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Dean's List: Sooners Have Work Cut Out Against Tennessee

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VOLS GET AN EXTRA WEEK OF UP-TEMPO PREP

Tennessee didn’t know it when they signed on for a home-and-home with OU, but playing a Bowling Green team that was behind only Baylor and Arizona in how fast they ran plays in 2014 gave the Vols a head start for preparing for Oklahoma. The Sooners got in a good amount of Tennessee work before the actual game-week preparation they put in for Akron. But Butch Jones and Tennessee would’ve had a chance to devote even more practice time to Oklahoma’s fast-paced offense and tendencies they would have seen from reviewing Lincoln Riley’s offense at East Carolina.

SO WHAT ABOUT TENNESSEE GIVING UP 433 PASSING YARDS?

 I’ve watched the game now three times and came away extremely impressed with the offense of Bowling Green, led by an NFL talent QB in Matt Johnson, operating in front of the second most experienced offensive line in college football, and running a brilliant offensive scheme under Head Coach Dino Babers  --  an Art Briles disciple. Babers plays fast, runs some option and utilizes a lot of vertical game to his offense. Johnson will be the third QB he’s coached who will play in the NFL -- Jimmy Garoppolo and Robert Griffin III the other two.

WILLIE OR WON’T HE?

Tennessee gave up 433 passing yards and you can bet that’s a big point of emphasis for the Vols this week. But in reality, the numbers don’t tell the full story. For one, Tennessee was short several secondary players who return against OU. Second, DB coach Willie Martinez (fired by Bob Stoops after two years coaching DBs in Norman), was not allowed to be in the press box where he was sorely missed after serving a one-game NCAA suspension for impermissible contact with a recruit. The corners lined up in press coverage against the left side of the Bowling Green offense had a long day. Third, BGreen had an outstanding day throwing and catching – many completions with corners and safeties draped over receivers. Great offense is hard to stop.

BIGGEST QUESTIONS FOR SOONERS

The questions for Oklahoma’s offense begin with how effective the young and unproven offensive line will be. The name on the jersey makes one think the question is blasphemous. But it’s not. I’ll put it this way: If you asked the OU staff if they would take the line play of BG Saturday I bet they’d say yes. Samaje Perine is OU’s most legitimate weapon. But if a big, athletic, but still relatively young Volunteer defensive front stuffs OU’s run game, it’ll be hard to outscore the Vols. Another critical element will simply be whether Baker Mayfield will throw the ball as successfully as Johnson? Unlikely, but OU can still win if he’s close and doesn’t throw interceptions.

DECEIVING NUMBERS

We’ll volunteer more thoughts later but I wanted to stress the point that just because ‘little ol’ Bowling Green’ threw for 433 yards Saturday night in Knoxville doesn’t mean OU will automatically rip them for more. The numbers are deceiving. Thanks for checking in.

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