it. OU made its living last year, and I presume this year, running on teams set up against the pass leaving only six in the box:
And passing on teams worried about Adrian Peterson:
Since OU runs when they have the numbers for it, their OL come across looking mighty good. They do a good job, don't get me wrong, but they aren't asking a guy to reach a defender with a three yard head start like we do. Colorado beat OU's run game with six men (seven men in a normal formation, but I drew OU in the shotgun where it only takes six. But it's the same principal), leaving the safties in cover 2 and shutting down any outside threat. So we need to either A) stop OU's run game with seven men, or B) cover OU's receivers one on one. Neither of those things seems likely. Our best bet is probably out-scheming the run game and fooling Bradford with a bunch of looks, like when Bugs Bunny dressed up as a girl. Our personnel doesn't match up all that well with them.
Thing 4 - Allen Patrick sucks. He runs fast to the point of attack. That's it. If there is a hole, great, eight yards, if not, he's going down. He can't make people miss unless he's in the wide open field, he doesn't break tackles, and he isn't much of a receiver. And you know what? Adrian Peterson was the same way. But he has Secretariat's genes, so he gets away with it. Patrick is just a sprinter. If we play smart, keep our gap control, and stay in front of him, he won't get shit. Of course, our linebackers are slow, directionally challenged munchkins, so it's a 50/50 bet on any given play, really, even if the backups are in. The backup crew are faster and better, but disciplined gap control isn't exactly their cup of tea, either. I think they'll all get pushed around, frankly, and we'll see a lot of tackling (or not) by the safeties.
Thing 5 - Outside of DeMarcus Granger, the OU defensive line sucks. Granger will eat Dallas Griffin and Charlie Tanner alive. It's going to be ugly, so prepare yourselves. But the rest of them are their equivalent of the Texas LBs. Slow, weak, totally ineffective. Plus, they lost their second best guy for the year. The OU LBs are fast and active in run support, and they make up for a lot there, but if Granger isn't getting any push in the pass rush, none of the rest of the DL is either. We can double him and take the rest one on one pretty easily. OU will have to blitz, which bodes well for us because we only need to break one tackle on our three yard route instead of four on a normal play to get a first down. Speaking of those LBs, we need to run at them and not side to side, they are fast and hungry. I don't think we can do it. Our best post-Vince play against them has traditionally been the counter because it hits up the gut or off-tackle, and if it goes outside, it has two linemen leading the way.
That's all I know.