1. The Setting
Good Guys: Texas Tech Red Raiders (3-3, 1-2)
Bad Guys: Oklahoma Sooners (4-2, 3-0)
When: Saturday, October 22nd at 7:00 pm
Where: Jones AT&T Stadium; Lubbock, Texas
TV/Stream: FOX (FOX Sports Go)
Radio/Stream: 97.3 FM | Affiliates | TuneIn App
2. Uniform Tracker
|Stephen F. Austin||W, 69-17|
|Arizona State||L, 68-55|
|Louisiana Tech||W, 59-45|
|Kansas State||L, 44-38|
|West Virginia||L, 48-17|
3. The Big Storyline
These are the toughest previews to write because this is supposed to be an evenly matched game where you’re at least somewhat confident that the two teams are going to battle it out in a relatively evenly matched game. Well, I’m not sure that this is the case with this game; however, I think this may be the worst match-up on the remaining schedule (depending on how Baylor shakes out when they get to the tougher part of their schedule).
Oklahoma presents a handful of issues that I think will make it very difficult for Texas Tech to overcome and Kansas State and West Virginia provided a blueprint for how teams, teams like Oklahoma, who have the athletes that maybe other teams don’t, to disrupt Texas Tech on offense to the tune of 17 points or something like that.
We’ll get to Oklahoma in a second, but we should also address the elephant in the room, which is the return of Baker Mayfield to Lubbock since he was kicked out of Chimy’s for being underage, which was really blamed on Jace Amaro (I think) when he wasn’t the one that did anything wrong, he just happened to be there. In any event, Mayfield really has turned out to be a pretty good quarterback and it’s really not a surprise that he is pretty good. I’ve mentioned before that his biggest issue is that Mayfield tries to do too much. He tried to do too much at Texas Tech and when he plays within what Lincoln Riley wants him to do, he’s much better. Lean on that running game, don’t take off and run as much and find guys who can make plays for you. You prop up all of those other guys and they’ll play their ass off for you. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I am indifferent about Mayfield’s return. There are much bigger things that I’m worried about than a former player playing against Texas Tech.
As to those bigger things, all of the things that I mentioned last week have to come to fruition. The offensive line has to do a better job of protecting Patrick Mahomes. Patrick Mahomes has to get rid of the ball sooner. Mahomes has to find guys and those guys need to work their ass off to get open. If Dylan Cantrell and Derrick Willies can play, then I think this offense is significantly better. If not, then I worry. The screen game should be a significant player on Saturday and that means if those wide receivers aren’t going to catch the danged ball, then they better block their tails off.
The defense. Oh, the defense. If the defense isn’t going to get any pressure on the quarterback, then they have to shore up the run. Oklahoma will do a shit-ton of play-action pass because it works really well when you have a running game that’s terrific.
4. One Key Stat
I remember looking at the stats for the Sooner defense and it was unbelievable how good they were. Right now, just traditional stats wise, has the Sooners as the 100th best scoring defense, 74th best total defense and 111th best passing efficiency defense. I think there is definitely some room to play against the Sooners, the line just has to give Mahomes a bit more time and the wide receivers need to show up.
5. What to Watch on Offense
Pretty standard from Oklahoma on this play. Notice that they do run in 11 personnel quite often, 1 running back and 1 tight end.
What works so well for the Sooners is the play action. Notice that you’ve got Malik Jefferson pausing right there on the left end to make sure that he doesn’t need to make a play on the running back and you’ve got one linebacker just standing there not completely sure if it’s a run or a pass just yet. I think all of the plays that I clipped had Dede Westbrook gaining huge yards on a deep pass and because he’s one-on-one at the bottom of the cap, that’s probably what happened.
In the next play, it’s a good formation, the tight end is lined up as an h-back, Mayfield is in the shotgun, but has a running back even further out and a blocking back.
This play does take some time to develop, but it’s a play-action to Perine, the tailback and notice that you’ve got five Longhorn defenders trying to rush Mayfield, one defender running with the fullback that’s breaking into a route, and two defenders just standing there not sure if Perine has the ball. That probably means that Mayfield is going to the side of the ball where 1) the receiver is open; or 2) where the safety hasn’t committed, because he’s going to have to pick a side.
6. What to Watch on Defense
We start with a pretty standard look for the Oklahoma defense. Rushing three and essentially four linebackers / coverage guys with one safety over the top. Texas really has done a good job of getting deep when they can, but that’s a difficult trick to complete on a regular basis.
Notice though how the linebackers and I’d guess one coverage player, maybe a hybrid are all flooding the middle of the field. Texas likes to run very wide receivers, so OU essentially chose to keep those guys on an island for the most part. Still, not a ton of push from the Oklahoma defensive line. Hopefully that continues.
The next play is similar in nature. Three down linemen and three linebackers. Tell me where you’ve heard this story before. It’s zone coverage, notice how the defensive back at the bottom of the screen is covering.
It’s a zone read sort of play and the UT running back is looking at all of that green space wondering how far before someone from the OU side comes to tackle him. Notice though how the UT line has done a terrific job of sealing the line. There’s one linebacker out there that is the only guy, other than the safety, that can make this play.
Via OddsShark the line currently sits at 14 and that’s probably about right. OU is a better team than Texas Tech and most likely by at least two touchdowns. As you can tell, I’m not feeling optimistic. The Sooners should be able to do as the please on offense and their defense, although it has struggled, can be passable. I am hoping that Texas Tech bracket’s Westbrook and makes someone else beat the Red Raiders.