Oklahoma Pass vs. Alabama Pass Defense
Sooners started slow last week, but eventually got the wagons
rolling by the second quarter. Jason White ended up catching
fire, throwing for 248 yards and three TDs. They did this
by spreading the ball around and hitting the underneath and
intermediate routes to ultimately set up the deep throw. Oklahoma's
receivers are quick and rather elusive in the open field,
so tackling will be a must for the 'Tide. OU will be working
against a smaller 'Bama secondary, so look for the Sooners
to exploit that advantage, especially in the red zone.
has to create a decent pass rush and rattle Jason White. They
only sacked USF's elusive QB once, and the Bulls run a similar
style of offense to that of the Sooners. The Tide might even
try to send their quick LBs on stunts, and this is where and
when I expect OU to go after them with both crossing patterns
and screens (both RB and WR). The 'Bama secondary, though
undersized, is quick and has good reactions to the ball and
play-calls. Expect OU to hit the sidelines early, setting
up some hitch-and-go routes, and they will score on at least
one of these, mark it down! Look for big games from WRs Brandon
Jones and Mark Clayton.
Alabama Pass vs. Oklahoma Pass Defense
QB Brodie Croyle was a bit erratic in the start of last week's
contest. But he picked things up as the game grew on. Then
again, last week he wasn't playing the best defense in the
country. The Sooners' pass defense came into this season with
exuberant expectations and look to put that billing to its
first real test this Saturday. Croyle and the 'Bama passing
offense found their stride by hitting the middle of the secondary,
then coming back to the sidelines, utilizing a healthy mix
of routes that eventually tired the USF pass defenders. This
is a much quicker, nastier defense, especially in the pass
rush. The Sooners have eight D-linemen they can rotate, and
all are capable, especially when fresh, of putting heat on
the Tide have going for them is this- OU faced a terrible
passing team last week (North Texas) that only managed 75
yards through the air. This could play in Alabama's favor
early, if they properly execute their passing strategy. It
might take the Sooners a quarter to get back to defending
well against a legitimate passing attack, but a quarter is
all it will take. The Sooners are too deep in the back-seven,
so I expect that pass rush to bring Croyle to the ground many
times and account for (at least) five sacks. Look for the
Sooners to cause three (or more) turnovers and shut down the
Tide on 3rd down conversion attempts.
Oklahoma Run vs. Alabama Run Defense
Slight Edge: Oklahoma
will make a more concentrated effort on running the football
this week. They played a sloppy game against North Texas and
had to deal with rainy conditions on a muddy field. It looks
to be much of the same this week, but they will be going against
a similarly tough run defense. Learning from last week's trials,
the Sooners should be prepared for this one.
has three backs who can motor. We might see more of Kejuan
Jones and Donta Hickson, as Reynaldo Works was hobbled last
week. The use of all three will be advised, in order to keep
a fresh and healthy backfield. The Tide allowed just 50 yards
rushing a week ago and has shown great lateral movement, so
look for the Sooners to run between the tackles, with an emphasis
on hanging onto the football. We should also see some draw
plays to bring the 'Bama secondary in close, setting up the
possibility of some deep middle throws. This battle might
be a stalemate when all is said and done.
Alabama Run vs. Oklahoma Run Defense
Slight Edge: Alabama
know this is Oklahoma we're talking about, but I like 'Bama
to see marginal success in the run game, at least early on.
Much attention will be paid to their aerial assault, so that
puts added responsibility on Shaud Williams, Ray Hudson and
Kenneth Darby. The 'Bama offensive line will open holes for
this group, so it will be important for them to read their
blocks well and accelerate quicker than ever. It's been proven
that if you hesitate for one second, this defense will eat
again, did not face a tough run game last week and could find
themselves lulled a little bit before waking up in the second
quarter. The 'Tide need to take advantage of this right away
and move the ball downfield with offensive balance and establish
success with the running game. I think 'Bama will hold their
own in the run game, but will need to throw the ball successfully
to beat this Sooner defense. I just don't see that happening,
Sooners carry one of the best special teams units in the country.
In week one, kicker Trey DiCarlo was perfect on all seven
attempts he made (3 FGs, 4 PATs), punter Blake Ferguson averaged
41 yards, and the coverage teams were spectacular. If you're
sound in these three areas, you're most likely going to win
the special teams battles.
should slow down the return units and put the explosiveness
of Shaud Williams ('Bama) and Antonio Perkins (OU) in check.
DiCarlo is a solid kicker and Bostick on the other side is
a bit erratic. I'll take OU, but I don't expect special teams
to be a deciding factor in this one.
Sure, the Sooners are the easy pick, but there is a reason
for that- they are just that damn good! Bob Stoops has coached
in countless big games - he is the teacher. Mike Shula has
coached in only one game, period! Ergo, he is the pupil. This
game should be close for the first half, but I expect Oklahoma
to run away big in the second half.
will use their passing game to throttle their dominance, and
that is really all they'll need. The ground game will poke
its head when needed, but against this aggressive 'Bama D,
throwing the ball is how you beat them. Oklahoma played on
a wet field last week, so they should be more prepared for
this week if conditions present themselves similarly. Bama
played on a dry field under a blue sky, so they might lose
a step or two in the mud.
won't be able to throw against this defense, something they
simply must do. We'll see a good balance of running and passing
in the first half, but the Sooners will eventually take away
that run game to show Brodie Croyle that nightmarish pass
rush and suffocating secondary coverage. Not sure even Don
Shula could beat the Sooners with this out-manned 'Bama squad.
OU rolls (slight pun intended) to victory.
Chappy's Pick: Oklahoma 34 Alabama 14.