Oklahoma is coming off a lost to Kansas State and things are interesting in Norman right now. So we asked our friends at C&C Machine to fill us in on a few things.
What was the biggest reason for the loss on Saturday against Kansas State?
The big play killed OU this past weekend. Offensively, Kansas State had a 33 percent success rate (The terms of success in college football: 50 percent of necessary yardage on first down, 70 percent on second down, and 100 percent on third and fourth down) compared to 47 percent for OU. However, while Oklahoma’s defense was “hitting singles” (as DC Alex Grinch described it), Kansas State was hitting home runs. This also applies to the turnover margin, where Kansas State was +4, or a de fact +5 if you include a blocked punt.
Then there’s this team’s inability to finish games when carrying a large lead, which is something we both experienced firsthand during last year’s game with Iowa State.
Lincoln Riley has been dubbed as the best offensive coach in the country, but Saturday brought some struggles on offense. The interceptions, sacks and lack of run lanes. I know we are only two games in the season, but is their cause for concern with this Sooner offense?
In the short-term, yes. Spencer Rattler is experiencing a lot of the same issues we saw from Baker Mayfield in 2015. His confidence in his arm talent leads to some bad decisions, and his pocket presence still needs work. As far as the offensive line is concerned, Bill Bedenbaugh’s units are prone to slow starts to the season – even when returning a lot of talent. It might take a minute for the unit to find a groove, but I’d expect them to be a well-oiled machine by season’s end. The question is whether or not either of these things will improve in the span of a week. My guess would be ‘slightly’ or ‘enough to get the job done’, but I’m not expecting anything to be solved overnight.
We saw last year’s game come down to the wire in Norman after Brock Purdy led the Cyclones all the way back. What is it about Iowa State that has given Oklahoma so many fits the last few seasons? Especially after getting owned for like 50 years prior.
The 2017 and 2018 games had a lot to do with Jon Heacock’s defensive scheme, which is essentially tailored to slow down an offense like Oklahoma’s. OU just never really got into a groove in those games, nor did the offense ever look “comfortable”. 2019 was a bit different, as things were going swimmingly for a large chunk of the game. The issue in that instance was taking a foot off the gas against a very capable team, and it damn near came back to bite them. Jalen Hurts becoming a turnover machine late in the season didn’t help, either.
Besides Spencer Rattler, who will Iowa State fans come out knowing after this game?
My two picks would be Seth McGowan an Marvin Mims. The former is basically Rodney Anderson 2.0, but with a bit more wiggle. He was starting to have a great game this past Saturday before a fumble took him off track. The latter is the state of Texas’ all-time career and single-season receiving yards leader and has not disappointed thus far. He’s a smaller target who runs impeccable routes and is dangerous in the open field. He seems to just do everything well.
Is the way to attack this Oklahoma defense through the air or on the ground?
I’d say the air, as OU’s gap disciple was actually pretty good for much of the game against Kansas State. When a guy like Skylar Thompson averages 13.4 yards per attempt against this defense, the answer is definitely ‘through the air’. (To be fair, most of that came on a few plays)
What is your prediction for Saturday?
I’m going to be nervous about this one until the final whistle blows. History tells us that OU won’t lose back-to-back regular season games (it hasn’t happened since 1999), but it’s all going to come down to how Spencer Rattler handles the moment. If he stays sharp, OU could win by double-digits. If not, it could get away from the Sooners. My guess is that’s his performance is somewhere in the middle, and OU ends up winning a nail-biter.
You do know a Cyclone would own that wagon thing you got down there right?
Oh, absolutely! We Oklahomans know plenty about the effects of high winds on mobile domiciles, so you won’t hear an argument from me.