Not much about Oklahoma's 38-point throttling of Akron in the 2015 season opener surprised me.
There was the typical opening night sloppiness. OU's offense sputtered a little early on against a solid Zip defense, but the Sooners settled down and figured things out. Likewise, the OU defense ran roughshod over an offense that had no weapons to speak of.
All in all, I have to imagine Bob Stoops and the rest of the coaching staff are fairly pleased with what they saw Saturday night.
A few musings and observations:
*OU's offensive line didn't do much to dispel the idea that it will be a weak link to start the season. Akron's front seven has a few talented guys, but definitely not to the extent that they worked over the Sooners in both the running game and pass protection in the first half. The Zips eventually wore down, but OU still ran for only 3 yards per carry.
Tennessee has one of the best defensive lines in the country, and it looks unlikely that OU will have much success blocking them. Lincoln Riley will need to consider a game plan that involves getting the ball out of the quarterback's hands quickly.
*Speaking of the quarterback, can't ask for much more out of Baker Mayfield (23-33 attempts, 388 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs).
He had a tough time seeing the field early on, in part because he was facing a stiff pass rush. As the game wore on and he got better protection, Mayfield distributed the ball well to the Sooners' playmakers. Most importantly, he didn't force anything, which was a big issue for him in his one season at Texas Tech.
If Mayfield just lets the weapons at his disposal do their thing, this should work out well.
*The receivers clearly had some jitters in the first half, as evidenced by a few key drops. Once they got their bearings, they looked sharp. Dennis Simmons has to be particularly pleased with how the wideouts blocked.
*It speaks to the job that Jay Norvell did preparing his guys when Jarvis Baxter can walk into camp and pass them all in the span of a few weeks. To be fair, the slot receiver played really well against Akron, and he should offer a dependable target to help keep the chains moving.
*Not a ton to say about the running backs. Has to be frustrating when the holes aren't there. Joe Mixon did some damage catching the ball out of the backfield, but his biggest gain came off of badly blown coverage.
*The Sooners had Akron's offense so badly outclassed that I'm hesitant to get too amped about the performance of the defense.
*I'll be interested to see what Mike Stoops has come up with for the defensive front. It looked as though he had cooked up a few interesting wrinkles and was experimenting with personnel groupings.
*Charles Walker had a hell of a game at defensive tackle. He consistently disrupted the action in the Zips' backfield and displayed the kind of motor that the coaches want to coax out of him.
*Hatari Byrd laid the wood a few times, but he stands to lose his job if he can't cover more ground. Byrd looks the part, though.
*Hopefully we've seen the end of Sterling Shepard as a punt returner. In general, however, the punt return unit stunk.
*On the other hand, Austin Seibert lived up to billing.