Oklahoma played a much better overall game against a weaker opponent in the Sooners' 69-13 win against Florida A&M. Things get exponentially tougher in two weeks.
Can the execution improvement "score" rise to match the opponent strength "score" that Kansas State represents?
Good (Quite a Bit of Which was Great)
*Kenny Stills – Firmly establishing himself as the No. 1 wide receiver. Stills had another great game, highlighted by his one-handed catch down the middle and his touchdown catch on 3rd and goal from the 17 in the end zone. If Stills keeps up this level of play, he's gone to the NFL.
*Damien Williams – His TD/carry average must lead the nation right now. Williams showed power, speed and vision in a great second game as a Sooner.
He's looking like the best weapon at running back since Demarco Murray – ceiling looks pretty high.
*Justin Brown – Providing the best "big/power" punt returner for OU since JT Thatcher. Brown's doing an excellent job getting upfield, breaking some tackles and then showing a good burst for yards.
*Offensive line – OL had a very solid game. Landry Jones had time to throw (one sack allowed, which was more 'Stache running into a tackle), and running lanes were there pretty much all game. In the third quarter, the OL just completely dominated. WR and FB blocking were also excellent – lots of the big runs were made possible by excellent WR blocking. Millard was just killing folks, and while he doesn't have a catch yet, Durron Neal absolutely killed the FAMU DB on Roy Finch's TD run.
*Brannon Green – looks like a much better pass receiver than he was advertised in recruiting. With a nickname of Moose and his blocking tight end rep, I wasn't expecting solid hands and good athleticism on his route running.
*Great debut for Sterling Shepard – Shepard's going to be a big-time WR for OU. Just a matter of time. In fact, OU could probably leave Shepard at the slot and move Stills outside at times if they want.
*A lot of defensive backups got work – Jordan Phillips and Marquis Anderson at defensive end, Charles Tapper and Michael Onuoha at defensive end, Franklin Shannon and Aaron Franklin at linebacker, Gary Simon and Julian Wilson at cornerback. For the most part, the backups did a nice job, playing solid D:
- Philips flashed his potential to be a force inside at DT.
- Onuouha nearly decapitated the FAMU QB on a great pass rush.
- Tapper stayed at home on some outside running plays.
- Anderson showed a good burst getting pressure on the QB and getting a sack.
- These reps will be very valuable to OU down the line.
*Third-down defense was again excellent – Mike Stoops' D is doing a good job of getting pressure on third down, and coverage was solid. FAMU's QB probably scrambled out of four sacks. Bigger tests are coming for the secondary as the year goes on.
*Best game in a while from Brennan Clay – He's running so much better now that he is healthy, and his pass protection skills are excellent.
*Signs that Trey Metoyer and Brown are close to breaking out – Great catch by Brown on the deep pass in the first half, as well as a great catch by Metoyer on the TD.
The (Slightly) Bad
*OU is still starting slow on offense – It was less obvious than last week at UTEP, but it's there.
*Jones is still not in sync with the WR corps – He's still locking onto the slot and Stills. On the interception, he missed two open WRs, forcing the ball to Stills. For the bulk of the first half, his completion percentage was in the 50s. It got better as the game went on, but he's still giving NFL guys a lot of film to shred his NFL draft status.
*Big pass TD for FAMU – The kind of play that Brent Venables' defense had been giving up. Now, it was blown assignment by backup safety Jesse Paulsen, but it was still depressing to see.
*Run defense – FAMU didn't have the running attack of UTEP, and the run defense was much better than last week. Yet, OU is still vulnerable to RBs bouncing plays to the outside. This is a concern with the power running game of KSU and the Wildcats' zone read game.
*Defensive interior – The push on running plays is still hit or miss. OU needs Casey Walker next to McFarland and David King back at DE on early downs against the Wildcats.
The (Occasionally) Ugly
*Kenny Stills' dropped TD pass – Pretty bad.
*Critical penalties – OU has to stop the tendency to draw critical flags derailing big offensive plays and drives. OU overcame one of them with a great pass to Stills, but 2nd and 22 is usually leading to a punt.
*Jones' INT and almost INT were bad – Like "WTF is he doing?" bad.
*Dom Whaley's fumble – He's working his way back into game shape, that much is obvious. Fumbling combined with Williams' breakout potential could lead to a major reduction in Whaley's playing time.
*Missed PAT – Hopefully, Michael Hunnicutt has that nonsense out of his system for the year.
*Tony Jefferson's ankle injury. Hopefully, it is not serious. The defense needs him out there. He's the leader in the secondary.