Seasoned OU fans can recognize a pattern in games like yesterday's 49-17 win at Baylor.
The Sooners methodically drive down the field a few times against the outmatched opponents' defense, gaining something like a 21-0 lead. At that point, the OU defense, which has forced a few three-and-outs and allowed maybe one first down, lets up a little bit and gives up a touchdown. The teams trade punts for a while until OU gets another score or two right before the half. The Sooners come out in the second half and get an early TD, then try to pound it the ball on the ground the rest of the game. The defense might give up another touchdown or so somewhere late in the third quarter or early in the fourth. Sooners then empty the bench late.
It's not an exact formula, but it's close enough that you can get the point. OU coach Bob Stoops likes to come out fast early in a mismatch and build up a lead to the point that the Sooners don't have to sweat for the rest of the game. The play-calling stays pretty vanilla, and the offense seems to go from 60 to zero in a matter of seconds.
When you know what to expect like that, it's tough to find positives and negatives. Here are a few observations:
*It sounds like all is well with center Jon Cooper and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, thankfully. It would have been pretty frustrating to lose either one the week before Texas, especially in such a mismatch.
*Brian Jackson has been outstanding as a cover man so far, but he'll have a much tougher test waiting in the Cotton Bowl next week.
*The Sooners might have churned out more than 200 yards rushing, but where are the explosive plays on the ground? Demarco Murray still seems to be missing the burst he had last year.
*How does Manuel Johnson get so wide open so often? The first few times, you'd think it was a matter of poor coverage. But it's happening too often not to be a pattern.
*Strange how infrequently we're hearing the announcers call Auston English's name this season. He was invaluable in last year's Red River Shootout.
*I actually feel really good about this year's defense. There isn't one guy out there who seems unreliable or prone to bad mistakes, unlike past years. Who would've expected the linebacking corp to be this good? Ryan Reynolds certainly looks much more comfortable in the middle this year than he was as an outside 'backer last season.
*Ryan Broyles has taken a back seat recently, but I wouldn't be surprised if he figures prominently in next week's game plan.