image via rantsports.com
With kickoff just a few hours away now, it’s time to look at the Oklahoma’s keys to the game as they take on the Tulane Green Waves (who sport some of the best uniforms in college football). The game is set for 5 pm central time. With no Big 12 Network, the only way you can watch the game outside of being in Norman is through Pay Per View.
- The biggest worry for Oklahoma is the emotional hangover left from winning in Columbus. Did the team that just knocked off the #2 nation on the road come out with the same urgency and focus to prepare for the Green Waves’ spread-option attack? It’s a small sample size but Lincoln Riley seems to keep the player’s perspective in-check and focus week-to-week. That said, it’s also on the captains and veteran players to come out and set the tone, especially on defense. Which brings me to my next point.
- Pound-for-pound Tulane doesn’t match-up well against Oklahoma in the trenches, but their offensive scheme negates some of the Sooners advantage there. Tulane runs a spread-option offense, something Oklahoma hasn’t really seen and likely won’t see the rest of the year. It can and will that this Oklahoma defense trouble if they don’t play sound, assignment football. Gap integrity is key here, more so for linebackers than anyone else. Make no mistake, this is run-first offense (77.6% of offensive plays have been runs this season), even more so with starting QB, Jonathan Banks out with an injury.
- Johnathan Brantley, who will fill in for Jonathan Banks, isn’t a proven passer with just 109 passing yards in his career, but is a threat in the running game (averaging 7.3 yards per carry) this season. Oklahoma wins handily if they force him to throw.
- Get off the field on third down. Last week Tulane was just 3-14 (21%) on third down conversions. Oklahoma should be able come out with another convincing win, however to do that they need to end able to end Tulane’s drives on third down.
- Control the clock. Oklahoma has done a nice job winning the time-of-possession battle the past two games. Given that this Tulane offense isn’t something Oklahoma has seen and had ample time to prepare for, best way to help the defense is keep them on the sideline.
- Offensively, Oklahoma will be facing a pretty seasoned Tulane defense with eight seniors listed starting. Maybe the most talented according to Lincoln Riley is senior CB, Perry Nickerson who has 11 career interceptions and may be one of the better corners Oklahoma sees this season. This is definitely a situation where you establish the run to first to setup the play action pass.