NORMAN — Jay Norvell said Oklahoma's offense knows how it wants to attack opponents going forward, it just needs to execute better.
“We'll always continue to probe and find ways to attack an opponent, but it basically comes down to the execution, the ability to run the ball and attack the perimeter in the passing game,” said Norvell, Oklahoma's co-offensive coordinator.
The Sooners lost their Big 12 opener last weekend, 24-19 at home to Kansas State. The game swung largely on three turnovers — a Landry Jones fumble that was recovered in the end zone, Blake Bell's fumbled snap inside K-State's 5-yard line and Jones' fourth-quarter interception, which led to a Wildcats touchdown.
Through the first two games, junior Kenny Stills clearly established himself as Jones' go-to receiver. But against Kansas State, it was true freshman Sterling Shepard who stood out, grabbing seven catches for 108 yards and a touchdown.
Another true freshman, Trey Metoyer, was a five-star recruit and was expected to immediately contribute, but he's caught just 10 passes for 90 yards all season; he had 39 yards on three receptions Saturday.
“I think Trey's been in good shape, he just hasn't made many plays,” said Norvell, noting that it's only been three games and there's plenty of time for improvement.
“Trey's gotta have a better awareness of the boundary. Sometimes that's because he's excited; he wants to make a play.”
As for the running game, junior Damien Williams, OU's leading rusher, had just 10 carries for 36 yards Saturday, while senior Dominique Whaley had nine for 56 in the loss.
Whaley carried the ball on three straight plays during the Sooners' first drive of the game, picking up 4, 10 and 8 yards.
Junior center Gabe Ikard was asked if he wishes OU had continued running the ball.
“That was stuff we game planned,” Ikard said of the early success. “They started creeping another backer in the box. When you're outnumbered, you've gotta pitch it around there and take advantage of what they give you.
“They kinda took away some of the stuff we wanted to do by playing the numbers game, but our goal is to run the ball as much as we can.”