Against ULM, the Sooners received a much-needed infusion of execution from their playmakers on offense and a good effort again by the starting defense in the in the first half. The second half was all about a glimpse into the future, and at times it was very bright. Now onto the Buckeyes and reclaiming OU’s season.
The Very Good
Samaje Perine, Joe MIxon, Baker Mayfield, Mark Andrews and Dede Westbrook appear to give OU as many playmakers as any team in college football.
- Andrews is going to be the next great Sooner tight end. It seems like all he does is catch touchdowns.
- A blasphemous idea is starting to take root: Joe Mixon might be a better overall running back than Samaje Perine. Crazy, I know, but Mixon is so dangerous in so many phases of the game.
- Perine looked like his normal self, and OU did not overwork him.
- Westbrook continues to show great moves on swing passes, plus he has the ability to find some space downfield.
- Finally, Mayfield took advantage of his options deep and on check downs, taking what the ULM defense could not cover. The goal line pass to Dmitri Flowers was a thing of beauty in direction and execution.
The co-stars showed up consistently.
- A.D. Miller made some plays at outside wide receiver. So did Geno Lewis, helping to move the sticks. Mayfield got Miller involved, in particular.
- Flowers made his usual plays blocking, and his receiving ability should continue to be integrated into the offense as the competition level increases.
OU rested a lot of starters on Saturday. A host of new faces got in on the action on defense, including Ricky DeBerry, Kapri Doucet, Emmanuel Beal, Caleb Kelly, Neville Gallimore, Amani Bledsoe, Parnell Motley, Will Sutherland and Kenneth Mann.
With the game out of reach in the second half , the only starter on the field was linebacker Jordan Evans. Sometimes, it was ugly, with some secondary breakdowns. Other times, it was awesome seeing Gallimore flying to the ball and attacking QBs while Kelly was playing sideline to sideline. DeBerry got a sack and showed some game in spelling Obo.
Find some reliable corners from the talent on campus, and the future looks bright on defense.
New offensive talent
The future looks bright on offense as well.
- Austin Kendall got a vital entire half of football on Saturday, and overall his debut was pretty good. He showed nice accuracy, a strong arm and better-than-advertised mobility. His TD throw to Miller was maybe the best fade by an OU QB in forever, and his quick pass to Mead for the second TD was a nice play. So far, Lincoln Riley appears to have chosen well in recruiting Kendall and in developing the Sooner back-up QB.
- While Mixon and Perine were eating hot dogs, Abdul Adams flashed his future as possibly the next great Sooner RB. There’s speed, moves and great hands out of the backfield.
- Adams' appearance was slightly overshadowed by touted wideout Mykel Jones finally hitting the field. Jones has it. He’s scary quick, with the kind of moves that remind Sooner fans of Mark Clayton, Ryan Broyles and Sterling Shepard.
Establishing an offensive line
The rumored preseason starting five of Orlando Brown, Cody Ford, Jonathan Alvarez, Dru Samia and Bobby Evans got a turn to start the game. It certainly appearsto be the OL that the Sooners should use. Samia seemed more effective at right guard than the other players who were tried out versus Houston.
NIck Basquine’s TD catch
It was a great moment for the walk-on WR and Sooner legacy (the son of former OU RB Anthony Stafford) to catch his first pass and score a TD as a Sooner.
Coverage issues still exist. ULM converted too many passing plays, but the Sooners were at least getting some hands on some passes. Still, the second cornerback position was still a struggle. Parrish Cobb and Michiah Quick both got chances and produced mixed results.
You have to wonder if OU should contemplate moving nickelback Will Johnson to CB, given the promise being demonstrated by Kelly and Doucet.
I hate singling out one player, but if Jeffrey Mead wants to continue getting chances, he needs to start making tougher plays for the ball and start using his height. There are big plays out there for him to make, but it feels like time is running out.
The busts by the second-team defensive backs in the third quarter were disappointing. First, a bust by either Cobb or Will Sunderland, then a bad tackling effort by Kahlil Haughton.
OU needs the kids with the DB numbers to start learning. And fast.