NORMAN — Few offenses in college football can line up in I-formation one play, before shifting to an empty set on the next.
Then swing from empty to a double-tight end set.
All with the same personnel.
But that's a strength in this Oklahoma offense, which boasts several versatile players.
Tight end Brody Eldridge is a ferocious blocker at fullback.
Fullback Matt Clapp is a tough runner between the tackles at tailback.
Tailback DeMarco Murray is a dangerous receiver in the slot.
The list goes on, with tight end/slot receiver Jermaine Gresham, tailback/slot receiver Mossis Madu, slot receiver/wide receiver Ryan Broyles and slot receiver/wide receiver Manny Johnson.
In other words, the Sooner offense is like a Swiss Army Knife. Numerous functions. Same tools.
Factor in the no-huddle, which all but eliminates substituting, and opposing defenses, like Cincinnati's today, could find themselves in a guessing game with no reprieve trying to match up against OU's multiple formations.
"I think it's been the luck of our recruiting that has given us this balance,” offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson said. "That's a real unique thing to be able to do multiple formations with the same personnel. Sometimes when you run on the field, they know you're in a small set or a large set based on the size of your players. But when you can go from more run-oriented sets to passing sets without subbing, that's a uniqueness and that's a greater deal to stop.”
Said quarterback Sam Bradford, "They've got to pick the personnel they're going to go with and they've got to stay with those guys. Even though we also have to stay with the same guys, we can go with three or four different formations. And because we don't have to run guys on and off the field, it allows us to go a little bit quicker.