The Boomer Sooners from Norman Oklahoma are headed to Lawrence and I for one hope they bring that little wagon thing and run around a little bit. If they happen to feel really generous maybe they can even flip it over on accident or something else that could provide a sense of entertainment.
Just as we do every week, we're talking football with our opponent. This week it's the "Crimson and Cream Machine" and I joined them for both a podcast and a Q&A, they returned the favor.
For our part it's hard to stay extremely positive heading into this one but we're talking spreads, over/under, Kansans playing for the Sooners, realignment and a rather conservative score prediction from the Machine.
The line is 35, OSU hung 70 on us. Where do you see the Oklahoma offense going in this one? Are they capable of an equally devastating dismantling of our "defense"?
I think Oklahoma is going to try and run the game to the game and get out of Lawrence injury free. That's just me though. The Sooners are every bit as capable of lighting up the scoreboard as OSU but the question is will they? OU doesn't really have anything to prove and putting 70 points on the scoreboard doesn't advance their cause any. They'll do enough to win comfortably and then pull the reigns in.
The only exception to this would be if Bob Stoops wanted to send a message to Kansas regarding his feelings towards how they handled the dismissal of his good friend Mark Mangino. That said, Turner Gill is a good dude and I don't see Stoops doing that to him.
The Kansas offense continues to be a bit of a bright spot. We're much improved over last year but still very young. Oklahoma will be the best defensive football team we have played to date so that presents a challenge. How would you attack the OU defense if you were Kansas?
Oklahoma caught Texas off guard last week when they came out in a 4-3 alignment and forced the Longhorns to try and win the game though the air. I think that's how they'll line up against Kansas as well to try and bottle up Sims and force the Jayhawks to beat them through the air. The only logical way to attack this scheme is to try and use Oklahoma's speed against them with some misdirections and to try and suck in the linebackers with short play-action passes.
OU has several former Jayhawk recruits on the roster. Kansas kids that could have certainly made an impact immediately as Jayhawks (Blake Bell, Geneo Grissom, Jayden Bird, Donald Stephenson, Justin McKay). How are these players fitting in at OU and are they future contributors for Bob Stoops?
Donald Stephenson may be the most successful out of that group and Blake Bell the most popular. Stephenson is a key part of Oklahoma's offensive line and Bell is the guy who everyone hopes is patient enough to wait for his turn at OU. He got some playing time a couple of weeks ago against Ball State and I wouldn't be shocked to see him on the field at some point this Saturday.
Geneo Grissom is buried on the depth chart as is Justin McKay. Jayden Bird is the backup at middle linebacker and got some significant playing time last week against Texas when starter Tom Wort had to leave the game with a back injury. He recorded seven tackles in the game and is another player I suspect we'll see get some time on Saturday night.
Kenny Stills is having a fantastic season and is the perfect compliment to Ryan Broyles because you can't double both. Stills is averaging 13 yards a catch and has four touchdowns on the season. However, the biggest surprise in the receiving corps has been the rise of sophomore Jaz Reynolds who is a big playmaker. He's second on the team in receiving yards and leads all Sooners with an average of 20 yards per reception.
Running back Dominique Whaley is a walk-on who has risen to stardom at Oklahoma. He's averaging 5.2 yards per carry and has eight rushing touchdowns on the season.
What is the most dangerous piece of the Oklahoma defensive scheme? The Sooners appear to create pressure and capitalize on mistakes, is it just pure athleticism? one player? combination?
Clearly its pressure. Oklahoma's defensive front has been much better than expected and they are making a habit of living in the opponent's backfield. The linebackers are the strength of the team and are a hard hitting bunch. The overall speed of Oklahoma's defense can turn a simple mistake into six points in a hurry. Just ask Texas.
OU to the Pac 12 was all the talk not too long ago. What happened from the OU perspective of it all?
I'm really not sure and quite honestly don't care. My inclination is that Oklahoma president David Boren was misled in an effort to try and bring in Texas but for whatever reason it didn't work. I'm a bit older than your average SBN blogger and grew up during the days of the old Big 8 so going out west was never appeasing to me.
How do you feel about the addition of TCU to the conference? and what would you like to see happen with Mizzou?
I've been an advocate of the Frogs since Nebraska and Colorado bolted. From a pure football perspective they have been much better than Texas A&M has been over the last decade or so. They have multiple bowl wins including the Rose Bowl last year and seeing as how the only bowl that A&M has won recently had the name Gallery Furniture in it, I would say this is a football upgrade for the Big 12. I'm also a big fan of their baseball program.
I know Missouri is to you guys like Texas is to Oklahoma but I would hate to see the go. Like I said, I'm an old Big 8 guy and would love to keep as many of those teams around as possible.
Give me a final score and your prediction for how this game goes?
OU is coming off an emotional win over their arch rivals. Like I said earlier, I really don't think they have anything to prove here. I think the Sooners have an explosive first half and then cruise the second half in a 45-15 win.