OU hasn’t faced an offense the least bit similar to Texas’. The Sooners have played the total-spread of Texas Tech and the battering ram of Kansas State. But that puts both teams in the dark. OU doesn’t know how it holds up against Texas’ mix of downfield running (including lots of Wildcat) and spread passing, but Texas doesn’t know how the Sooner defense will play.
Conversely, Texas has played OSU and West Virginia, two virtually-identical offensive systems which aren’t carbon copies of OU’s offense but aren’t totally dissimilar.
“We have a lot of similar concepts that Oklahoma State and West Virginia have,” Bob Stoops said. “To a degree, there’s some similarities there for sure.” Which helps both teams. “It also allows us to see what they’ve been trying to do” on defense, Stoops said.
“I imagine they’ll have some different wrinkles, sure. You can only be so different. You can’t change your whole defensive philosophy before one of your bigger games.”
Against OSU, in which Cowboy quarterback J.W. Walsh made his first collegiate start, Texas allowed 24 first downs, 275 yards rushing and 301 yards passing. But Texas made OSU kick field goals — from 23, 38 and 24 yards. That’s red-zone toughness that can win a game.
Against West Virginia, which sports Heisman Trophy frontrunner Geno Smith, Texas allowed 26 first downs, 192 yards rushing and 268 yards passing. But West Virginia scored touchdowns when it reached the red zone — the Mountaineers’ two field goals were from 37 and 41 yards.
“We didn’t get off the field,” Mack Brown said. “We got beat on critical situations. They’re five-for-five on fourth downs. Three of those are passes, one of them was a short yardage. But even though they run on an early down near our bench, (and) we’ve got guys all over him, and he (West Virginia tailback Andrew Buie) makes the play. We’ve got to make those stops when we get in that position. They had five TDs and seven trips into the red zone. We made Oklahoma State kick field goals, we did not make West Virginia.”