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1. Sooner Defense: Need to bring enhanced intensity and become play makers. Early season optimism has turned into mid season mediocrity but good coaching and leadership on the field can cure that ailment. Saturday in Ames is the place to start because this won’t be as easy as many think. Expect ISU OC Mark Mangino to challenge the back end of the Sooner ‘D.’
2. Cyclones’ Mobile QB: It goes without saying that mobile QB’s gives teams fits especially the team that’s near and dear to my heart known as the Oklahoma Sooners. Scrambling is good for eggs but not OU adversaries with QB’s like No. 12 Sam Richardson of Iowa State. He’s the team’s leading rusher and passer who’s 6-foot-2, 221 pounds. If Richardson isn’t contained, the trip to Ames will not be enjoyable and that’s the bottom line.
3. Looking ahead: If anyone thinks that this team after losing two out of three is looking ahead to playing Baylor then counseling is needed. OU needs to regain its edge now and not wait for next week against the visiting Bears. ISU seems to always be good for one, great home effort per season and who says it won’t be Saturday at 11 am? Or was that the Iowa or K-State game?
4. Sooner QB play: Simply it hasn’t been great. Could be lots of reasons for this including an injury (likely), play calling, basic execution, lack of confidence, restricting Trevor Knight’s running opportunities, etc. Whatever it is needs to end immediately. Let the player relax and do what comes naturally to him and have more fun playing football. Anyone near the product can see that Trevor Knight is seemingly not having a great time being the starting quarterback at OU which seems like that would be an impossibility. Let No. 9 run some, roll out some and use play action passing to help him find his rhythm. Ironically, the offense has been pretty damn good, at times, considering the QB hasn’t found his groove yet this season. Targeting TE Blake Bell and WR Durron Neal will allow Sterling Shepherd to make some “chunk” yardage plays.
5. The Ford’s out of the shop: RB Keith Ford, who is a physical beast and a viable receiver out of the backfield is back and ready to roll which is great for the OU offense. Perhaps Ford will awaken the sleeping giants of the Sooner offensive line to find their nastiness and their need to dominate the line of scrimmage. Does size matter? Perhaps in some things but is hasn’t mattered recently along the line of scrimmage in OU games. I’d love to see Ford andSamaje Perine in the backfield at the same time for OU. As a former Orange Bowl MVP once said, “It might not be what you want, but it’s all you want.” Run the ball!
6. Quick start: Crowd control is a must for OU. To allow the Cyclones faithful to become emotionally invested in this Big 12 game early is unacceptable. ISU is longing for ‘hope’ and with ‘hope’ comes the chance to win a massive game at home. OU cannot turn the ball over and except to win just because they are Oklahoma. Scoring early and often for the Sooners will make this trip to lovely Iowa in November much more appealing.
7. OU mindset: It will be interesting to see what OU team shows up Saturday in Ames to play a Big 12 game that the Sooners simply cannot afford to lose to keep their fleeting, Big 12 Title hopes alive. ISU has nothing to lose plus they have former OU coach Mark Mangino motivating them and handling the OC role. “The Bear” is good … damn good … and he will leave nothing behind to beat his former boss and good friend Bob Stoops. Expect a street fight because this one is personal for all the right reasons.
Great weekend of college football on tap for all. The final four will again be shaken up again but for Oklahoma to stay in the conversation for a Big 12 Title and a desirable bowl game no more games can be lost by Stoops Troops. Teams that need to win must handle the pressure of “must win” and OU is one of them. I see OU winning but not by 17.
Prediction: OU 31 Iowa State 17
Jim Ross @JRsBBQ
You can follow Jim Ross on Twitter @JRsBBQ, listen to him on the Ross Report Podcast and see him live atRINGSIDE: An Evening with Jim Ross. JR’s products are also available online at wweshop.com, americansoda.co.uk and beyondtheropes.co.uk.