College Football News Preview 2020: Oklahoma Sooners Keys To The Season
Biggest Key To The Oklahoma Sooners Offense
The offensive backfield HAS to stay healthy. It’s not a 100% rock-solid lock that Spencer Rattler will get the starting quarterback gig, but … it’s close. The hope is for Tanner Mordecai to at least provide enough of a push to make it a good fight, and then for the loser in the battle for the starting job to not transfer.
Kennedy Brooks is a steady and slightly underappreciated star, and with Rhamondre Stevenson likely suspended for almost half of the season, he’s about it for the proven depth.
It’s Oklahoma, so of course there’s talent at running back. But if the goal is to get back to the College Football Playoff and do some damage, the year has to be about developing the offensive backfield into a dominant and consistent force. Rattler and Brooks – and let’s just throw in WR Charleston Rambo, too – have to stay in one piece.
Biggest Key To The Oklahoma Sooners Defense
Start intercepting some passes already. To be extremely fair to the OU defense, it fixed the glitch in the secondary.
It was hardly a rock, but after getting roasted for well over 4,000 yards in 2018 – a lot of missed tackles had a lot to do with that, along with dealing with better Big 12 quarterbacks – the pass defense was over 1,000 yards better and only allowed 20 touchdown passes before Joe Burrow went Joe Burrow in the CFP.
Teams throw and throw some more to try keeping up with the Sooner attack, but there aren’t enough big plays coming from the secondary. After only generating six picks in 2018 – and with two coming against run-first-run-only Army – there are a mere seven last season and four game in the first three games.
The Sooners managed to survive and win a Big 12 Championship – but it would’ve been nice to get more than three interceptions in the final 11 games.
Key Oklahoma Sooners Player To A Successful Season
LB DaShaun White, Jr.
Of course the season comes down to whether or not Spencer Rattler is great – or any quarterback who might beat him out – but the defense can’t regress. After being walked all over in 2018, the D improved enough to actually be a positive in 2019, but now it’s missing its main guy with Kenneth Murray off being a Los Angeles Charger.
The 6-0, 223-pound White can work anywhere in the linebacking corps. No matter where he ends up, he’s going to be one of the team’s top tacklers. If he takes over Murray’s spot in the middle, he’s going to be a 100+ tackle statistical star. He’s not as big as Murray is, and he’s not going to be the same sort of intimidating force, but he can move.
Key Game To The Oklahoma Sooners Season
Tennessee, Sept. 12
We know how this works. Oklahoma loses one Big 12 game, gets threatened in a few others, and ends up going to the conference championship game. When the bar is set at College Football Playoff or Bust, though, there can’t be any big mistakes.
Even with a 12-1 record and a Big 12 Championship, it still would’ve been iffy to get into the CFP last year had Utah won the Pac-12 Championship. Two losses? Forget about it.
This year, Tennessee is going to be just dangerous enough to come into Norman and potentially pull off the upset. There are still several parts to the Sooners that will need a little tuning up, but they had better all be ready. Lose so early in the season, and there won’t be any margin for error the rest of the way.
– Oklahoma Sooners Schedule Breakdown & Analysis
2019 Oklahoma Fun Stats
– 3rd Down Conversions: Oklahoma 77-of-155 (49.7%) – Opponents 56-of-177 (31.6%)
– Fumbles: Oklahoma 19 (lost 10) – Opponents 16 (lost 4)
– Total Yards: Oklahoma 4,164 – Opponents 3.113