Reactions to Oklahoma’s 48-16 win over Louisiana Tech:
*Unlike some of the Sooners' recent season openers, OU generally played sharp ball. (Contrast that with, say, the disinterest shown in the 2012 opener versus UTEP.) The execution looked tight, and the energy level was good. There was nothing lethargic about this performance. Rock on.
*OU clocked Louisiana Tech right off the bat and didn't let up (at least for a half). I view that physicality as a byproduct of OU's renewed dedication to the ground game. Rather than kicking back on their heels 50 times, the offensive linemen get to stretch their legs and batter opposing fronts. They’re paving the way for some legit thumpers out of the backfield in Keith Ford, Alex Ross and Samaje Perine, all of whom ran with authority last night.
*I get that it’s sacrilegious to say this, but I think the tight end/H-back group may be stronger this year, despite the loss of Trey Millard to the NFL. Blake Bell didn’t look like a converted quarterback at all to me - note the block that he threw to seal the hole on Ford’s first touchdown run. Meanwhile, Trevor Knight seems to view steady freshman Dmitri Flowers as a security blanket in the passing game.
*Speaking of Knight, not a bad performance, but not a great one. As much as I love how he tosses the deep ball and the fade route, he still has a long way to go in throwing the short and intermediate routes. He continues to go all Roger Clemens on the underneath throws to the middle of the field, and he just doesn’t have the accuracy to knife through opponents the way some of the more Air Raid-ish types do.
*The receiver play was okay. As tends to be the case with young bucks, too many drops. Thought the blocking of that group was generally stellar, though, so props per usual to Jay Norvell for clearly making that a point of emphasis with the newbies.
*I imagine that Tech QB Cody Sokol has been sitting in an ice bath since about 10 p.m. last night. He got hit repeatedly by OU’s pass rush. Eric Striker was unblockable, but we knew that. The real revelation was the play of Ogbonnia Okoronwko, who consistently made his way into the Bulldog backfield.
*Jordan Evans’ ejection for targeting, which was completely legit, gave Sooner Nation an unwelcome wake-up call as to how thin the inside linebacking corps is. Walk-on Caleb Gastellum played fine in relief, but I’ve seen nothing from him to make me think he can be a major contributor on this level. Given how well Obo played, it makes me wonder if the coaches should start prepping him to back up Evans. Strikes me as a good way to get your best players on the field, even if he’d be playing somewhat out of position.
*Freshman cornerback Jordan Thomas will end up playing sooner than later. He fits the big corner mold well, and I really liked how he closed on receivers after the catch. I get the enthusiasm from Mike Stoops for him now.
*Props to Jerry Montgomery for finally getting a rotation going along the defensive line. The coaching staff needs to conserve miles on Jordan Phillips, among other things. It looked as though the line stayed pretty fresh throughout the game, too. Charles Walker is on the verge of becoming damn scary playing the 4i position in the 3-4.