THE RESULT | A BLUEPRINT | What Oklahoma did is a blueprint of what teams need to do to beat Texas Tech. This won't be so much of a review of the game, but a game plan as to how beat Texas Tech. When I was on the Crimson and Cream Machine podcast, I was pretty confident that OU was going to win. Not by 20 some-odd points, but I was pretty sure that OU was going to win.
I kinda mentioned this week that I was waiting for the shoe to drop and the shoe has officially dropped and now we wait on the response. Thankfully, Texas Tech is not facing a team in West Virginia that can almost score at will. That's sarcasm. I'd also add that this is where the season turns. There are only two teams that I know have superior athletes to Texas Tech, and they are OU and UT. I say that because I know that they do have superior talent and I think with a lot of schools, it's in dependent on year to year who is better. But OU, despite their losses, have a ton of talent. Texas Tech is better than what they were yesterday, but they also were not as good as what they were the first four games.
Oklahoma didn't magically become an awful team as a result of their loss to Kansas St. They shot themselves in the foot a couple of times during that game, but that game was there to be won by them and had it not been for some costly turnovers, they very well could have won that game. I know that's hindsight. Still, Oklahoma is still pretty darned talented, they almost always have been and it wasn't different yesterday. They can still get athletes in space and tackle our athletes in space.
PRESSURE DOEGE AND BLITZ | Iowa St. did this and Texas Tech figured it out and Oklahoma did it and Texas Tech and Doege didn't answer. It's not necessarily that Doege makes bad decisions, but it's that sometimes those decisions result in bad plays. The interception that was blocked at the line of scrimmage, gathered, and then returned for 10 yards or so has nothing to do with Doege making bad decisions, but Doege has to figure out how to combat that. I don't know if it's a slight pump fake to force the defender to jump, but he's always going to be short and he is always going to have to be able to stop that.
But Doege also seems to have a problem with getting in the pocket and figuring out where to step up and avoid the blitz. It's almost deer in headlights at times. Granted, the offensive line doesn't help at times. That pressure is there because they just can't handle the extra defenders, but Oklahoma also at times just rushed four and was successful at pressuring Doege into a bad or rushed decision.
I've said that Doege is the guy this year. The staff, the players and Doege himself have put a lot into him being "the guy". I still believe that and they will give Doege a ton of leash. More than you want him to have. It's just going to happen. It's going to take at least two more performances where it appears that Doege just doesn't have it for the coaching staff to make a change, but I'm almost certain that this is the last thing they want to change. I'm not at all saying that you have to get behind Doege, I think I'm just giving my two cents about how Doege is entrenched as the starter for the time being.
RUN THE BALL | I'm trying to think of the power running teams in the conference and I think that Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas St. are the best power rushing teams in the conference. This is not something that teams can just decide the week that they'll play Texas Tech to be a power rushing team, but I know that these teams can do this.
I also don't think that teams like Baylor and West Virginia won't have success running the ball against the Texas Tech defense, but having the talent up front like OU has to run the ball is a distinct advantage. Most of the other teams are passing in nature and that's their bread and brother. Unfortunately, UT and KSU are within the month. Yikes.
PLAYERS DON'T BECOME BAD JUST BECAUSE OF ONE GAME | Also while on the CaCM podcast, they were incredibly down on Landry Jones. Essentially stating that they are all done defending him that he's not the player that they hoped he would become, but they knew that he was OU's quarterback for the foreseeable future and there was nothing that they could do about that. Jones was coming off a K-State game where he looked bad. Where he threw turnovers and made some really bad plays. That memory was fresh in their minds, but the truth is that Jones didn't suddenly became an awful quarterback. He was better than what he showed and he showed, unfortunately for Texas Tech fans, yesterday. The same generally applies to Texas Tech yesterday. I don't think they were as bad as they were yesterday. Beating OU historically or having some sort of advantage mentally has never really meant much to mean. What did mean something to me was two things that I had heard late in the week, but never put down on the blog, which was that OU had never lost two consecutive conference games under Stoops' regime and Stoops was 15-0 coming off a bye week. Stoops knows how to get his team ready and he's a good coach.
I'll be keying on how Texas Tech plays against West Virginia. Again, this is a top-10-ish team that has an incredible offense. I don't know that Texas Tech and Doege can keep pace. I think that Texas Tech will be able to keep pace because most teams don't have OU's defense. The players are better than what they showed against Oklahoma. I'm still trying to figure out how much better they are, and how they play this week will help complete the narrative.
STOP THE RUN | Remember how I mentioned that not all teams are going to be able to do what OU did against Texas Tech? Well, few teams are going to be able to rush four players against a quarterback that's in nickel personnel and also stop the run. OU is definitely one of those teams, but I'm not sure that other teams will be able to stop the run and be able to just rush four players. Other than the first drive, Oklahoma dominated the line of scrimmage. Not every team is going to do that. But there's something to the thought of stopping the run and forcing Doege into bad decisions. Two games and six interceptions is a reality for Doege. Just like last year, against better competition, Doege started to falter and couldn't keep pace. He placed worse as the season progressed. There was some pointing to the fact that once Doege lost Eric Stephens in the running game that this made it tougher on him because he was forced to be better. Again, I don't want to let this one game against Oklahoma blurry my thought that I do think the running game is better than last year and I think Doege is better as a result of that. But the correlation is relatively staggering in that if Doege can't rely on a running game then he's just not as good a quarterback. I do think that's a reality and I do think that this is part of the reason why some of you see more hope in Brewer, because he can do more with his feet when arm fails him.
CONTAIN THE PRESSURE OF TEXAS TECH'S FRONT FOUR | If a team can contain the pressure of Texas Tech's front four then it could get ugly. Jones had ages to complete a pass against the Texas Tech secondary. It was frustrating to watch the four four get a little push, but truthfully, Jones was almost never going to get sacked the entire game. When Texas Tech did blitz, and they did more than I recall most of the year, Oklahoma had an answer. Not every team is going to be as deft at picking up the blitz, but a team that can control Texas Tech's front four is going to have a tremendous amount of success. And there is something to Texas Tech being vanilla against superior competition because they could be vanilla and still get results.
Everyone wants a high-pressure defense that tries to expose and force teams into bad decisions. There are few teams that can really do that. I don't think that Texas Tech is one of those teams with those types players. As much as we heard the name Kerry Hyder and Jackson Richards I don't think we heard their names mentioned but twice yesterday. They just have to be better. This is the scariest proposition for me because I think that elite pass rushers aren't just better in week to week and I don't think that Texas Tech has had a pass rusher than teams have had to plan around since Brandon Williams. I was hoping that the light would go on for Branden Jackson this year, but he's almost been non-existent and I wish I knew why that was after what seemed like a really good spring. No matter, something has to be better, and I found it interesting that Kaufman even ran a few stunts late in the game when I was able to catch a bit, hoping to create some pressure that way. This may be a situation where the personnel has to change a bit or the personnel is dependent on the game, but getting pressure, just a little bit, helps the defensive backs so much more.
CONVERT ON THIRD DOWNS | I don't think I need to write much here, but just say that this is why those third down conversion rates for the year are so incredibly important. Both offensively and defensively. Doege was able to convert a ton of third downs initially, but OU converted them for touchdowns. That's incredibly problematic for the defense. And this wasn't a situation all the time where the defense was just out of sorts, but players not tackling contributed to the problem. Bad habits are hard to break.
LOOKING FOR GIVE-UP | I'm looking for give-up this week. I know that is incredibly pessimistic, but I mentioned it earlier this week. This is the exact same situation that Texas Tech was sitting in last year, except that the difference is that Texas Tech had handled a Kansas team that was even worse than Texas Tech in conference and was blown out by a .500 Iowa St. team. This year, I think that Iowa St. is a better than .500 team and I think that Oklahoma is one of the top two or three teams in the conference. That's your difference in this year to last year, but I'm still looking for give-up from this team. Last year, the loss to Iowa St. started a spiral downward and if this team has any aspirations of being better, then they have to put an end to it next week. Texas Tech was in the game in the first half and the third quarter snowballed. A sack on 4th down and pick-six was all that was needed to push Oklahoma ahead, but Texas Tech as very much in this game whereas last year, Texas Tech wasn't in any games for the better part of the year.