The Sunday Inspection: Texas

Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) makes an upside-down horns after his team scored a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Texas in Dallas Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) makes an upside-down horns after his team scored a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Texas in Dallas Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

 

The Sooners brought the Golden Hat back into the state of Oklahoma. Something that this fan base takes an insurmountable amount of pride in. They also move to 2-0 on the season in two of the five toughest conference games in Big 12 play. So much to correct, so much to break down, but Oklahoma came out with a win against their rivals that wear burnt orange in an ugly game.

COACHING

For three quarters, the game plan was executed at a high level. Players were in position and made plays when they had to. Yes, on a couple occasions, great offense and scheme beat good defense.

For the fourth quarter, I could not scratch my head more, however.

  • Ah, Lincoln Riley is back in a rhythm (thank you, Big 12 defenses), and the offense is in full swing. Riley stuck to the run game and called excellent third down plays in the 2nd half. The lack of ball security hindered Oklahoma from possibly gaining 800-900 total yards of offense, and 60+ points.
  • That last offensive play call will be in my head for the rest of this season, though. Riley called naked bootleg instead of handing the ball off to Samaje Perine? Just something that scratches your head despite the big day.
  • Defense was excellent up until the 2nd half. Buechele hit a couple long balls (credit to him), and D’Onta Foreman began to run the football with more vengeance. All in all, for three quarters, Mike Stoops’ had himself quite the game plan and called up some nice run and pass blitzes
  • For the 4th quarter, it appears that Texas was going with strictly 10 personnel groupings on offense. This put Oklahoma into nickel package. The two things that changed? Man coverage, and the even front. Oklahoma was playing a base 4-2 even front for most of the game while in Nickel. This happened due to Oklahoma putting trust into Jordan Thomas and Jordan Parker. In the 4th quarter, however, Oklahoma was playing with three down lineman, and three linebackers playing inside the offensive tackle box, or playing Obo to the boundary, instead of the field. Mike Stoops also went into a soft zone coverage, and Texas put on a track meet. Credit the Longhorns. They took advantage of some bad positioning. But the fourth quarter defense makes you question some things.
  • To special teams. On kickoff return, did anyone notice Joe Mixon getting hit quite a bit on the 15 yard line or so? This was due to some poor kickoff coverage. Texas forced Oklahoma to their sideline, and crashed four to five defenders. Oklahoma would only have four guys to block in those situations, and left a somewhat open man down the field. Huge concern to me going forward.
  • At what point do you look at Austin Seibert having his job reduced? He is becoming a “college kicker”, which is not good if you were wondering.

OFFENSE

It was just another day at the office for the Sooners offense. A great mixture of shooting themselves in the foot, and then running on that foot for a couple (well, like five) hours.

  • Baker Mayfield was not flawless by any means, but he is slowly turning into the Baker Mayfield of 2015 (once again, you can thank Big 12 defenses). His ability to extend plays and see the field was crucial in the 3rd and 4th quarters. Another solid outing by QB1.
  • Joe Mixon struggled for the first time in 2016. Missed a couple holes, lost footing, and fumbled once. Not to mention his special teams miscues. Everyone has bad days, but 3.0 yards per carry, two fumbles (lost one), and bad execution on special teams is a quick way to lose some (maybe minimal) playing time.
  • Dede Westbrook. Do you need me to even go in detail here? His route running is becoming proficient. His “it” factor is starting to show. Westbrook is electric, and it is coming at the right time.
  • The offensive line, especially Erick Wren, had a wonderful day. From beginning to end, I have no complaints.
  • The man running behind that offensive line had an okay day. Samaje Perine had one of the better days a running back has had in this game. His vision and explosiveness is starting to come back, and just like Westbrook, it is coming at the right time.
  • Welcome Dahu Green to the show. I also thought A.D. Miller and Geno Lewis flew under the radar with a handful of big catches for first downs.
  • It is sad how much Mark Andrews’ hands have regressed. Granted, some of those balls are not in a good position to get caught by the average receiver, but for a guy who lives over the middle of the field, those chances at competitive catches have to be made. His blocking has come around however, which will be big as the season goes on, but Oklahoma needs Andrews to get back to his automatic way.
  • Flowers had a huge day as an overall H-back. His game was part of the reason this offense had such a big day.
  • Ball security has become sort of an issue this year, and it costed Oklahoma at least three points in the first half. The Andrews drop turned interception and Mixon fumble are key plays that can not happen.

DEFENSE

Such a positive showing for three quarters. Players swarmed to the football, made plays when they had to, and kept their cool for the most part.

  • Jordan Thomas. Remember when Kamiar mentioned, “Big time players, make big time plays”? That is a phrase that has been used frequently throughout the Stoops’ era, and has been lost for a couple years. This is what Thomas did on Saturday. Yeah, he gave up two touchdowns. On one he did not get out of his pedal fast enough, and the other, he just got out positioned on a great ball by Shane Buechele. Thomas had a huge day. HUGE day.
  • Obo Okoronkwo, Emmanuel Beal, Neville Gallimore, and Austin Roberts were other standouts that I noted. Not huge impact players, but had solid days.
  • Welcome to the show, Will Sunderland. The Midwest City, Oklahoma product had his first interception, to go along with eight tackles. The future looks bright in the secondary with Chanse Sylvie (freshman), and Jordan Parker (freshman) joining Sunderland as guys who played meaningful snaps for the first time.
  • Ah, Caleb Kelly was once again dominant when he was in the game. Just do not understand why he is not on the field 50{90cbdbedcebe3734fdfdeb1f9843068779d1ec8d5ef30619baff100fe391d921}-60{90cbdbedcebe3734fdfdeb1f9843068779d1ec8d5ef30619baff100fe391d921} of the time. The talented freshman is the future of the outside line backer at Oklahoma.
  • I did not understand the lack of physicality from Jordan Evans. The senior inside linebacker bounced off D’Onta Foreman all game. This is a major concern to me going forward. One that is correctable, but definitely something that should not have happened.
  • The injuries are beginning to accumulate in a bad way, and depth is becoming a question that needs to be answered.
  • The rest of the problems on defense was due to bad scheme in my opinion. When Mike Stoops was aggressive, they were impressive, and in the 4th quarter, they looked abysmal. Need to find out the calm medium between playing it safe, and staying on the gas with a big lead.

The Golden hat is coming back to Norman. That feeling is comforting for Oklahoma fans, especially knowing that the Sooners are in the driver’s seat for a Big 12 title. Most of these mistakes are minor, but definitely mistakes that MUST be fixed if Oklahoma wants to accomplish their goal of making a New Year’s Six bowl. After this game, it is obvious that Oklahoma is heads and shoulders the most talented team in this conference, just have to be better going forward.

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