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Establishing the run

Bob Stoops presents a different challenge to offensive staffs (staves?) preparing to play him. Most teams will try to establish something on offense to open up other, more productive avenues for themselves later in the game.

OU, however, charts your tendencies and builds their entire gameplan around it before you take even one snap against them. Much like our games earlier in the decade when teams would come out of the gate with 8 and 9 man fronts, our work in establishing the run is already done. Stoops has always relied on "guessing" your playcall and making prediction-based defensive calls more than reactive ones. He wants to get in your head and attack you on every play.

This is why, as Scipio put it:

Much of OU’s defensive effectiveness in this rivalry is predicated on OU’s defensive coaches being able to isolate tendency and give their guys a reasonable hunch where the ball is headed based on a tell. That’s how you end up with nine OU defenders running to a gap before the ball has reached the RB’s hands and them famously calling out our plays before the snap. And why they can be pantsed if you show that tendency and do something completely different.

Playing OU is less about watching their tape and more about watching your own. You have to be aware of what you're doing, because you can be damn sure they will be.

We need to run our nameless counter to the zone read 6-7 times. We've run it so little that Stoops will never call anything to stop it -- percentage-wise it wouldn't make sense. This also means that we need to ditch the zone entirely (something we practically did last year, going heavy on the draw).

We are effectively a pass first team now, if not in philosophy then in application. We can't trust ourselves to run for 4 yards on a 3rd and 3 or 4, and I'm guessing Stoops will show us the same thing he did last year and give us a steady diet of 2-deep, 6 man front nickel looks.

This means we can't abandon the run entirely, but it also means we can't be every-other-game Texas, because they are trusting their guys to recognize and destroy our plays even in an undermanned front, much like A&M did in 2006. This is why the draw worked last year, and will probably work again. This is why that goofy veer play will work, why the QB draw will work, why pulling guards on a quick screen will work.

This week won't be about making them respect our bread and butter, they already do that. It will be about hurting them where they don't see it coming then taking advantage of their less adaptive players in the open field.

If we come out of the gate with 2 zone runs out of our first 3 rushing plays, we are going to open with a punt and confidence will be low. We pass more early now than we used to so I'm expecting to see that again, but when we do run we need to start with the "exotic" stuff to take momentum early, and give OU LBs the "uh oh" face. Anytime you take yourself out of their wheelhouse, good things happen.

We need to be Katie Couric and ask OU what magazines they read, then laugh our way to victory.