Who doesn't love a good, hacky blog post with sections instead of a flowing narrative that takes time and ability?
When Texas is on the field:
Oklahoma has defended Texas the same way for the last 3 years. It worked OK in 2006 & 2007, then fell apart last year. They play their basic 6 man front, nickel over the slot, two deep shell, and try to limit big plays from the passing game. This worked two years ago and we lost largely because we couldn't make those big plays (and that fumble). This worked less well last year and we won largely on the backs of big plays.
If you assume that Stoops will change once he's been burned, you'd probably be right. But this year has featured sterling defensive performers by various Rocky Mountain Monsters like Wyoming and Colorado doing much the same thing. Would you change it up after seeing those games?
OU does have the best DL in football before they wear themselves out every week, and if you are confident in ability of Tanner and Hall to move even an unabridged Bible, much less an All-American DT, then you're nuts. If we run the ball well then one of three things happened:
1. utter mutiny leads to Major and McWhorter designing a new offense in one week.
2. OU wore down (see: last year, Miami 2009, BYU 2009)
3. we call a more varied run game than we usually see.
Don't laugh at that last one, because it's actually been the pattern. The 2007 game was the best called of the year. It was the most varied run game I can recall seeing from Davis. We lost, but not because of playcalling. Last year was similar but not as multiple, but still a bigger improvement over the rest of the year.
(Why can't the run game always look like that? Where do those plays go? There isn't anything exotic in there that needs to stay hidden like a trap in a cave in an Indiana Jones movie.)
It's impossible to say how well we'll do, but I can say that the OU line won't make it easy at first. We aren't scoring in the first quarter unless it's off a turnover, special teams play, or we go 40+ yards in one play. They'll shut down our run game and our intermediate to deep passing games and leave us with one option. Luckily, it is our best option.
Expect to see more short passing than we have so far. This is a blessing and a curse. It's good because we suck at everything else and are balls to the wall awesome at the 3 step drop game. It's a curse because, as we've seen this year, it's tough to have 15 plays drives time after time. There is punting and defense involved.
The thing is that OU will almost certainly double team Jordan Shipley, or at least roll coverages to his side. Can we score without him? We haven't so far. OU's safeties do suck, so there is hope of a big play still, but CU's were worse and we couldn't even get to those guys. Either we bust out some misdirection or are perfect short, because we have to do something to open that defense up. We've had tons of success hurting them in the seams over the course of the modern series, but their pass rush may put an end to that.
Needless to say, I am not feeling confident. I expect Stoops to double team Shipley, and play a more aggressive man under two deep type defense to get more pressure on the other WRs. Everybody else is fine when you let them maneuver, but if you make them beat coverages and make plays, things kind of fall apart.
If we're smart, we'll put Buckner, Williams, and Shipley all to one side and use the bigger bodies to run deep and protect Shipley. Malcolm Williams, who is in the process of getting David Aaron'd, can still make a play over a safety or nickel corner. Buckner can exploit those seams, and Shipley can do Shipley things in between them. We run a lot of trips against OU because it opens those seams, and I have a feeling that we'll see it yet again. In fact, Buckner may end up being MVP for getting over LBs.
When OU is on the field:
Stopping OU is all about throwing a cog in the machine. They are a meticulously drilled team, but you can't drill improvisation so if you can stop their first option, you'll usually win. Chris Brown can break arm tackles, but neither RB is going to beat you on his own. None of their WRs are good. If we play sound defense and don't make any big mistakes, I don't see how they can outscore us. Bradford is worth a TD or two on long drives, and maybe Murray runs around an uncalled hold on a tackle for 30 yards, but is there anything over there that scares you?
They ran for 43 yards last year and will probably hit around that mark again, minus a long outlier or two. Chykie Brown and Blake Gideon are always good for a big play or two, so I don't expect a shut out, but I don't see where the points come from. Our pass rush isn't as good as last year's but it's still good, and we might be the best blitzing team in the country.
I see a lot of blitzes with a man in center field (Gideon) coming this weekend. One because we don't want Gideon covering anybody one on one, and two because we can cover them without a real big fear of getting burned, I think. Bradford is the only guy you need to defend and I wholly support making him prove he can handle the blitz with his shoulder.
OU is crafty, though, and won't make things easy. You'll probably see more rollouts from them than usual, and a lot of screens. We defend both very well but it'll mean we can't sell out for the sack. You'll see them attack Gideon, which is why I want to see him deep, and they'll make our DTs prove they can handle a pounding run game. OU run game is very similar to CU's, with a bigger line and a worse running back. Stewart carried his team, literally, to maybe 30 yards more than it would've had otherwise, but 30 yards won't beat us.
I don't know. OU returns punts very well, but our rugby punting has made that a non issue. DJ Monroe and Shipley are good for some field position at least. I suck at breaking these down but I wouldn't be surprised to see the game decided here, since neither offense shows much potential. Don't think I'm not placing massive importance on it.
Neither team should score 20 points which means both teams will score over 30, because college football never works out the way you think (UTEP over Houston!? What?). I can say with some confidence that OU won't score over 20, and I can say with some confidence that we at least have that ability, so I am taking Texas is a close one. It'll probably look like the Tech game where we aren't really in danger of losing, but one big mistake could do us in in the second half. I see it coming down to mistakes. Whoever can play their game without doing anything stupid will win. This seems like a good place to point out that the Texas offense or special teams has given up points in all 5 games so far. Sleep tight!