The Oklahoman's Berry Tramel took questions from readers in today's Power Lunch Chat. Not surprisingly, most were about this Saturday's matchup between OU and Notre Dame. Here's a recap of all of the Q&A centered around this weekend's game in Norman. For more of today's chat, read the complete transcript here.
What’s the key to OU winning against Notre Dame? (Besides having more points, of course.)
Well, turnovers are huge. If OU doesn't commit more turnovers, it's going to be hard for the Irish to win. If the Sooners don't commit turnovers, the Irish will be hard-pressed to score much.
If OU beats Notre Dame big time, how does this look for OU in respect to a national championship?
Oh, it will be good. It will help. But the Sooners have to climb over Kansas State. And then there's Oregon. But you could argue that OU is in reality No. 4. No. 1 SEC (I don't think two SEC teams make the Big Bowl). No. 2 KSU. No. 3 Oregon. So the Sooners really have to jump just two teams.
I have not been excited about an OU game more than this one in quite some time ... Are you getting the same vibe in Oklahoma?
Absolutely. It's a huge showdown for this season, a historic matchup, great for history and all those things. Super, super environment.
How healthy are the Sooners? What about Notre Dame?
Can't say about Notre Dame. Haven't kept up. But OU, I think they're probably in better shape than at any point in the season, with McGee back. The O-line looks solid. So it's looking good, health-wise, for the Sooners.
Your score prediction for OU-Notre Dame?
Sooners by 12-15. I haven't settled on a final score.
How much do you think Stacy McGee will contribute against Notre Dame?
Quite a bit. OU has been using McFarland and Walker almost exclusively, so the Sooners need some relief there. McGee will give those guys some breathers.
What are Notre Dame's strengths and weaknesses?
Strengths? Defensive front seven. The Irish are really good. Weaknesses? The Irish can't throw much. It's sort of an old-fashioned offense. Old-Fashioned in a bad way.
With ESPN being in Norman for GameDay, will you speak with any of the commentators, i.e., Kirk, Desmond, etc.?
No. Not me. Maybe someone from my paper will. But I won't. Don't see the need.
This will probably be the most physical front outside of the K-State game. Does Landry try to air it out?
I don't think so. I think OU will pick its spots, but the Sooners don't want to throw 50-60 times. They don't want that Notre Dame pass rush to peel back. I think OU will try to run the ball.
Landry Jones has been playing so well these last three games. Do you see him possibly slipping back to his old ways at some point?
Oh sure. He'll have a bad game somewhere. He's not Sam Bradford, case anyone hasn't noticed. But there's no great reason to believe it will happen vs. Notre Dame.
Can Notre Dame score on OU's defense?
Not easily, the Irish can't. Notre Dame has lit up only Miami, which is a kooky team. Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue, BYU, Stanford, all played close-to-the-vest games. I don't see how Notre Dame could score into the 20s on OU without quite a bit of help.
Do you feel OU has one of the best receiving corps in the country?
No. Not near as good as West Virginia. The OU receivers are solid. But not spectacular. I think the OU run game is the untold story of this team. Averaging about 7 yards a carry from the tailbacks.
Is Frank Shannon pretty much sharing duties with Wort now?
To some degree. Everyone thought Shannon was taking over, but Wort has played well. And against Notre Dame, you'll see more Wort, I think.
OU hasn't used their tight ends much. I assume it's because of their bevy of good wideouts. Am I on the right track?
No. I'd say Trey Millard is keeping the tight ends off the field. OU isn't prone to play just two wide receivers, which is what you have to do if you play a fullback and a tight end. And I think the mandate has been handed down. Trey Millard plays.
I like OU 41-17. Do you think that is too high, wishful thinking, or good chance to happen?
Too high. I mean, Notre Dame would have to self destruct to let OU score 41 points. The Irish defense is really good. If Notre Dame commits 3-4 turnovers, then maybe. But otherwise, no.
Was Stoops' first year the last time OU played Notre Dame?
Yes. 1999. OU has played Notre Dame in 1952-53, 1956-57, 1961-62, 1966 and 1968. Then in '99.
Was will OU have to do to overcome Notre Dame’s front 7?
Establish some run game and hit timely passes. I think OU will spread the field and try to get the ball to the slot receivers. Jalen Saunders and Sterling Shepard. Quick passes. I don't like OU dropping Landry back and standing in the pocket long.
Will the 7:00 P.M. kickoff have any bearing on OU's play?
No. And if it does, shame on the Sooners.
Can OU run with enough success to sustain drives against Notre Dame, or do they need to focus on a quick hitting pass game?
Quick-hitting passing game. I think OU will run some against Notre Dame, but not "sustained". I think the Sooners will have to throw.
I watched that 1956 Notre Dame Crimson Classic last night. I was really impressed with what they did with the picture enhancement. I did, however, notice that there was no commentating. Was that an old game film? What were TV broadcasts like for football games back then?
I taped that and plan to watch it myself. Yes, that was an old game film. TV broadcasts were pretty primitive. I don't know what the deal is on the commentators.