Photo CC: Michael C. Johnson-US PRESSWIRE(Michael C. Johnson-US PRESSWIRE – US PRESSWIRE)
The Sooners started the year 1-2, let’s not forget that. They only lost the two games by a combined ten points. Let’s not forget that either. Pretty easy to see that the Sooners could have been undefeated coming into the Jones this Saturday. Sure the talent is there, but has that talent just begun to gel, like so many other teams?
Over the last two years, Lincoln Riley has been putting an average of 700 yards on the Raider defense. DC Keith Patterson knows another defensive showing will be key in giving Colombi and the offense the support it needs.
Who and what you need to know about the Sooners –
His coaching and play calling abilities are without question. His tutelage of Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray is also without critique. But like other teams, the Sooners are also figuring out who they are this season. For Tech, the last decade has been dominated by the Sooners, winning the last eight straight. Will that change? If we go by every two years (2016, 2018), 2020 is due for another shootout.
Oh, and on a personal note…It’s still a little irritating knowing Lincoln Riley graduated from Texas Tech and never rose above position coach. Feels like Tech could have done more with Riley while he was here from 2003-2009.
The string of high performing quarterbacks has been quite repetitive for the Sooners. At the reigns is QB Spencer Rattler, the preseason All-Big12 Newcomer of the Year.
His 303.6 avg per game is pretty exceptional for a freshman. But it’s the 70% CMP that makes him a more consistent threat.
Rattler has an offense that might just be beginning to click.
The Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Like Tech’s Myles Price, the Sooners now have a surprising freshman of their own in Marvin Mims. Last weekend vs TCU he wasn’t catching like a first-year WR – going for 132 yards on just four receptions.
The 5’11, 177 FR-WR from Frisco, TX might just be the best true freshman WR in the country, if not one of the best pure athletes the Sooners have. Big talk for a freshman. But keep this in mind – it’s the Sonner upperclassmen praising Mim’s abilities.
While Mims leads with 328 yards, don’t forget SO Theo Wease (232) and JR preseason All-Big12 First Team Charleston Rambo (216). Mims, Wease, and Rambo are all averaging 17-19 receptions on the season, so with the ball being spread around so evenly, any one of the three could break out. Especially if Mims is doubled and or Tech’s secondary gets exposed. WR Bridges is also still suspended, per Lincoln Riley.
Some of that exposure could come from SO-TE Austin Stogner. The Plano, TX product will line up against a Tech defense that hasn’t shown they can cover the position. With 6’6, 262 Stogner you are also getting an additional lineman who can catch – very similar to former Sooner and current Baltimore Raven Mark Andrews. Look for him on the goal line, especially on play-action.
Tech Linebackers should have their hands full –
As of now, the Sooners RB Rhamondre Stevenson (like Trejan Bridges) is still suspended. The All-American caliber RB has been given no indication from Lincoln Riley that he will play.
With the Stevenson suspension continuing, the Sooners will continue its committee style with JR T.J. Pledger and FR Seth McGowan in the backfield. Over the last five games, both players have combined for 763 total yards. What makes both Pleger and McGowan so dangerous is their ability to catch the ball out of the backfield.
The loss of Stevenson is still huge, but McGowan and Pledger can more than handle the duties just fine –
So of course, you knew it….the Sooners come in with the country’s best O-Line. At the center is 6’5, 320, preseason First Team All-American Creed Humphrey. The junior from Shawnee, OK was rated as a top 20 pick last year but chose to return to the Sooners and forgo the NFL for one last year.
Also on the Offensive line is 6’6, 320 JR-OT Adrian Ealy. Ealy has a reputation of having very long limbs, giving many defenders fits when trying to get out of his grasp. The OT is listed at 320 but plays much faster. Ealy’s speed and length gives the line a dangerous big man who can flat out move.
The Tech D-Line has their work cut out for them this week……
Defensive Line & Linebackers
Warning – The Sooners have 15 sacks on the year. And this has been totaled with JR-DE Ronnie Perkins still on suspension.
As usual, OU LB rotation with each having an established sack record, with these three leading the way –
SO Brian Asamoah – 30 tackles, 1.5 sacks, I PD, 1 FF
JR Dashaun White – 19 tackles, 2.5 sacks
Nik Bonitto, 13 tackles, 2 sacks, PD
All of the linebackers are quick and can cover TE and WRs in over the middle. Like West Virginia, the Sooners have some very athletic linebackers.
On the front line, watch out for 6’5, 267 JR-DE Isaiah Thomas, who is making the most of his starts with DE Ronnie Perkins still suspended.
Also on the line is 6’3, 297 JR/TR NT Perrior Winfrey, who has seemingly been quiet most of the season with only 9 total tackles. But his 2 pass deflections and tackles for loss demonstrates the big-time athletic ability for an NT.
Watch out for Brenden Radley-Hiles JR-DB was the big tackler vs TCU last week posting 9 tackles, 8 solo. He plays hard and isn’t scared to come up and make the tackle.
Anyone else have that “it’s going to be a shootout” feeling? After the win vs West Virginia, my question is whether or not DC Keith Patterson is going to take the next step, building on the win vs the Mountaineers. Colombi needs another strong showing from the defense. Who on the defense is going to step up and lead? Who wants it more? The defense is going to set the pace of the game and if they play well, we will have a shootout.
I’m having flashbacks of former Red Raider Brandon Carter and his famously painted face. Who wouldn’t love to see some of that at the game?
A Tech win would be great, but until this Red Raider team shows they can piece together several wins in a row, I would expect OU to stride out of The Jones with a win. Tech falls behind early and Colombi just never gets untracked. OU 45-24.
Let’s see what Tech defense shows up…that will set the pace of the game