Tailgate Blog: Live from the T-Boone
STILLWATER — A nicer day than expected. The rain cleared out earlier in the afternoon. Even had some sun on the drive up.
I’m told colder weather, and some wind, is on the way. Game temps expected to be in the 30s and dropping, with the wind 20-30 mph. We’ll see what sort of an impact it has, but this is not going to be some sort of Ice Bowl or something.
Some things to keep an eye on tonight …
** Heard buzz throughout the week about DE Ronnell Lewis, two weeks removed from spraining an MCL, trying to give it a go tonight. He’s from this state, not too far from here, and certainly wants to play in this game. But it would be an awfully quick turnaround. Maybe the sprain’s not too severe, and would allow for him to play, but I’ll still be surprised. It’s something to watch, a la Travis Lewis at FSU. This is a better OU defense with Ronnell Lewis. (Duh.)
** It’s going to be interesting to see how the bowl picture plays out. The winner is in the BCS, sure, but there’s a slight chance the Sugar and Fiesta could work something out to have the Big 12 champ in New Orleans and have an at-large go to Phoenix. I still think the winner is in the Fiesta, but bowls do this type of things.
Kansas State’s win moves it into good position to play in the Cotton, likely against Arkansas. Baylor thumping Texas opens the door for the Alamo to take Robert Griffin III and the Bears. The loser here could be shuffled all the way down to the Insight.com Bowl, also in Phoenix. Maybe that’s the fate you deserve if you lose to Texas Tech or Iowa State. I don’t know. But it’s a big fall from the BCS to the No. 4 game in the league.
** Pass D is a glaring concern for OU. It’s one of those things that feels like it’s so obvious that it won’t come to fruition. Know what I mean? We talk and talk and talk about some aspect, and then it’s something else that winds up affecting the game. I think you’ll see Aaron Colvin and Sam Proctor start at the safeties, but I have this hunch that Javon Harris appears more than you’d think on a short-leash basis.
** Know who needs a huge game tonight? Kenny Stills. He’s been pretty unremarkable since Ryan Broyles‘ injury. Maybe we’re expecting too much. But I don’t think so. The Sooners need Stills to be a big-play threat against a susceptible defense. In fairness, he’s been playing more slot, which impacts his downfield ability. And, also in fairness, there was a hurricane at Owen Field last week. Having Jaz Reynolds back this week should also be a plus in his column. But Stills needs a big, effective, impactful game.
** I’m most curious about one of the more boring aspects of this game: Running. Can either team run? How well? Will Joey Randle lay the ball on the turf (I doubt it). If the Sooners can find a way to run for 200 yards, and hold the ball more, it could be a big help to them. I’m not drawing up the gameplan. No one asked me to. But I’d see if OSU, the 93rd-ranked run D, is willing to give up some yards on the ground.
I think Roy Finch has had OU’s most underrated season. He minimized the Dom Whaley injury, which is saying something.
OK, I’m gonna eat some BBQ chicken and head to the field. Check @travhaney for updates on Ronnell, if there are any.
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