The headline says it all. I don't normally blog. These are just five reasons I believe we can win this game. Nothing extraordinary that I thought of in the lab, just five reasons this team is different from years past.
1. Tackling Ability of our DB's
In watching the first four games this year, the one thing that has stuck out to me the most is the physicality of our young cornerbacks. Adrian Phillips, Carrington Byndom, and Quandre Diggs are able to make open-field tackles better than what we have seen since Aaron Ross and Terrell Brown. Phillips and Diggs look like safetys with cornerback ability. This will be huge in stopping OU's bubble screens to Broyles. I plan on seeing a lot of quick screens to the receivers this game due to the pass rush that we have. If our DB's prove early in the game that they can make these first-hit tackles, this will cause OU to throw the ball deep, thus allowing our extremely athletic Defensive Ends more time to get to Landry Jones
This is really a no-brainer. We all know what we have seen over the first four games. Harsin's ability to confuse a defense has caused headaches for defensive coordinators so far. One thing that OU has always done against us is completely shut down the run game, especially up the middle. With the new scheme, I see Malcolm Brown having a huge game, and to me (80+ yards would be huge) The fake end-arounds to Shipley and Monroe will hopefully open up holes for Brown. I'd like to see some of the Wild-Horn with Fozzy taking the snap and using the zone-read with Brown. Fozzy looked incredible last week at Iowa State, and proved he is capeable of everything we have seen the past three Springs. One thing that Harsin's offense has obviously done is brought confidence to a young team. This is completely the opposite of Greg Davis. Confidence will be KEY in this game.
3. Manny Diaz
Besides all of the crazy blitz packages and forced turnovers, the one specific thing that impressed me so far this year was Manny Diaz adjustments he made in the BYU game. BYU was eating our defense up in the first half with quick flat routes to their backs. Diaz made the adjustment at half time and had Emmanuel Acho and Keenan Robinson all over these short passes. This will be imperative against OU. I see Whaley getting thrown to at least 7 times in the flats this week. We all know that OU will counter our blitz packages with short passes and flat routes. If Diaz can make the adjustments we have seen, I think we will be extremely successful at holding them to Field Goals.
4. McCoy/Ash Ability to Throw the Deep Ball
The big play for me in the Iowa State game was clearly the deep ball to Mike Davis, thrown by David Ash. We finally got to see what he is able to do with his arm. If we can at least throw the ball down field early, the safetys will have to respect us, allowing Malcolm Brown to eat up the middle. Mike Davis has shown his inconsistencies in catching short to medium passes. I expect Harsin to use him mainly for the deep ball, and DJ Grant and Shipley for the key 3rd and 6's. We will need a big play early to get this young offense some confidence.
5. Discipline Discipline Discipline
Last year was a nightmeare. We all know this. We were ranked 116th nationally in turnover margin, and the incredibly stupid penalties killed us time and time again. This year is different. You can see it. You can feel it. I don't see Jackson Jeffcoat pushing down an OU player on a key third down. Our experienced linebackers are clearly the leaders of the defense and will make sure to keep the dumb plays from happening. Discpline does not just mean avoiding penalties and turnovers. Discipline is also gap-responsibilty and the lack of over-pursuing on defense. Keenan Robinson is finally allowing his athletic ability to give him time to watch a play set up, while Acho seems to always be where he is supposed to be, inspite of his lack of explosiveness. Discipline will be a huge factor in this game
Clearly I haven't come up with any incredible theories that no one has ever thought of. I was just bored and wanted to share why I think we can win. I'm so pumped and nervous about this game, but I am ready to see it unfold. HOOK EM HORNS!