If you followed the game on Twitter, you’d think Oklahoma had lost last weekend against a surgical Army team that brought this game down the wire. Admittedly, I didn’t know how to feel about the game and as such, didn’t want to throw out knee-jerk grades without having a chance to re-watch the game and review some stats. After such, the game doesn’t look any less ugly
Defensive 4th Down Conversation Percentage –
Oklahoma allowed an average of 5.2 yards per carry on 4th down that resulted in Army converting 4-of-5 4th downs on Saturday. That’s a pretty damaging stat considering Mike Stoops’ reputation nationally, let alone with the Oklahoma fan base. Sloppy tackling, a problem that the Sooners can’t seem to shake, was the obvious cause of such a poor performance. However, scheme wise, I thought there was some head-scratchers in there with Mike Stoops. Wasn’t a big fan of leaving two safeties over-the-top to take away the deep ball when it’s pretty apparent that isn’t Army’s forte. In fact, Army ranks 124th in the nation in passing offense, while ranking 4th in rushing offense. So why not bring in someone like Robert Barnes and have him play closer to the line to help stop the run instead defending the deep ball that Army rarely throws? Furthermore, what does this say about his trust in the secondary? I’ll leave it up to you to answer that.
Be patient with Trey Sermon –
Rodney Anderson was able to create big plays from the get-go. That isn’t the case with Trey Sermon. The more I watch, the more it becomes apparent that Sermon is the type of back that — similar to Perine — plays his best ball as the game goes on.
His physical style of running won’t always result in big plays early, but as his volume of carries goes up, you can see the wear-and-tear it puts on the defense. Before being stuffed Oklahoma at the goal line, Sermon was able to slash his way through an Army defense that had been playing pretty sound up front. Now heading into Big 12 play, Sermon should only get better as defenses shouldn’t be as stout up front.
Oklahoma Didn’t Have The Personnel To Stuff The Run –
Oklahoma’s front-7 impressed in the first three weeks of the season, last Saturday… not so much. In my opinion, it has a lot to do with personnel. Right, the Sooners have a lot of talented pass rushers and when they’ve faced a passing team — they’ve looked the part. However, when it comes to having the massive bodies to stuff the power run, it’s still a work in progress.
It’s not that Oklahoma hasn’t recruited guys to fill this role — it’s that they’re a year away. Jalen Redmond, Michael Thompson, Ron Tatum. Give them a year to develop and get healthy and Oklahoma suddenly has not only more talent upfront but more size and depth.
Kyler Murray Can Win You Games –
Outside of a misfire to Marquise Brown, Kyler Murray was everything Oklahoma needed him to be given the limited opportunities on offense. 11/15 passing, 236 total yards, and 4 total touchdowns. That’s roughly 62% of the total yardage and and 100% of scoring.
In what has been an up-and-down year for the Sooners, Murray has been as consistent and that’s something that shouldn’t go unnoticed, especially when replacing one of college football’s all-time greats.
Oklahoma Has A LOT To Prove –
Has Oklahoma benefited from an easy schedule? Perhaps. Are they taking a step back? It looks like it. Whatever may be the case, the Sooners have a lot of reflecting to do. With all the preseason talk of having a chip on their shoulder, you have to wonder now if that’s all it was — all talk. Now heading firmly into their Big 12 schedule, Oklahoma will face improved offenses week-to-week and what they’ve put on the field this past couple week’s won’t cut it if their aiming for yet another Big 12 Title. Fortunately, it looks like the Sooners are better geared towards facings spread offenses but they’ll need to clean up the misreads and sloppy tackling if they want to find success.