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SoonerTimes Home > SoonerTimes > OU Sports > Some things for OU to work on this offseason


Some things for OU to work on this offseason
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Triple Option
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 Posted: Mon Jan 11th, 2021 09:27 pm

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A few potential fixes before the 2021 season
By Allen Kenney Jan 11, 2021

After securing their sixth consecutive Big 12 championship in 2020, the Oklahoma Sooners should have their sights set higher in 2021. OU brings back most of the key pieces from the program’s most complete team in a decade. The Sooners finished the year third nationally in Offensive S&P+ and 15th in Defensive S&P+, both of which measure efficiency. Rather than seeking out major fixes, Lincoln Riley and the rest of the OU coaching staff will be smoothing over rough edges between now and kickoff in the fall. And what might those flaws be? Here are some to consider. In a major break from the past, more work seems necessary on the offensive side of the ball this year.

Quick game and screen passing
When a pandemic is screwing up your offseason and practice schedule, some of the finer points of your schemes aren’t going to be so fine. OU’s quick passing game looked like a casualty of the chaos in 2020. (We previously covered some of the issues.) Timing routes and screens require precision of execution that the Sooners seemed to lack. The perimeter blocking by the receivers also left a lot to be desired. Lastly, OU never really identified a make-something-happen guy throughout the year. To be fair, this part of OU’s offense rounded into shape as the season wore on. Of the items on this to-do list, this looks like the easiest fix.

Rattler’s pocket presence
Spencer Rattler’s ability to throw on the move is unparalleled in college football. Frankly, many NFL quarterbacks probably envy it. It would make sense that he might lean into that kind of skill. That could explain his apparent tendency to drift into trouble in the pocket. Rather than bailing on a clean pocket behind his offensive line, which is a common complaint about mobile QBs, Rattler sometimes messes it up on his own by floating. You don’t want to tinker too much with a prospect who can sling it like Rattler. He and Lincoln Riley will certainly look to buff these kinds of imperfections out of his game.

Adjusting to adjustments for GT counter
Scheming in football is an exercise in counterpunching. GT counter is OU’s knockout blow in the running game. We saw this season that defenses are learning how to punch back.

(See https://www.crimsonandcreammachine.com/2020/12/8/22157712/oklahoma-football-baylor-bears-defense-dave-aranda-run-game-rhamondre-stevenson-jalen-hurts.)
The good news is that Riley is already ahead on developing his own counters to the defensive counters. Don’t be surprised if Riley and offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh also try to get more meat-and-potatoes on the ground by relying on inside and outside zone blocking schemes.

Maximizing the safety and nickel group
Defensive coordinator Alex Grinch has made depth a priority for the OU defense. The Sooners have set up solid rotations across the unit with the glaring exception of safety. Free safety Patrick Fields rarely missed a snap throughout the ‘20 season. For most of the year, Brendan Radley-Hiles was in a similar position at NB, although Tre Norwood began to see more playing time at the spot late in the year. The strong safety position saw the most substituting over the course of the season, with Norwood often spelling Delarrin Turner-Yell. Norwood’s decision to leave for the NFL means Grinch won’t have the equivalent of a fourth starter to move around in the defensive backfield in ‘21, so identifying more depth is a must. First, however, OU needs to figure out how to get the most out of the nickel.

The reality is that OU has some flexibility with the nickel – or limitations, depending on how you look at it. For example, Bookie’s size makes him a liability in certain one-on-one matchups with some tight ends and can leave him vulnerable against downhill running schemes, but he can cover slot receivers. Should Grinch double down by working a player at NB with a similar skill set, such as Jaden Davis, and tailor his scheme accordingly? Or should the Sooners begin moving towards a more physical presence like JUCO transfer Justin Harrington? Perhaps the most intriguing option would be using Harrington in a Norwood-like role as a utility man. Once nickel gets sorted out, the other pieces on the back end should fall into place.


https://www.crimsonandcreammachine.com/2021/1/11/22224257/oklahoma-football-offseason-fixes-2021-lincoln-riley-alex-grinch-spencer-rattler

WishBone
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 Posted: Mon Jan 11th, 2021 11:07 pm

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How About " How to Put an opponent away when building a huge lead?"

Zgeo
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 Posted: Tue Jan 12th, 2021 01:19 am

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Second half play calling, not that I am complaining. But if we are looking at areas where there is an obvious need for improvement the second half performance is obviously one. I always thought the signals were easy to steal.

ClintA.Adams
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 Posted: Tue Jan 12th, 2021 03:15 am

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When in 2nd and short situations; you run the football. Don't convert and have a 3rd and short? Run again. I know all OCs do it but I fricking hate throwing deep just because you "think" you have a free pass on 2nd short. Three things happen when you pass on 2nd and short and 2.8 of them are bad!

OUBeliever56
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 Posted: Tue Jan 12th, 2021 01:40 pm

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I agree with what 'Triple Option' listed above but I have one thing to add.

The Sooner running game needs to have 3 or 4 plays that they can run on any down and in any place on the field. We need these GO-TO running plays that are money in the bank. They need to be reliable, fundamental and effective.

The OL needs to open holes on these plays, not shield block with the RB finding the hole. The hole needs to be wide enough that the RB is not touched until he is 4 or 5 yards beyond the LOS.

Last edited on Tue Jan 12th, 2021 02:10 pm by OUBeliever56

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 Posted: Tue Jan 12th, 2021 03:14 pm

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I would definitely agree with the last point about counters to the GT Counter. Florida acted like they had never seen it before, but it was certainly less effective in Big 12 play than in previous years.

I can't remember what coach said it - it might have been Leach - but regarding play design, he said something to the effect of "You should be able to run every play out of multiple formations & every base play should have at least 3 counters that have the same look, motion, & OL action so the defense can't key in on what you're doing."

Related to that, and this comes with practice time, study, and experience, is to give Rattler a little more freedom to make adjustments/audibles at the line. If he sees the defense is going to crash hard on a GT Counter look, audible or have a "check with me" call to get into something to take advantage of what the defense is doing.


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