Dean's Take: Bad Weather In Kansas, OSU-Texas & Great Start For Thunder
MANHATTAN, Kansas - This is a Q&A session of things fans are asking about with OU and OSU football and the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Question: What’s this with the bad weather reports from Manhattan? Bill Snyder has been through approximately a zillion of these. Young Lincoln (Riley) exactly zero. Adds up to me as us starting in a two TD hole. Whatcha got?
Answer: Just got the latest weather update on Manhattan local TV. It’s eerily similar to what happened here last week in KSU’s loss to TCU. Lightning strikes were the primary issue. They are expected later in a game that kicks at 3:10 p.m. By the way, Snyder’s team lost to TCU, so perhaps it just proves the better teams win football games whether they’re played at 3:10 pm or 3:10 a.m. I do think OU has thought through all the ramifications of bad weather tomorrow. First, the info is from the head ball coach, who told me his OU staffers routinely monitor the weather and build “game plans appropriately.’ Riley is a extremely bright. He’s also a shrewd young fella who has a history of being a step ahead of the rest. I got the strong feeling that he’s for sure prepared for the highest winds of the season, for wet footballs and for possible-to-probable game delays. I also get the strong feeling that he’s taken a hard look at history, including the fact that those awfully potent 2016 Sooners got rolled on Bennie Owen Field last year by Urb’s Bucks. And you know he’s fully aware years previous to the heavy underdog Red Raider bunch that stunned the talented Bob Stoops-led Sooners. One of the keys to winning — at anything — is fighting for and finding that ‘edge;' out-thinking your foe. Dotting all the ‘Is.’ And all the ‘Ts’ too. I believe any impact that bad weather could would have on this game will not put OU at a disadvantage. — and quite likely put Riley’s Young Soons with an advantage.
Question: Who, besides Baker Mayfield, do you think will be the biggest X Factor on the Sooner offense against KSU?
Answer: My first impulse is to say WR Jeff Badet. Lost by most in the aftermath of OU’s win over Texas is the fact that the speedy transfer playmaker was off to a great start in Dallas, including the early long TD catch, before an injury knocked him out of the game. Badet would’ve allowed the Sooners more options and more success in the fourth quarter of a win that needed not to be extended as late as it was. But this week, I believe studly receiver CeeDee Lamb will be healthier and more effective, lessening the burden on Badet (although I’ll be surprised if he even plays). Lamb got good practice reps this week that he didn’t get in Texas week. And it showed. Getting back to your question, the X-Factor(s) will be OU’s highly touted offensive line. OU humiliated KSU here two years ago 55-0 in as impressive a performance as any in Bob Stoops’ more-glorious-by-the-day career. OU’s talent advantage was clear from the start. This year, KSU will be a load up front, but the Sooner Big Uglies will have a chance to consistently win one on one battles and both give time to Baker Mayfield but create seams to whoever is healthy enough to tote the slippery piglet.
Question: OU hasn’t fared great against running QBs this year, will they be able to contain KSU’s QB?
Answer: Overall, the OU defense was good against the run. Yes, they could have and need to limit QB gains. And even though the offense has a numbers advantage with designed QB runs, it simply means the DL must win individual one on one matchups and make plays — be it up front, the backers, or multiple back-enders. Like Tulane and Ohio State, KSU is outstanding with a QB run focus. Starter Jesse Ertz is a great runner and can throw. But he’s injured, and sophomore Alex Delton is expected to continue running the offense. Literally. Last week he was but 11-for-29 for 146 passing yards. But he ran it 19 times. The measles 38 yards he got was a result more of TCU’s defense getting after it than it was a failure of the young, capable Delton, who really impressed me repeatedly with chunk yard runs in the back-breaking loss a week earlier in Austin. So let's see the secondary that stood out in Dallas go a great deal to one-on-one coverage, which would give the front seven the best chance of limiting Delton. By the way, I hope Mike Stoops and Company turn Obo loose as much as possible (not as much in this game) to get after the QB … and much less having him in coverage. Less thinking and more ‘Go git ‘eem’. He’s simply not effective in coverage and is a beast off the edge. And a second By the Way – I’m told you’ll see Caleb Kelly make a quantum leap in making plays next year when he’s in more of a Striker/Obo role.
Question: The Thunder’s Big 3 all said they don’t care who takes the last shot, do you believe them?
Answer: Sure. At least until the Thunder loses. Or until the other shooter misses a couple. Or until …… Really, I was so impressed with the opener. And it might just be that the thing that stood out most was how the Big 3 were obviously doing all they could to be unselfish and to do what they could to put their co-Big 3 cohorts in the best position to exceed. It was sooooooo refreshing to see Russell Westbrook smile on a basketball court. And see him prove to be other-worldly while significantly changing his game. I truly believe he could average a trip-dub again — yes, even with the new guys. But I’d settle for less shots, fewer turnovers and more assists. And doing whatever it takes to win games and to keep our two new America’s Guests — Melo and PG13 — so happy that they can’t wait to commit to stay here in the Prairie Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave (I can write that without being accosted, arrested or deemed Too American).
Question: How important is it for his draft stock that Mason Rudolph performs well on Saturday against a stout Texas’ defense?
Answer: Every week is important, and against a stout Texas front, active backers and the pressure of playing UT in Austin, Mason definitely needs a good game. But I don’t see Texas matching the intensity they raced back with against USC and Oklahoma. So I’m assuming the offense will score enough to win. And as always against good teams, the Cowboy D will decide the winner. I’m more and more impressed with Osborne and some of his big hosses up front, who look a lot closer in the eyeball test to the Bamas and Clemsons than Poke fronts of the past. Of course there’ve been individual exceptions defensively through the years—from the O’Neals to the Williams’ — but no secret that OSU’s 4-Point-Stancers have neither created much fear nor much respect, from the Big Boys. So, Mason rolls, and so do the Cowboys, who continue one of the most stunning ’New Age’ streaks we’ve seen in ball round these parts in quite some time: 5-straight Ws in Austin.
We’ll go with Pokes 38-28, leaving Kissing Coach Herman to consider if a hundred hugs would do.
Good night from the Little Apple — DB