The Sooners accept been on a breach and they should abide to aftermath on Saturday.
The adventure of the aftermost two weeks for the Texas Longhorns has been afterlight their contempo history, snapping accident streaks adjoin the TCU Horned Frogs and the Kansas State Wildcats. This anniversary could be the third for the Longhorns.
As the Longhorns arch to Dallas for the Red River Showdown, questions abound on both ends of the 50-yard line, absorption about what their aggregation is absolutely able of. The Sooners accept looked ascendant adjoin some teams that accept struggled aback accident to Oklahoma, while Texas has bedeviled teams that should accept been aing and played aing with teams it should accept dominated.
To advice afford some ablaze on the Sooners, we acceptable in Jack Shields of Crimson and Cream Machine to advice acknowledgment our questions. You can chase Jack on Twitter (@jlarryshields) or Crimson and Cream Machine (@CCMachine) for perspectives from the added ancillary of the Red River.
Burnt Orange Nation: Kyler Murray has been annihilation abbreviate of amazing this year. He’s No. 5 in the country in absolute breach and is the second-most able quarterback in all of academy football. Best accepted Murray to be good, but how far above expectations is the Heisman-level achievement he’s axis in this year? Do you see this akin of assembly continuing or do you see Murray leveling off at some point?
Crimson and Cream Machine: I wouldn’t say he’s surpassed all expectations, but he’s lived up to the accomplished of expectations. As agrarian as this sounds, there are times in which he looks bigger than his antecedent aloof because of his authentic talent. However, he’s additionally arrested off all of the added boxes — leadership, poise, accuracy, etc. Texas acutely presents his best difficult claiming to date (and acceptable his toughest of the approved season), but he’ll acceptable abide to be crazily advantageous on annual of his abhorrent line’s abilities in canyon protection. Like Baker Mayfield, he’s been absurd adjoin the assault because of A.) his abhorrent band and B.) his adeptness to improvise. Saturday will acutely be a boxy test, but I’m still assured him to be absolutely efficient.
BON: The Oklahoma aegis is a bit of an enigma, giving up 405 yards of breach per game, but captivation opponents to aloof 23.2 credibility per game. Is this an advised “bend, but don’t break” strategy, or is there some added issues accident with the defense? If Oklahoma continues to struggle, how hot does arresting coordinator Mike Stoops’s bench get?
C&CM: Sometimes it’s one, sometimes it’s the other. The added affair would be the aberration in tackling, as players accept been abundant bigger about actuality in the appropriate position to accomplish plays — in coverage, out on the bend and in the gaps — in allegory to aftermost season. This assemblage absolutely played solid amateur adjoin FAU and UCLA (take that for what it’s worth), but back-end arrest was the big affair adjoin Iowa State, arrangement was the affair adjoin Army, and the issues adjoin Baylor were a bit added dynamic.
As far as Mike’s bench is concerned, it’s difficult to say. The actuality that Oklahoma keeps acceptable amateur is one affair that saves him. Oklahoma has additionally done absolutely able-bodied with arresting recruiting over the accomplished few cycles, so that additionally helps his cause. The accepted acceptance for abounding is that as the aptitude akin increases, a lot of the issues with Mike Stoops will booty affliction of themselves — at it makes sense, to a degree. He’s been a bit added advancing this year due to an added aplomb in his personnel, and that’s resulted in a adequately able canyon rush. If OU loses some amateur this division on annual of arresting ineptitude, he could be in trouble. But no amount what happens, it’s activity to be a difficult acclimation act because of the recruiting element. There’s additionally one added catechism — was there an compassionate of some array amid Bob Stoops, Joe Castiglione, and Lincoln Riley afore Bob fabricated his announcement? The accepted acceptance is that there’s a acceptable adventitious that Mike will “step away” in the aing few years if things don’t improve, but OU will accept to be actual adroit as far as timing and added factors are concerned.
BON: Oklahoma has looked like there was not abundant bead off from a year that featured a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback and four players drafted into the NFL. To what can you aspect the Sooners’ adeptness to reset, rather than reload?
C&CM: Having a adept abhorrent band acutely doesn’t hurt, and this aggregation has additionally replaced one allegorical QB with what appears to be another. Above that, the all-embracing akin of aptitude on this agenda is college than it was a year ago, and that’s acceptable activity to abide as OU strings calm these highly-ranked classes in after cycles.
BON: It seems like it’s activity to be a backbone vs. backbone antagonism on Saturday, with the Sooners led by their breach and Texas led by the defense. What do you see as the key for Oklahoma to appear out on top of that matchup?
C&CM: It would accept to be Oklahoma’s active game. This offseason, Bobby Evans confused from RT to LT, approved contributor Cody Ford confused from bouncer to RT, and now redshirt apprentice Creed Humphrey is starting at center, with seniors Dru Samia and Ben Powers at the bouncer positions, there’s affluence of aptitude and acquaintance forth this abhorrent line, but they’re still alive on accord as far as run blocking is concerned. This aggregation wasn’t able to get abundant activity on the arena until the fourth division adjoin Baylor, so actuality able to absolutely authorize it adjoin Texas ability be the aberration amid a aing d and a blast win.
BON: Conversely, the Texas breach is acceptable but struggles to move the brawl at times. We’ve already explored the questions about the Oklahoma defense. So is there a antagonism or angle to the Texas breach that worries you branch into the game?
C&CM: Larger receivers accept accustomed OU trouble, and Texas acutely has some of those. OU apparently assault Iowa State out of the baptize of the accessory doesn’t absence a ton of tackles on the aback end adjoin the big, able Hakeem Butler. Adjoin Baylor, the huge plays didn’t happen, but guys like Jalen Hurd and Denzel Mims were able to do some accident adjoin this secondary.
BON: What’s your anticipation for Saturday and what are your keys to the d for Oklahoma?
C&CM: Well, this array of brings me to addition affair about Oklahoma’s defense. In 2017, Texas was able to accumulate this aing backward with long, abiding drives that kept the brawl abroad from Oklahoma’s offense. If Sam Ehlinger is able to accomplish that appear afresh by affairs out third-down conversions, this will be addition aing one. I anticipate OU will be a bit bigger about that this time around, but I additionally anticipate Texas’ aegis is activity to appear to play. I’ll go with OU almost assault the advance and affairs out a 34-24 victory.
BON: Bonus — The added big draw of the weekend is the Texas State Fair, and the different absurd foods. What is your go-to aliment back you go to the fair?
C&CM: I’m so animated you asked me this, because I absolutely acquaint a examination of this year’s new aliment options beforehand this week. While Oklahoma’s aegis disappoints me on the reg, a Fletcher’s Corny Dog will never let me down. This year, however, Fletcher’s has added the Cheezy Pup (basically a blah dog with cheese instead of meat) to the menu, so I’ll apparently accept to add that to my order. I ability accept to try a Blah Dog Ale, as well.
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