OU insider: Sooners will use bye week to adjust after losing Ryan Broyles

by Michael Baldwin Modified: November 6, 2011 at 7:28 pm •  Published: November 6, 2011

The Sooners made strong statements against Kansas State and Texas A&M, but two lopsided wins were costly.

For many football programs, losing one of the nation's top receivers and their No. 1 running back might be disastrous.

Expectations remain high at Oklahoma because of a solid offensive line and a veteran quarterback who knows when to get rid of the ball.

Nine games. Four sacks? That's a ridiculous total.

“That's a really low number for anybody,” said offensive coordinator Josh Heupel. “But that's really a low number for as much as we throw the ball.”

The Sooners have attempted 412 passes. Giving up only four sacks is a stat the offensive line takes pride in.

“No. 1, you want to run the ball. No. 2 is take care of the quarterback,” said center Ben Habern, who returned Saturday after missing five games with a broken forearm. “We get excited when we see our quarterback with no stains on (his jersey) after the game.”

The Aggies entered Saturday's game with 30 sacks and registered only one. They compiled only two quarterback hurries.

Quarterback Landry Jones having an average day was due in large part to a surprisingly strong game from an A&M secondary (nine pass breakups) that was missing two starters.

OU's offense will look a little different without Broyles and Whaley. The bye week will allow coaches time to review the playbook.

The “Belldozer” package with backup quarterback Blake Bell is a huge upgrade in short yardage situations. The Sooners still have playmakers such as Roy Finch, Kenny Stills, Jaz Reynolds, fullback Trey Millard and tight end James Hanna.

But it all revolves around an offensive line that's excelled in protecting Jones.

Although sometimes erratic in the run game, the offensive line has been patched together because of injuries. And no one questions its pass blocking.

by Michael Baldwin
Mike Baldwin has been a sports reporter for The Oklahoman since 1982. Mike graduated from Okmulgee High School in 1974 and attended Oklahoma Christian University, graduating with a journalism degree in 1978. Mike's first job was sports editor...
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