Oklahoma coaches told quarterback Landry Jones to trust his protection. After OU's offensive line dominated Florida State in a 47-17 win Saturday, Jones' trust should be at an all-time high.
Reviewing the film, Jones and the O-line prospered from steady production on low-risk bubble screens, swing passes, seam routes and screen passes. Linemen needed to hold their blocks only a second or two.
Jones faced pressure only twice during the first half. Both times occurred on the only series OU punted. The Seminoles forced Jones to throw early on second down. Tyler Evans was beaten for a sack on third down.
That was it. On Jones' 26 other first-half attempts, he didn't have a white jersey near him.
On paper, the running game looked subpar (2.3 yards per carry). But the run blocking was decent considering Florida State sold out to stop DeMarco Murray. The Seminoles paid the price, surrendering 487 total yards. Offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson pointed out that swing passes were so productive they essentially became OU's running game.
The O-line will face more demanding challenges in the future. Jones will have to spend more time surveying all his reads. Against Florida State, the O-line's solid protection, a quick tempo, and Jones throwing to 12 different receivers, had the Seminoles' soft zone coverage on its heels all day.
Did you notice: For all the hype surrounding Florida State cornerback Greg Reid being a dangerous returner, Reid was a disaster on defense. His only long return was called back by a penalty. Reid was burned for Cameron Kenney's 37-yard touchdown catch. Reid failed to wrap up a tackle on two long plays — James Hanna's 46-yard touchdown catch and Dejuan Miller's 24-yard reception. Reid also had holding and late-hit penalties.
Ryan Broyles' up-and-out route on an 18-yard TD catch was an example why he's an All-American candidate. ... Mossis Madu ran hard in the first half but had a couple of sideways runs in the second half. ... True freshman fullback Trey Millard has thrown a key block on all of Murray's four TD runs the first two games. ... Murray lined up in the slot as a receiver on a 22-yard reception. Brennan Clay also had a productive play out of the slot, a wrinkle other teams will have to game plan for. ... Wide receiver Cameron Kenney is vastly improved. Better routes. No dropped passes. ... Backup center Brian Lepak played a few series at right guard. Julius Jones spelled left tackle Donald Stephenson. ... Tight ends were more involved in the passing game. James Hanna and Trent Ratteree both used second- and third-effort to get into the end zone on their TD catches. ... The most revealing stat was 31 of Jones' 40 passes were into the flat, screen plays or seam routes over the middle.
True freshman nickel back Tony Jefferson was OU's best defender. Jefferson's hit on QB Christian Ponder on a blitz seemed to rattle Ponder the rest of the game. Jefferson stood out with suffocating coverage. Three pass breakups in one game is a ridiculous total for a player who shares the job with Joseph Ibiloye. Jefferson's play is the primary reason Ronnell Lewis is almost exclusively playing defensive end. ... Defensive end Frank Alexander quickly showed his value. Alexander didn't play the first series on Florida State's touchdown drive. On the next series, Alexander stuffed a run and recorded a sack to set the tone. ... Cornerback Jamell Fleming and safety Jonathan Nelson were near flawless after shaky openers. Fleming's highlight was batting down a ball on a deep route. Nelson read Ponder's eyes several times to jump routes. ... Flordia State's veteran O-line won't face many defensive ends as quick and crafty as Jeremy Beal. ... Middle linebacker Tom Wort continues to make plays but is out of position too often. ... Despite a solid overall outing, defensive coordinator Brent Venables was disappointed second-Teamers allowed Florida State to score on the final drive, emphasizing young players must learn from their mistakes.