Originally Published: Oct 23, 2010 11:28 AM CDT
-GameDay from Columbialiterally. The locals are fired up about tonight’s showdown. But they’re more fired up that ESPN decided to bring its traveling road show to town.
This place anticipates the greatest day of football in the history of the program. Of course the OU staff will have reminded their troops dozens of times that this is the same Missouri that felt it would take out the highly-ranked Sooners twice in 2007 and once in 2008 (not to mention seven straight under Stoops and 20 of 21 overall). Missouri fans are saying that this is a more balanced Tiger team and the Sooners are not the Sooners of old.
That’s why they play the game.
-Tackling in space vital in today’s world of horizontal stretching. 8 of 10 OU throws are catch-and-run balls. But Landry Jones has greatly improved his intermediate and deep game. Blaine Gabbert throws more short stuff than Oklahomathat’s saying a lot.
Jones must come through in the clutch. His low-key demeanor should help process the pressure and make good decisions. Then it’s simply a matter of executing and hitting receivers. The problem some QBs have is they let the outside pressure impact the inside thought process. Like all pressure situations in sports, you can’t flinch. OU’s biggest challenge on offense will be handling the pressure from UM’s improved pass rush. This game will not look like the ones where Sam Bradford sat tall in the pocket behind his talented OL and picked out receivers one, two and three and threw strike after strike after strike. Jones works behind a good-but-not-great OL that can’t be compared to Bradford’sone that has three starting in the NFL. OT Phil Loadholt, C Jon Cooper and OT Trent Williams all started last Sunday. Impressive.
I saw a stat that only four of Gabbert’s 34 completions against Illinois traveled more than 15 yards in the air and only seven of those 34 completions went to receivers that were split wide. OU will do well if its corners do a good job of tackling in space and if Mizzou doesn’t put pressure on them going vertical or outside the numbers.
-OU gets to 11-0 if they win. I give OU a slight edge but the loss of WR Dujuan Miller much bigger than assumed. If you don’t believe me, just ask a coach or an offensive player.
-The staff and team more serious on trip from Norman as I can remember. We’ll see what that means when the gun sounds. OU gets to 11-0 if they win and I give the Sooners the slight edge. But this game won’t be anything like the Bradford routes. Jones is good. But Bradfordtaking snaps some 100 miles away in St. Louis-is so good he’s even winning with the Rams.
-Enjoy. And remember to check in with us after the game. db