Much thanks to the guys over at Crimson and Cream Machine for answering some questions for DTN. You can find where I answered some questions over at CACM. Again, thanks for the time and information!
1. I've been out of the country for the past two weeks (this is true and not just a crutch to ask a question), catch me up a bit on the Oklahoma Sooners and how they've performed against Texas and Kansas.
Oklahoma completely dominated Texas on both sides of the ball. It was the type of Red River rout Sooner fans have enjoyed in the past and really showed that the Longhorns have done a lot this season using smoke and mirrors to disguise their weaknesses. OU had the ability to and did exploit just about every offensive and defensive weakness the Longhorns have.
They followed up that win with a lethargic win at Kansas. They basically played very vanilla on both sides of the ball and from the opening kickoff looked like all they wanted to do was get out of Lawrence healthy and with a win. Perhaps lost in that was a defensive performance that allowed just one first down and a total of six offensive yards in the second half.
The best stat from the last two weeks is that the Sooner defense has produced 13 sacks against Texas and Kansas.
2. I've seen a couple of articles this week about how Oklahoma hasn't been up to par in the redzone, but in looking at the statistics, the Sooners are still 19th in the nation and score at a 91.18%. Is there a concern about redzone production thus far?
I think the concern is that they're scoring field goals and not touchdowns. Its a bit frustrating to some of the fan base who expect perfection. I really don't blame them for feeling that way because you should always prefer a touchdown over a field goal but on the other hand Oklahoma scored four field goals and three touchdowns in seven red zone attempts against Kansas. That's a 100% score rate and seven red zone opportunities in one game is outstanding.
So much more after the jump.
3. The Sooners have yet another potent offense, led by QB Landry Jones, WR Ryan Broyles (best and most underrated receiver in the country, I don't understand why no one talks about him), and RB Dominique Whaley at the skill positions, but talk a bit about the guys up front that is helping OU churn out 547 yards per game and the #6 scoring offense in the country.
Oklahoma's offensive line was a bit of a concern coming into the game because of injury and a bit of attrition. Left tackle Jarvis Jones started the season on the shelf with a knee injury and despite returning hasn't been able to get his starting job back from Donald Stephenson. Starting center Ben Habern broke his arm against Ball State and could be back for Kansas State but for sure won't play Saturday night.
Despite the injuries the line has performed pretty well. Oklahoma is averaging 4.7 yards per carry and possibly the most notable stat regarding the line is that Landry Jones has only been sacked twice in six games.
The one area where fans would like to see improvement along the line is inside the ten yard line where the Sooners need to have a power running game. They've just not been able to line up and overpower people yet.
4. I think that because the OU offense is so spectacular, the Sooner defense isn't getting it's due considering they are the 22nd best defense in terms of yards and the 11th best team in scoring defense. Do you think that this is a fair assessment and who are the two biggest playmakers on the defense thus far this season?
Tony Jefferson has been a star this season. He plays linebacker and safety and leads the team with four interceptions and just always seems to be in on the big plays. Travis Lewis continues to be the vocal leader of the team and backs it up with his play on the field. He leads the team with 40 tackles despite not playing until the second game of the season against Florida State because of a broken toe. However, if you made me pick just one defender to stand out it would defensive end Frank Alexander who has 9.5 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks and a interception among other defensive stats.
The Oklahoma defense is one of the better ones of the Stoops era. There were so many question marks along the line and in the secondary coming into the season that they were pretty much flying under the radar. Each week more and more people are realizing just how good they are. They're fast, hard-hitting and move to the ball very well. They capitalize on mistakes (three defensive touchdowns against Texas) and celebrate the big hits. There's no doubt that they are out for blood each week.
5. Last year, the Sooners lost two conference games, @ Missouri and @ Texas A&M, is the biggest game of the year looming with Bedlam and Oklahoma St. or are there other games on the schedule that concern Sooner fans?
To be honest, it bothers me a bit with everyone looking forward to the Oklahoma State game this early in the season. Kansas State looks more and more like the real deal each weekend and Texas A&M comes to Norman the week after that with a huge chip on their shoulder and a very talented offense. There's still a lot of football to be played before Bedlam.
6. Do the Red Raiders keep it within 30 points on Saturday?
That's a lot of points! I'm predicting it to be just a bit closer by going with a 37-17 Oklahoma win.