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Sooner offense has Texas A&M on its mind — as in payback

BY MIKE BALDWIN Published: August 14, 2011

Texas A&M has been in the news for its possible move from the Big 12 to the SEC.

For Oklahoma's offensive line, the Aggies have served as motivation in the weight room, in film study.

Vowing to be more physical, vowing to have a more productive ground game, only one thing needed to be said the past six months:

Texas A&M.

The Sooners lost 33-19 last season at College Station in what might be their final trip to Kyle Field.

Three A&M goal-line stands were the difference.

"We talk about that A&M game almost daily," said OU fullback Trey Millard. "It's one of our goals to finish on the goal-line, finish in short yardage, line up and run the ball and get two yards whenever we need it."

On the three goal-line stands, the Sooners ran 11 plays inside the A&M 5-yard line. They gained a total of 1 yard.

Ten plays were runs, including seven carries by DeMarco Murray, the school's all-time touchdown leader. Millard was stuffed twice. Landry Jones failed once on a quarterback sneak.

"It went bad, and it kept getting worse," said guard Gabe Ikard. "We need to be more physical. Looking back, that was really disappointing when you're playing offensive line."

Strength coaches constantly remind the O-line what happened at A&M. But it's more than being stronger, more physical, although hitting the weights, pushing a defender off the line of scrimmage is fundamental football.

Coach Bob Stoops and offensive coordinator Josh Heupel several times during two-a-days have used the term "tracking guys."

In layman's terms, offensive linemen need to know who they're blocking.

"It's been a major point of emphasis in the offseason, going back and looking at cut-ups through spring ball and summer development," Heupel said. "If we can make strides in that area, we think that will allow us to be a lot more explosive.

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Yards per carry -- Bob Stoops era

Year: YPC

2010: 3.3

2009: 3.6

2008: 4.7

2007: 4.7

2006: 4.5

2005: 4.0

2004: 4.8

2003: 3.8

2002: 4.5

2001: 3.5

2000: 3.8

1999: 3.9

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