A social obligation prevented me from watching much of OU’s overtime win versus Army live. Watching it after the fact, I had just a few observations.
*Frankly, I fall more in line with the idea that there isn’t much to take away from this performance. The service academies play a dramatically different style of ball than the vast majority of teams – OU hasn’t seen a real triple-option offense since 2010. I think that matters when it comes to game prep.
*Army came into the contest with a clear game plan aimed at draining the clock and hoping to make an extra play or two on the margins to pull off an upset. It damn near worked.
Conversely, I don’t get the impression that Lincoln Riley and his staff wanted to do much specifically for this game. They didn’t really install a special defensive scheme tailored to stopping Army’s offense. Instead, Mike Stoops ran OU’s base 3-4 alignment with two high safeties.
You’re rolling the dice that your player-to-player edge will win out with a game plan like that. On the flip side, the Sooners spent the week repping their base defense, not a special scheme that they won’t use again this season.
Honestly, I like that kind of confidence, even if it nearly burned Riley this time.
*Army averaged 4.36 yards per play on offense versus OU. Since the start of the 2016 season, that is the Black Knights’ fourth-lowest per-game rate. The Sooners more than doubled Army’s per-play average, gaining 8.88 yards a pop.
In case I haven’t mentioned it enough already, the Black Knight’s game plan to capitalize on the contrast in styles of play paid off handsomely. In fact, you could argue that OU would have benefited from taking more time to score.
*If there is one theme that has carried over in the last two weeks, OU seems exposed on defense when teams run off the edge. Defensive ends/outside linebackers are getting creased inside to open up clear running lanes on the perimeter.
*Get that it’s easy to say in hindsight, but I hate it when coaches play for a field goal late in the game. Riley could have managed the situation to try to get six on OU’s final drive, but he put the game on Austin Seibert instead. You can’t trust college kickers enough to expect them to come through in those situations when a TD is there for the taking.
*I wrote about some of my takeaways overall from the defense through the first four games for Athlon.