Thoughts on Oklahoma’s 34-10 win against Tennessee:
*I don’t know what the major takeaway is supposed to be from a game in which Oklahoma probably gave a C-ish effort overall and still beat an SEC team that will likely go to a bowl game by 24 points. OU’s mistakes probably kept the game from getting entirely away from the Volunteers. On the other hand, the Sooners made those mistakes, yanno.
*Truthfully, it felt as though most of what we learned about OU last night fell more on the concerning side of the ledger. That’s a miserable way to treat a comfortable win in one of the bigger games of the year, but that's what fans are for, I guess.
*Think we got a good look at how opponents will scheme to slow the Sooner O. The Vols stacked the box and dared Trevor Knight to make medium and long throws. I’ll go back and look through OU’s success on first down at some point to get a better idea of how well UT’s strategy worked.
*All in all, the Sooners’ passing game showed more pop Saturday night than in the season’s previous two games. OU generated more than 9 yards per throw and rolled up big yardage in a variety ways – over the top, catch-and-run opportunities, swing passes.
Knight looked sharp to start the night, which gradually wore off as the game progressed. In general, he threw well on the move and had his moments while working from the pocket on straight drops. Oh, and his receivers should take him aside to talk about hanging them out to dry.
*The OU offensive line didn’t have its best night. Much of that was attributable to the numbers UT had close to the line of scrimmage, but the o-line did look confused at times.
*Conversely, Blake Bell would probably take a few more nights like that. He made some nice grabs and looked pretty natural. He clearly seems to be getting more comfortable in his new role.
*I go back and forth on how offensive coordinator Josh Heupel is using Trevor Knight in the running game. I get the impression the coaches don’t want their quarterback running anymore than necessary; hence, why run him if you don’t have to?
However, it clearly limits the offense’s explosiveness when the option is really just a called give to the running back.
*Settling for field goals early o felt way too familiar. The Sooners got away with it this time. It will come back to bite them at some point if they go back to not finishing drives.
*Man, what a difference a Jordan Phillips makes for a defense. OU’s mammoth nose guard made life miserable for the interior of UT’s offensive line. He shot gaps, drove opposing linemen into the backfield and celebrated a sack in B.J. Raji-like fashion.
*Eric Striker likely became a consensus All-American last night. He is a maniac.
*Had to feel for Justin Worley. UT’s o-line versus OU’s pass rush was nowhere near a fair fight. Worley did a solid job of making something out of nothing when harassed on dropbacks, which was often. He frequently climbed up in the pocket to elude the rush, only to find another Sooner defender there waiting to meet him.
*I’m declaring the Julian Wilson experiment a success. When called upon – more on this to come – he locked down on Vols receivers, including UT’s top-notch sophomore Marquez North.
By moving to cornerback, Wilson is making himself some scratch come draft time.
*A few very curious cases of the Sooner corners lining up in soft coverage and conceding yardage on key downs. It didn’t make much sense.
*Mike Stoops probably hasn’t received enough credit for the work he has done in cleaning up the fundamentals on D. Notably, just about every position on that side of the ball is tackling better than predecessors coached up by Brent Venables.
There are some notable exceptions, but the majority are coming through when asked to make stops in space. It was on display against UT, although, to be fair, the tackling did deteriorate a bit as the game wore on.