Originally Published: Nov 25, 2010 11:1 AM CDT
OU KEYS TO OFFENSE VS. OSU
1. OU must have success in the three back/inverted wishbone look they ran against Baylor. Since they don’t regularly blow people off the ball this scheme allows them to still be able to get numbers without requiring a QB run game. It gives you the ability to run misdirection and get north and south, along with multiple boots and throws. It is particularly effective in the red zone, where OU needs help. If OSU controls OU’s run game, it can pressure Jones into some poor reads, poor throws and poor decisions. They are probably right. Their pass defense numbers are bad, but OSU has enough athletes on in the 2ndry to turn a Jones error into a big play. The other key to having a sufficient run game is for Roy Finch to be healthy and effective in providing a change of pace to Murray. Finch is especially good at hitting the corner, squirting it up inside north/south and making the first tackler miss. It might take a big day from someone other than Murray for OU’s offense to win a scoring contest.
2. OU’s pass game must take advantage of mismatches they can create across the middle and downfield. Kansas took advantage last week when OSU bit on underneath stuff. Broyles and Stills are night and day better than KU and they excel at YAC. This is where OU can be deadly. I’ll be stunned if there are not open areas in OSU’s pass defense.
3. Jones must stay in rhythm and play the game of his life. The pressure will be intense, and he’s struggled on the road under these circumstances. But he’s accurate when given time and if he can find time to let routes develop or just hit a few crossing routes in-stride, he could be the star of the day. Even though there will only be some 45,000 OSU fans, the atmosphere could easily become overwhelming. Jones should have success in a moving pocket and must read and react when he catches OSU DBs overeating.
OU KEYS TO DEFENSE VS. OSU
1. Don’t let OSU’s outstanding run game take over. If OU can’t slow the run OSU will be very hard to get off the field. OSU’s offensive line play has been solid and OU’s NG/DT won’t overwhelm them. At times, OU’s LBs have been caught out of position and the DL has been bad at getting off blocks. So whether by scheming or by playing their best, they won’t win if Hunter and Co. run at will. Bud and Barry went 31-1 against OSU by dominating the run game. College football has changed, but not in this regard. Gundy can do something neither Jimmie Johnson or Pat Jones ever did. He can beat OU if his run game dominates.
2. Don’t lose jump balls. OU should cover Blackmon fairly well on shorter throws, but they will ultimately be put in situations where Weeden throws it up to his star against OU DBs. Blackmon’s made it look like pee-wee ball in many games. OU can’t afford to give up easy stuff to this potent offense.
3. Get Weeden out of his comfort zone. DEs Beal and R. Lewis are play makers who use different skill sets to succeed. DC Venables will try to confuse Weeden with multiple blitz packages and moving Beal and Lewis around. They’ll do some exotic things on the back end but whatever Weeden struggles with mentally, OC Holgerson will figure out. But OU hopes that just because that tandem figures things out, it doesn’t mean that Weeden will not make a handful of critical mistakes. He’s prone to, although he’s improved in that area. People forget, the pressure on Jones and OU is extraordinary. But it is even greater for Weeden and OSU. They’ve been favored in this series once or twice in at least forty years. Being composed and executing for 75 snaps under that kind of pressure is tough. OU must make Weeden do just that.
INTANGIBLE KEYS TO OU VS. OSU
1. Don’t let the crowd take over the game by falling behind ten to 14-points early.
2. Don’t miss short field goals. Stoops won’t attempt anything much over forty yards unless in a jam so the shorter ones must be all converted.
3. Find the delicate balance between playing with maximum effort and being overly amped to where mistakes occur.