Trench Warfare | Oklahoma vs. TCU

Hey all!  Feels good coming off of a win doesn’t it!  I gotta admit that i’ve had a little bit more pep in my step than I had the last few weeks.  I usually post up in the garage to watch the games.  Man-Cub is usually snoozin’ in the afternoons after terrorizing Grandpa’s dog and Mama’s cats, so its usually wise for me to cuss at the TV where it doesn’t wake him up from his nap.  Nobody was safe during the Houston and Ohio State games, and early on in this one, the likelihood of surviving my company was slim at best.  My boys LT, Friendly-dawg and TFB’s own Seth McKenzie and I were texting back and forth, and needless to say, most of the content was nsfw as we watched the toads reel off a 21-7 early lead.  It appeared that the Frogs were going to run away with it but the guys just kept playin’.  Sometimes that’s all you can do…just keep playing.

Nobody can deny that the season has gotten off to a rough start by Oklahoma’s standards.  I am proud of the guys for sticking together and playing for each other.  I’ve heard a lot of negativity about this that and the other, but times like these are character builders and it’s why you hear all the time that you have to love the game.  If you’re a front-runner, then the next eight games don’t mean anything, but to anyone who invests the time and effort that these coaches and players have and do every day, then there’s a lot left to play for.  Frankly if you’re playing for anything other than your pride and each other, then you’re playing for the wrong reasons.  Sometimes each other is all you got…especially when all of the awards, college gameday and the hype machine leaves town.

My heart goes out to Tay Evans, and on a lesser note Cody Ford.  By all accounts they’re both great kids, and while Cody will be back next year and most likely will have a great career, Tay just played his last down.  I know how you feel bro.  There’s nothing like going to battle with your guys.  Keep your head up and live life, and know that you didn’t quit.  Don’t let it haunt you.


Jumping into the task at hand, the Sooners ran the ball 48 times and only threw 23 passes…and they put up 52 points.  They also held the ball about nine and a half minutes longer than TCU.  Both Samaje and Joe averaged around 6 yards per carry, and while Mixon had 16 carries with Perine getting 17, I’d like to see them get more.  This offense really, really hums off of play action.  It creates more space for the receivers, and it simplifies the reads for Baker.  I’d love to see both of those guys getting about 25 carries a piece.  That’s just the o lineman in me I suppose, but it was really good to see the big homies up front enjoying the game on Saturday

Early on in the game, the Frogs were daring the Sooners to run.  They came out with a double high safety look and only were putting six in the box against the Sooners.  I guess they thought that they’d be able to hold up.  It was good to see Riley notice it though and stick to the run game even when the Sooners got down a couple of scores.  Here you can see the whole line caved down from the left, and the linebacker who has the arrow above him has no chance to stop Perine.  Samaje is a guy you have to square up to bring down, and you can see the linebacker on a 45 degree angle.  Eight yards later and a footprint on his face he learned the hard way…



OU kept running this same play with different variations.  Someone who I thought played really well on Saturday was Dmitri Flowers.  At this point in the season it’s my opinion that the Sooners run the ball better when he’s in the game.  Here you can see Dalton pulling across for the kickout while Flowers is gonna get up in the hole on the backer with the green arrow.  Scheming to numbers, you can see the advantage left, and the unblocked blue arrow to the right doesn’t matter as he can’t get across the formation.  The safety has to come all the way across too, and this was a really good lookin’ play.



A tick later, you can see Samaje weaving his way up through the hole and gets it down to the four.  Powers has to get his hips around to the left(he’s just below the tip of the arrow), and I’d like to see Westbrook fly up and cut that free safety behind the umpire.  If he can cut that guy off, then Samaje walks in.  That Corner ain’t makin it across there in time, and an arm tackle aint cuttin it against Optimus.



Again, TCU was daring Oklahoma to run the football.  Down on the goal line with really only six guys in the box is screaming to get ran on.  The players I have circled are cheating out to the edges to cut off the screen game.  So again kudos to Coach Riley for sticking with it. That linebacker up top who’s circled takes away the slant to Andrews, and he also allows that Corner over Andrews to fly outside in case of a bubble call.  In this case the QB run is a really good call.



That’s exactly what Riley calls, and Flowers again pulls across the formation in a lead option look.



It’s a run/pass option, but the D-End is on too close to allow Baker to stand up and throw it.  It was a great athletic play by the TCU defender as he had crashed inside on the give.  Since the corner followed Andrews on the slant, it makes it an easy read for Baker to pull the ball and follow Flowers to the promised land.



I’ve said it a few times already, but up two scores and two safeties deep, TCU was begging Oklahoma to run the football with only six in the box.  The Sooners had six up front counting Flowers, and the back gives you a plus one, while the qb run game gives you a plus two.



Right on cue, the Sooners ran a counter back left and pulled Samia and Evans around to clear it out.  You can see that the hole is gaping and it just goes to show that if you run against alignment like Ohio State did a couple of weeks ago, you can really gash people.



Samaje does a nice job being patient, and the only person who can make the play on this is the safety who’s to the right of the umpire back on the 36 yard line.  That’s a lot of ground to cover against a freight train with feet.  You expect to win against 6 in the box, and the Sooners made them pay for it in a big way.



Sometimes as a play caller you just call the right stuff at the right time.  Joel Klatt circled the wrong guy as Baker’s read on the option is actually the D-End, not the safety.  Still though, you’ve got a double team on the A gap, and this block that Big O has here used to be my personal favorite as a player.  As that tackle, if the D-End crosses your face down inside, you wash him down.  You have to come straight off the ball to keep him out wide, but if that linebacker shoots that B gap (between you and the guard), you have to crash down inside hard and quick to prevent him from getting in the backfield.  What it results in if you set it up correctly, is a lot of kill shots on the linebacker.  Nothin better than earholing the most loudmouth position group on the field over and over again.



Like I said before, this is just a perfect call.  It’s a lead option left with Mixon and Perine in crossbuck action.  The D-End crashes hard on the give to Perine, and with Mixon leading on the first player who shows, this read was easier for Baker than the last one was.  The play design was flawless, and the Sooners came storming back.



Sometimes you just have a guy on your team that’s better than everyone else.  In this case it’s Joe Mixon…The guy on the right who I circled has outside contain.  In laymans terms his job, or one of them at least is to let no one get outside of him to the sideline.  You can see at this point he’s kind of in a shuffle and trying to stay square to the line of scrimmage.  That way if Joe pops out the other side in the middle, he can get there too.  Still, his primary job is not getting beat to the sideline.



The O line washed everyone down to the middle, and at this point, the unblocked player is that outside linebacker.  Joe has sunk his hips and is ready to explode, while the linebacker is flat footed.  The only other player who’s unaccounted for is the safety with the red arrow.



Mixon isn’t supposed to be able to do this. The likelihood of him being able to get across the face of that defender isn’t very high…There are times when you’re in practice, and you’re asking coaches about what if this player does this, or what if this player does that.  A lot of times there are things that the scheme doesn’t account for, like players not having this much ability.  I’ve heard it more than once, coaches saying if player x or player y can make that play we’ve got bigger problems than that.



Well, TCU has big problems…just a few steps later you can see the separation that Mixon has created between him and that same guy.  Plays like this is why most of Sooner Nation has been clamoring to get the ball in his hands more.  In every game Joe has made huge plays.  The big Run against Houston, the Kickoff Return against Ohio State, this play and on and on.  He’s simply electric, and he gets better it seems every game.  Hopefully Riley feeds him the ball about twice as much as he has this week against Texas.  It could only mean good things for the Sooners.