Quick Thoughts | Missouri State Postgame
– Charlie S
The Sooners dispatched the Missouri State Bears with little trouble tonight and the unquestioned star of the game was Spencer Rattler.
*** As I wrote in the ‘One on One’ feature earlier this week, there were three things I wanted to see out of Rattler tonight.
- Leadership Capabilities.
- The ability to make the correct read consistently in a timely fashion.
- Accuracy on the deep ball.
*** He crushed all three. Rattler’s stat line at halftime read:
Spencer Rattler 14/17 for 290 for an average of 17.1 with 4 touchdowns
*** The three incompletions were 2 drops (Rambo and Stogner) that would have been touchdowns. The other incompletion was on a play that I felt Wease was mugged. He very easily could have been perfect on the night.
*** Rattler didn’t hang his head, didn’t change his style and continued to encourage his teammmates. He was in complete control the entire time.
*** Marvin Mims speed makes the offense that much better. He is electric with the ball in his hands both as a receiver and as a returner. He has a chance to take multiple kicks to the house.
*** Hot Take: OU won’t miss Kennedy Brooks one bit if Seth McGowan remains healthy and Pledger and Stevenson return down the line.
*** The cobbled together offensive line did well enough. Swenson was forced into action by Harrison and Wilkins not being available. You hope to not see that happen again. I know the rushing yards are not what you wanted to see, however, when you have one back averaging close to 7 yards a carry with the 1’s in the game (McGowan) and your top two other running backs are out, the OL doesn’t take all the blame. I saw a lot of indecision on a few of the OU RBs not named McGowan. Some of you will bask the OL, and while it wasn’t a dragging by the OL, they kept Rattler clean for the most part and gave McGowan enough room to work. With 2 starters and a depth guy out, it was not a bad night.
*** Perrion Winfrey got banged for a personal foul, but his presence in the game was noticeable. He was living a large portion of his snaps in the backfield of Missouri State.
*** Sooners held Missouri State to 1 yard of offense in the first quarter and 37 total yards in the first half. That is with a shortened 2 deep and against an inferior offense, but my takeaway was the tackling was pretty clean and they were assignment sound for the most part.
*** The lack of turnovers in the first half had to really piss Alex Grinch off as OU had their hands on multiple balls. Woodi Washington and Asamoah dropped interceptions and I believe there was at least one other close call.
*** Speaking of Asamoah, really liked his game tonight. Came out hot with a TFL to start the game and was active all night.
*** Ugwoegbu got significant minutes as well and on one play, in particular, I liked what I saw in his lateral movement as he came in from the side and dropped the ballcarrier with authority. The hit on the QB in the second half is a taste of his potential. OU could be on to something there.
*** Sooners gave up a total of 137 yards on the night defensively. As noted above, most of that in garbage time (the entire second half)
*** Another thing OU can take away from tonight is the number of guys that got snaps. If you were suited up, I am pretty sure you got in the game.
*** Mikey Henderson is going to develop into a problem. Nice job getting his feet wet tonight. You got a glimpse of the weapon he can be for OU.
*** Overall, OU did what they were supposed to do. Now, head to conference play and get your guys healthy and keep away from contact tracing and they would be on the right track.
*** The offense will only get better (and will likely be one of the better offenses in the Riley era IMO) and the defense will get some guys back and continue to improve. Loved the tackling for the most part from the defense (sloppy series in the second half with DTY and Asamoah trying for the knockout blow instead of wrapping up).
*** Sooners finally got a turnover as DTY looked like he was fielding a fly ball to center field. Need to secure those other turnover opportunities though.
Covid Team Update
– Super K
I’ve checked with my sources and so far this week, have not heard of any new cases.
James tells me he has, so far, heard the same.
Team will test again tomorrow. Of course, last week we had cases arise on Tuesday due to a request by some players who felt they needed to be tested.
As you know OU had a few positive tests last week and quite a few contact traces. Really hit the freshmen hard.
While this may continue to be a bit of an issue in the early part of the season, the number of cases and by extension contact traces, should go down.
The Lincoln Riley Offense | 2020 Game 1
– Ryan Lewis
Coach Lincoln Riley entered his fourth season as the Oklahoma head coach this weekend and did very Lincoln Riley things. OU rolled to a 48-0 win against Missouri State. While it’s easy to sneer at the opponent, the Sooners manhandled an opponent they should have manhandled, which most of the rest of the Big 12 struggled to do.
The offense could have named their score on Saturday. Below is the points pace set by the offense by score.
7 – 0 (11:24 remaining) – OU on pace for 117 points
14 – 0 (9:48 remaining) – OU on pace for 162 points
21 – 0 (6:16 remaining) – OU on pace for 144 points
28 – 0 (4:28 remaining) – OU on pace for 160 points
31 – 0 (1:22 remaining) – OU on pace for 136 points
34 – 0 (11:10 remaining) – OU on pace for 108 points
41 – 0 (5:37 remaining) – OU on pace for 101 points
41 – 0 (halftime) – OU on pace for 82 points
It’s not that wild to think that OU might be on pace for over a hundred points at some point. But to still be on pace for 160 after four scores, or to still be on pace for 100 with five minutes until halftime… that’s a lot of scoring.
This is Coach Riley’s fourth starting quarterback in as many years. The first two won the Heisman, while the third placed 2nd in voting. In case the media hasn’t informed you enough times, this is his first non-transfer quarterback to have directly recruited to Norman, which apparently means the sky will fall and OU will never score again. Suffice it to say, that didn’t happen Saturday.
With the idea in mind that Coach Riley has operated four offenses under his scheme, although each with their own distinct flavor and quarterback, let’s look at how each of those offenses performed.
Each of Riley’s Heisman-level quarterbacks have slung the ball around with incredible efficiency. Baker Mayfield (2017), Kyler Murray, and Jalen Hurts all finished top ten in all-time single season QB rating. Let’s compare the Riley pass game through Game 1.
* Keep in mind that the starting quarterbacks weren’t the only ones to throw passes
It’s very interesting to see how heavily the 2017 and 2020 offenses leaned on the pass game in Game 1. While it does track with what we saw on Saturday, the offense gained most of its yards through the air.
Oddly, while all four offenses were highly efficient, this 2020 offense holds the lowest YPA and passer rating, along with the second-lowest YPC. At the risk of repeating myself, this includes all passes, not just those thrown by Spencer Rattler (his efficiency numbers were much higher). Also, 89% completion on 36 passes for that 2017 offense is just absurd. Go Baker.
While Riley’s quarterbacks get all the love, his run game is no joke. He has five 1,000 yard-rushers through three seasons (Rodney Anderson 2017, Kyler Murray 2018, Kennedy Brooks 2018, Jalen Hurts 2019, and Kennedy Brooks 2019), and Trey Sermon hit 947 yards in 2018.
To be fair to this year, let’s all acknowledge a few things. The offensive line was missing several key pieces (Anton Harrison, Stacey Wilkins, Andrew Raym, and EJ Ndoma-Ogar – and I probably forgot someone), the two presumed starters at running back (Sermon and Brooks) aren’t playing at OU this year, and the next two presumed starters (T.J. Pledger and Rhamondre Stevenson) were missing Saturday as well. That’s a lot working against the run game in Game 1.
Let’s look at the run game in each of his seasons.
This is certainly an area that 2020 already sticks out as being a bit behind. Seth McGowan certainly had a few impressive runs, but things were fairly quiet other than that. It also seems fair to speculate that opening up such a stout lead so early cause Coach Riley to call off the dogs earlier than usual, leading to fewer yards in that second half.
Regardless, the 2020 offense is 120 yards and 3 yards per rush behind behind the average of the group.
It’s time to look at the whole thing.
* The table shows passing (P), running (R), and total (T) offense. The Splits show shares of total plays and total yards. Scoring shows passing touchdowns, running touchdowns, and total points (which admittedly could have could on defense or special teams).
Here’s a really easy way to see how much OU leaned on the passing game on Saturday. Despite only rushing for half of the group average run yards, the 2020 offense wasn’t too far behind the other years in total yards. The yards per play is noticeably lower, although again the run game led the charge in bringing that rate down.
The splits are fascinating to me (I’m weird). Similar to the 2017 offense, the 2020 offense saw an almost exact even share of runs and passes in Game 1. Yet, again like the 2017 offense, the passing game generated most of the yards (by a lot). The 2018 and 2019 offenses held a very close split between passing and running yards.
It probably sounds like I’m trying to drag the run game through the mud; quite the contrary. Rather, it’s impressive to see that, despite missing half of the offensive line contributors and two of the top backs for 2020, the offense still managed to compare relatively well to the other years in points and yards. When the line and backfield are at full strength… watch out.
For all of the national pundits who were projecting OU to suddenly forget how to score without a transfer quarterback… sorry to disappoint. The Sooners appear ready to roll.
I included one more summary to address the fact that the starters were out in the second half. The table below shows the Total Stats look, but only for the first half.
This would be mostly with the starting quarterback playing. In 2020 and 2017, the starter did not play in the second half. In 2018, Austin Kendall came in on the very last drive of the first half. In 2019, Hurts played until late in the fourth quarter.
What really sticks out for 2020 is how far behind the others’ yards the team is, but how well they place in points. My takeaways from that are that the defense did their job in earning good field position for the offense (no first downs for Missouri State until mid second quarter), Marvin Mims had some nice returns to shorten the field, and the offense scored on every drive except for the one leading into halftime.