Nebraska | Official Visitors
– Charlie S – Posted on: September 14, 2021
The Sooners take on Nebraska this weekend and they are planning on hosting a nice handful of official visitors.
Expected to be in Norman on official visits:
*** DB Gentry Williams (6’0 170) out of Tulsa, OK
*** OL Kam Dewberry (6’4 313) out of Humble, TX
*** WRB Raleek Brown (5’8 185) out of Santa Ana, CA – OU Commit
*** DB Xavion Brice (6’1 175) out of Arlington, TX – OU Commit
*** DB Robert Spears Jennings (6’1 195) out of Broken Arrow, OK – OU Commit
*** DL Cedric Roberts (6’3 275) out of Pflugerville, TX – OU Commit
Obviously, Kam and Gentry will be the guys you have your eyes on but this is also a huge visit for Raleek Brown as OU looks to extend their advantage here and put a lasting vision in his mind.
We also expect a bunch of unofficial visitors as I mentioned last week, ’23 DB target Micah Tease is planning on coming in.
USC Change Impact on Sooners | Williams and Brown
– Super K – Posted on: September 14, 2021
Among the Sooners six official visitors this weekend are Raleek Brown and Gentry Williams.
And, it would seem that the events transpiring at USC may impact the Sooners. As you know, USC dismissed head coach, Clay Helton.
***The biggest threat to Oklahoma for flipping Raleek Brown has been USC. While the proximity to home and Raleek’s new baby girl remains something that could impact things in the end, the instability can’t help USC in this situation.
***Based on what I’ve heard, the Sooners are in wait-and-see mode when it comes to pursuing any additional DBs. They want to first see where things stand with Gentry Williams. Williams will take his official visit to OU this upcoming weekend.
As I’ve previously noted, while Williams has strong relationships with the USC staff, including and especially interim head coach, Donte Williams, that may be the very reason this uncertainty gives OU an edge.
Additionally, there were already concerns from folks around Williams about him going so far from home.
It’s worth going back and looking at our most recent complete update from back in early August (here) on Williams to see how the trend towards OU may get stronger after this weekend. Something we noted back then…
I don’t want to go as far as to say OU will land Gentry just yet but I will say that after this last visit, my read of our phone conversation is that he is genuinely torn now. That is a big step forward from our previous conversations where it just felt like USC had built a fairly sizable lead. I think OU has closed that gap quite a bit and if they’ve got the parents on their side, that certainly doesn’t hurt.
Gabriel Dindy | Post Visit Vibe
– Super K – Posted on: September 15, 2021
As you know, Sooners 5-star DL target and legacy, Gabriel Dindy took his official visit to OU this past weekend.
Following the visit we noted (here) that there has been an update to Dindy’s timeline and he is now likely to make his announcement in mid-October.
Back in August, I gave the slight edge to OU over TAMU in this one. Here are my thoughts following the visit.
***What Dindy’s father said about the visit felt promising, especially as it relates to the relationship they have with the staff.
“The closeness that we’ve developed with coach Riley, coach Thibs, and the rest of the crew definitely reached an even higher level. We’ve got the utmost respect for coach Riley and the way he does things”.
***Dindy’s father added that they feel good about Gabriel being entrusted to Riley and the Sooners.
“We have no doubts whatsoever that he’s (Riley) got Gabriel’s best interest in mind. His investment in Gabriel as an individual, a student, a player, and most importantly, as a spiritually driven young man is awe-inspiring.”
***That last part about coach Riley being someone who understands the importance of Gabriel’s spiritual convictions stands out to me.
***Reggie Grimes hosted Dindy and I think that was a perfect pairing. Grimes is a great young man and having spent time with both Grimes in high school and Dindy, I definitely see that as the right personality fit. Keep in mind that Grimes led church services in high school.
***Here’s the thing, it feels like the Sooners are in a good spot but based on what I’ve heard from sources, it doesn’t appear that the Dindy’s informed OU of their decision. That gives me some pause…
***Dindy’s father did say that they’d like to have a family discussion after the trip. And that may be the reason they didn’t say anything to OU. But as you’ll recall, Dindy’s father had previously told me (prior to the trip) that Gabriel already had a strong sense of which way he was leaning. Might not be anything, but it feels like they’re waiting on something.
***It is noteworthy that TAMU is trying to get the Dindy’s in on a visit for October 9th when they host Alabama. Dindy’s father didn’t confirm if they will be taking that visit. However, it’s hard to ignore the fact that they have a decision date that is right after that weekend trip.
***I remain uncertain about this one but I look at it this way. There is a lot to give the Sooners confidence – he’s a legacy, the relationships are strong, OU is a great program, they’ve taken their time and done multiple visits, etc. So, the easy answer is, he goes to OU.
***But I have this nagging feeling that if it was that easy, why does TAMU remain in the mix? Why not just commit? TAMU is a good program but in terms of winning tradition, not comparable to OU. If the fight was between say OU and Clemson, I’d get it. TAMU doesn’t really have the SEC advantage anymore.
***Having said that, I think the draw to TAMU is also the relationship he has with the coaching staff. But it is hard to ignore the fact that the family will be residing in College Station area.
***Is Dindy OU bound? That seems like the obvious move. Or is all of this to give OU a fair shot and in the end, TAMU wins? If they make that trip to TAMU for Alabama, we may have our answer.
***Having said all that, I’m going to keep my trending pick towards OU. Maybe 60/40, Sooners. Just hard to see OU losing a legacy.
Injury Update | Woodi Washington
– Charlie S – Posted on: September 16, 2021
One injury that went largely unnoticed last week was to Sooners cornerback Woodi Washington.
It was not until Monday that we were even aware of an injury that K first reported HERE.
‘***Also, hearing that Woodi Washington has been dealing with lingering lower-body pull. Again, it’s one of those things that if you don’t rest it, it can continue to be a problem. Probably safe to say he’s week to week.’
Want to pass along an update that we are now hearing Woodi is expected to be out for an extended period of time.
Know Your Opponent | Nebraska
– Charlie S – Posted on: September 15, 2021
Head Coach: Scott Frost (4th season)
Defensive Coordinator: Erik Chinander (4th season)
Offensive Coordinator: Matt Lubick (2nd season)
The Huskers head to Norman sitting at 2-1 on the season. They lost their opening game to Illinois and followed that up with wins over Fordham and Buffalo.
It is all about quarterback Adrian Martinez. It’s really that simple.
Martinez is the teams leading passer and is also the leading rusher.
If Frost could somehow scheme a way for him to catch his own passes, I am pretty sure he would be the teams leading receiver as well. (Only sort of kidding)
So far this year, Martinez has stayed away from throwing interceptions, but the Huskers have put the ball on the ground a bit early in the season. Martinez has fumbled at least twice (there is a missing fumble for Nebraska that I cannot attribute to anyone and I’m not really gonna dig to find that out…so…) and lost one of them to the opposition.
Martinez has completed 46 out of 74 passes for 728 yards and 4 touchdowns.
He has run 34 times (leads the team) for 256 yards (exactly double the rushing yards of the next closest guy) for an average of 7.5 YPC with a long of 75 yards and 3 touchdowns.
He is their main offensive weapon.
Other offensive players of note:
*Markese Stepp – Sophomore running back – has the second most carries for the Huskers. The USC transfer has run the ball 30 times through the first two games for 128 yards and a touchdown.
*Gabe Earvin Jr – Freshman running back – has 22 carries for 89 yards and 2 touchdowns
*Sevion Morrison (Oklahoma native) Freshman running back – is getting some carries as he has 17 carries for 55 yards.
*Samori Toure – Senior wide receiver – is the Huskers biggest receiving threat through the early part of the season as he has 13 receptions for 306 yards which is good for a 23.5 YPC with a long of 68 yards and 2 touchdowns.
*Oliver Martin – Junior wide receiver – is not expected to play and he was second on the team among WRs with 6 catches
*Austin Allen – Junior tight end – is the next leading receiver with 7 catches and he is questionable for the game.
The offensive line could best be described as ‘sturdy’ in my opinion. They are physically a large group which is not all that athletic across the board.
*Turner Corcoran – Freshman – is probably their most athletic guy along the line and he gets the start at left tackle. Against Illinois, he looked a bit heavy footed and unsure of himself, but in the highlights from the following games, he looked like he was moving a little better.
*Overall the line is pretty young. In addition to Corcoran you have RSFr Ethan Piper (LG), Soph Cam Jurgens (C), Jr Matt Sichterman (RG) and RSFr giant Bryce Benhart (6’9 330) (RT).
The offensive line has two jobs: 1. Keep Martinez on his feet long enough to get off a quick throw or 2. Create just enough time and a small window for Martinex to get through to the second level of the Sooners defense where he can use his open field running ability to make guys miss.
Martinez running untouched into the second level of the Sooners defense is the stuff nightmares are made of for OU fans. The OU defensive line, particularly the interior, needs to remain assignment sound and maintain gap integrity.
Up front, the Huskers run out some big bodies in their 3 man front and they get most of their pressure from their linebackers.
The defense has only produced 4 sacks so far and of those sacks, only half a sack is attributed to the defensive line.
*Ben Stille – Sr DT (6’5 295) – Damion Daniels – Jr NT (6’3 325) – Ty Robinson – RSFr DT (6’6 305) form quite a wall for sure, but they tend to be susceptible to big plays on the edges as they are not the most athletic bunch and that puts a lot of pressure on the backers and the secondary in run support.
*Luke Reimer (So) and Nick Heinrich (RSFr) are the inside backers for Nebraska and they lead the team in tackles over the first 2 games.
The Husker defense has forced 4 interceptions so far. Reimer has one of thos picks from his LB spot and the other 3 belong to the DBs.
*Deontai Williams – Sr safety – has two of the picks and is playing really well. At 6’1 205 he has good size and nice length and is the 3rd leading tackler and leads the team in passes defended.
*JoJo Domann – Sr NB – is a load at 6’1 230 who plays basically like a SAM backer. (Kind of what I always thought Grinch would do with the NB). He has the other interception for the Huskers this year and is one of the top 5 tacklers on the team.
Overall I like the Huskers secondary and I think the defense as a whole is solid. The inside backers are what makes them go and it will be important for the OU offensive line to get to the second level in the run game and disrupt them while it will also be important for the backs to pick them up on their pressure attempts.
Typically I say something like ‘This one will come down to the trenches’ and while I do agree with that in large part, I think this one is even more simple in that it comes down to OU containing Adrian Martinez on defense and focusing and finding success on the edges offensively.
I may sound like an alarmist in my concern about Martinez, but his feet are what concern me the most as I would not feel comfortable seeing him repeatedly put himself in one on one situations against the second level of OU’s defense. If that happens, this one could be another drama filled affair that ends up being much closer than it should be.
On paper, this game should reflect the current spread…some 20+ points in favor of Oklahoma. I don’t really have many concerns about OU not being able to move the ball and put up points offensively. I feel comfortable in saying OU will put up north of 38 points.
My concern is how effectively OU can contain Martinez after they get pressure on him. In other words, he scares the bejeezus out of me on improvised plays where he gets loose in the second level of OU’s defense.
I feel like this one is going to be a blowout or a nail-biter…no in between.
One On One | Nebraska
– Charlie S – Posted on: September 16, 2021
The Sooners are back in action, bright and early, on Saturday morning as they take on Nebraska at home!
While the Sooners are a prohibitive favorite, there are a couple ‘One on One’ matchups that stand out to me in regard to the outcome of the game.
As you all know, Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez has been a focus throughout the lead-up to the game both from us here at TFB and the coaching staff. So he has already been covered and he really is a ‘One on Eleven’ matchup as he will likely cause some issues for every player on the Sooners defense based on his running ability and improvision. You already know he is a focal point for Oklahoma. No need to beat that horse.
I am going to focus on a couple of other ‘One on One’ matchups that stick out to me.
One on One Number One:
Oklahoma cornerback DJ Graham vs Nebraska wide receiver Samori Toure
Through the Huskers first three games, Toure has been their top receiver and really their biggest offensive threat outside of Martinez.
Toure has 13 receptions for 306 yards which is good for 23.5 yards per reception. He has a long of 68 yards with 2 touchdowns. Not bad work.
On the other side, with Woodi Washington likely out, you have DJ Graham as the leader of the corners so it will be up to him to set the tone with coverage on Toure. Yes, the Sooners do not typically match up based on player (they play sides of the field) so it won’t solely be about Graham and Toure as Jaden Davie, Latrell McCutchin, Josh Eaton and Justin Harrington will all likely match up with Toure at different points throughout the game but Graham is the guy I am focusing on.
Through the first two games, the Sooners corners have been…’OK’. After watching the Sooners play Tulane and Western Carolina multiple times, I cannot recall a true pass breakup. On the stat sheet I see a few ‘passes defended’ and the one interception for OU (which came courtesy of a bad pass directly to safety Bryson Washington). This is a bit concerning for me as I can recall seeing too many coverage busts and too many guys shaking off the Sooners coverage efforts and running free.
As I noted during the Tuesday presser…Sooners defensive coordinator Alex Grinch was giving off some serious ‘Pre-Tulane’ vibes in the sense that he was visibly concerned about his defense and as I mentioned at the time, he was pretty salty about the play of his corners.
Graham is the guy I need to see take that step and become something closer to a lockdown corner than he (or any other corner for that matter) has shown through the first two games for OU. Those guys from Tulane and Western Carolina who were running free but dropping passes are not on the field. Toure (and some other Huskers) will make those catches more often than not.
With Martinez’s ability to extend plays, the Sooners corner play really needs to step up or OU could be in for a long, drama-filled day.
One on One number two:
Sooners centers Robert Congel and Andrew Raym vs Nebraska nose guard Damion Daniels
I was close to going with Sooners QB Spencer Rattler against Nebraska safety Deontai Williams, but that was too easy as you all know it is important for Spencer to be on his game every week in order for the Sooners to excel offensively.
The issue with Daniels is…he is an absolute load at 6’3 325 and he has a pretty impressive first step off the line.
Daniels and his fellow defensive tackles have the ability to clog the middle up in the run game and if he can get some penetration, the Sooners edge game will be impacted.
In years past, this is the kind of defensive line that the Sooners offensive line has particularly thrived against. The big, slower type of defensive lines have allowed the Sooners counter game to flourish as they typically have the athletic offensive linemen to take advantage of the larger less mobile guys.
Right now, I see that same advantage for Oklahoma on paper, but Creed Humphrey isn’t coming out of that tunnel for OU and Congel and Raym have yet to be tested (as Sooners) against this sort of defensive line. Yes, Tulane threw a big line out at OU and the Sooners did well enough against them, particularly in pass protection, but the run game was not really clicking for OU in game one.
I want to see how the centers deal with the size and strength of the Nebraska interior DL and that starts with the center/nose guard matchup. It is important for the entire offense that the Sooners keep making strides in the run game and this will be a pretty good test to see the progress (or lack thereof) that has been made since the Tulane game.
If Congel and/or Raym can take the advantage over Daniels, the Sooners should find success in the run game both inside and on the edges. If OU needs to scheme some double teams and such to handle Daniels, it just makes their day that much more difficult.