, Muskogee, OK


September 16, 2012

Sooners get rested

— NORMAN – Oklahoma’s players are enjoying a rare three-day weekend. They received a respite from practice on Friday, Saturday and today. They’ve earned it after starting the season 2-0.

There were some surprises (both bad and good) in those first two games.

The defense has shored up its glaring flaw from last season. It’s given up one reception longer than 13 yards against 54 attempts. Last season, OU’s opponents averaged 12.2 yards per catch.

Offensively, OU’s shown a strong commitment to running the ball. It’s rushed for 554 yards in the first two games and has actually run the ball (78) more times than its thrown it (69). Staying close to a 50-50 split is good for this offense. It opens up a lot more things in the passing game.

The negative has been two very sluggish starts to both games. The Sooners have failed to pick up a first down on the opening drive against both UTEP and Florida A&M. The offense cannot afford to be so listless at the start of games against better opponents.

Giving up six sacks in two games is something that must be corrected quickly.

But the best way to describe OU’s start is plain. It has shown very little creativity on either side of the ball. The offensive and defensive play sheets could have easily fit on the back of credit card receipts.

That has been done by design. The best thing about getting off to a 2-0 start is OU did it smoothly. Not one offensive or defensive wrinkle that will be employed against better competition was exposed.

Those wrinkles will start showing up against better competition. It begins at 6:50 p.m. Saturday when No. 15 Kansas State arrives at Owen Field.

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