Oklahoma Sooners: Keys To The Season, Top Game, Top Transfer, Fun Stats
Oklahoma Sooners: Key To The 2022 Offense
Keep on hitting third down plays.
Oklahoma fans are used to high-powered offenses that get on the move and keep defenses backpedalling, and that’s the going to be the idea right out of the gate for an offense that’s going to strike at lightning speed.
There’s a flip side to all of that, though.
Oklahoma will almost certainly get crushed in the time of possession battle, but that’s okay – it’s all part of the style. As long as the O is moving fast and scoring, all is fine. If the O is moving fast and then stalling, the pressure put on the its own defense is enormous.
As good as the Oklahoma offense always was under Lincoln Riley, last year it stalled a bit too much on third downs, and it was a big part of the problem in the losses to Baylor and Oklahoma State – the O converted just 7-of-37 (16%) on third down tries over the last three regular season games.
Long-winded blurb short – going three-and-out with this style of offense will gas the defense.
Oklahoma Sooners: Key To The 2022 Defense
Stop passing games from getting so comfortable, and that starts with …
The pass rush. It has to be more consistent.
The 2020 OU pass rush roared averaging 3.36 sacks per game, and last year it fell off to 2.54 per outing. Worse than that was how the pass rush worked.
The 2020 version was relatively steady. Last year’s defense got into the backfield in waves, doing a great job early, rolling with seven sacks in the win over Iowa State, and managing one sack or none seven times including a long midseason drought.
That all tied into a pass defense that allowed passing games to hit passes too easily, especially in the middle of the season when Texas, TCU, and even Kansas were able to crank up way too many big plays.
Oklahoma Sooners: Key Player To The 2022 Season
PK Zach Schmit, Soph.
There will be at least one game when Oklahoma needs to rely on one big kick to either survive, or pull out a late win, or to simply get something out of good drives.
There might have been only one game last year – a 16-13 win over West Virginia – decided by three points or fewer, but that’s partly because OU was always able to take advantage of its good chances, finishing No. 1 in the nation in red zone offense.
That was helped by Gabe Brkic, who closed out his career hitting 57-of-69 field goals and 20-of-26 last season. He hit three in that win over the Mountaineers, was 4-for-4 against Texas, the four he made against Tulane were a big deal, and on the flip side, the two missed in the loss to Baylor mattered.
Schmit is expected to be fine – he was a star recruit a few years ago and hit his one field goal try last year – and he needs to be a reliable weapon.
Oklahoma Sooners: Key Transfer
QB Dillon Gabriel, Jr.
No, he’s not as good as Caleb Williams, and he’s coming off a collarbone injury that cost him almost all of last year, but the guy knows how to run a high-powered attack and he knows how to handle the tempo of this one.
At UCF he threw for over 8,000 yards and 70 touchdowns with just 14 interceptions in just over three seasons, and he ran for 372 yards and eight scores. He’s exactly the type of veteran presence who won’t be fazed by all the changes.
Oklahoma Key Game To The 2022 Season
Texas (in Dallas), Oct. 8
There are probably more important Big 12 games to deal with – the home date with Oklahoma State on November 19th might matter more, and winning at Nebraska is about hearts and minds – but …
Yeah, new guy, Rule No. 1 as the OU head coach: You don’t lose to Texas. Rule No. 2: You do NOT lose to Texas.
On the flip side, win this, and even with a few dangerous Big 12 road games remaining, that might be the one big hurdle to overcome if the Sooners don’t drop a game in Norman.
Oklahoma Sooners: 2021 Fun Stats
– OU Points Allowed: 1st Quarter 104 – 2nd Quarter 43
– Fumbles: Opponents 28 (lost 13) – Oklahoma 16 (lost 4)
– Onside Kicks: Opponents 2-of-6 – Oklahoma 0-of-1