Oklahoma 24, UTEP 7: Postgame thoughts on the Sooners’ offensive performance
If you’ve woken up believing you had a terrible nightmare, where Oklahoma was tied with UTEP at halftime and only leading it by three in the fourth quarter, I’m sorry to burst your bubble: It was real, as are the problems the Sooners’ 24-7 win revealed.
Here are some quick thoughts on the OU offense from last night’s game. I’ll have a similar post on the Sooner defense posted at noon.
* Landry Jones is not to blame. It’s easy to blame the quarterback when an offense struggles like this, and I’ll be the first to say that last year, he did deserve some of the criticism he received. But not Saturday. In fact, I think that, given the circumstances, Landry Jones played pretty darn well for most of the night. His improved ability to escape the pocket — or just move around some while staying in it — was very evident; Jones does not make that 68-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Stills last season. It was a rare play when the line gave him time with decent pass protection, and he took advantage of it by moving just enough to stay safe and just until he needed to get rid of the ball.
* For months and months, before Justin Brown showed up, we talked about Stills being the only player back with an NCAA Division I reception. For the first half and, really, much of the game as a whole, he looked like it. Stills talked the talk about his self improvement and the chemistry he’s developed with Jones, and he put it on display Saturday.
* So, about my “One Bold Prediction” on Trey Metoyer, made an hour before kickoff. The one where I said Metoyer would catch six balls for 150 yards and three touchdowns Saturday. Metoyer’s four catches for 21 yards with no scores comes nowhere near that prediction, but hey, I think he’s talented enough to put up those kind of numbers. It didn’t seem out of the realm of possibility that he’d do it against a team like UTEP, but it was and I was wrong. I guarantee it won’t be the last time I’m wrong on something like that!
* Brown’s second-half catches were a sign of hope, and his first punt return, which he took back 26 yards, was really impressive. Many of the punts after that one would’ve been tough for him to go for without the risk of a mufffing it, but that first one is a good sign that he’s going to turn out to be worth the risk OU took in bringing him in.
* Bottom line: The receivers were a problem Saturday, but they weren’t the problem. At least with them, we know for sure that the talent and depth is there.
* As for the offensive line … they were really just poor for most of the night. Yes, Damien Williams had his big 65-yard TD run, and there were some instances of good protection. But for the most part, the inconsistency in the run game and Jones having to evade pass rushers all night played the biggest role in the OU offense’s struggles. All the talk about losing Ben Habern and Tyler Evans not really being a big deal? That’s just nonsense. It was apparent tonight that those injuries have taken a much bigger toll on the Sooners’ line than everyone was led to believe.
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