Oklahoma returned home from Houston with an 0-1 record and a whole lot of work still to do. Among the things that the Sooners must figure out is what happened to the offense and how to prevent it from happening again. The problem isn’t difficult to diagnose but the symptoms could be a bit misleading. Those symptoms, 5 sacks and a disappearing passing attack, resulted in OU’s offensive stall and ultimately the loss.
The first culprit you have to look at is the offensive line. Whenever you’re talking about giving up five sacks you always look at the guys upfront. Bob Stoops wasn’t looking that way though. He said that only one of the sacks was the result of the offensive line getting beat and the other four were due to coverage.
“I felt one time we were beaten quick off the line and were sacked,” Stoops said. “The other times, I felt they were more coverage sacks. I think too, it is fair to say, I think there is a couple of times, Baker had something there and was waiting on something a little more downfield instead of taking what was there.”
So now you have to look at the receivers and the quarterback. Again, it’s easy to look at the receivers but they are only partly to blame. You can’t have two guys with a combined 164 and two touchdowns on 11 catches and say the problem was all on the receivers. The Sooners had a total of seven guys catch a pass on Saturday so you can’t throw all the blame at the receivers either. That means you also have to look at the quarterback as well, which is exactly what Stoops was talking about. Baker Mayfield also pretty much admitted to it as well.
“We just got away from what we were doing,” Mayfield said. “The first half, I am pretty sure, we didn’t have an incompletion. They were running probably eight, nine yards a pop. We were staying ahead of the chains, when you do that you have success on offense. I think in the second half, we got a little greedy and tried to do too much and we got off track. The defense started playing well. That’s when we tried to get greedy and we were not doing the same things to keep the chains moving to stay ahead of the game. That’s when all kind of got off.”
The good news is that it’s a fixable problem. The bad news is that it put Oklahoma with no margin for error for the remainder of the season.
Quarterback | Mayfield was spectacular in the first half but his greed for the long ball led to him overlooking underneath routes and taking sacks. Still, 323 yards and 2 touchdowns ain’t shabby. Overall Grade | B-
Offensive Line | They got swallowed up a bit in the second half which damaged the running game. You can’t blame them for all of the sacks but there were also some quarterback hurries that blew a few things up as well. Overall Grade | C-
Receivers | Mark Andrews was the mismatch we had hoped he would be and Dede Westbrook was solid as a possession receiver with 70 yards on eight receptions as will. Still though, they have to get better at creating separation against aggressive defenders. Overall Grade | C+
Running Backs | Joe Mixon averaged 6.7 yards per carry, and scored a touchdown, while Samaje Perine carried at a clip of 5.2 yards per touch. Overall Grade | A
Coaching | Why did Mixon and Perine only get a combined 12 carries? The Sooners have to go to the run more often! Overall Grade | C-
Offensive Player of the Game
WR/TE Mark Andrews | 3 receptions, 94 yards, 2 touchdowns