I apologize for the tardiness of this post. The combination of the late night Saturday and a busy Sunday resulted in the Oklahoma position grades being pushed to Monday. To simplify, I’ve added offense and defense in the same post this week.
It isn’t often that you see a team line up against Oklahoma with such a huge in advantage in talent. Not just at one or two positions but pretty much across the board. It’s also not often that you see a team be able to repeatedly attack a weakness against the Sooners as what Ohio State did on Saturday night. In my opinion OU’s drop from the College Football Playoff hunt is a direct result of two positions not performing at an elite lever, and I’m not certain that there’s hope for one of them.
Quarterback | This is where it all starts for Oklahoma and this is absolutely one of the positions where the Sooners need to get better. Granted two of OU’s first three opponents have been against Top 10 programs but this isn’t the same Baker Mayfield that we saw in 2015. He’s pressing the issue, thinking too long, and making poor decisions. I don’t fault him for the first interception on Saturday night but the second one was both a terrible decision and a terrible throw. Oklahoma relies too much on their quarterback to get this type of production from him. Overall Grade | D
Running Back | Imagine how much worse Saturday could have been without Joe Mixon. I honestly don’t care that he dropped the ball before crossing the goal line. It’s a no harm/no foul situation. It’ll be addressed and I don’t think we’ll see it again. To go along with his touchdown on special teams, Mixon also averaged 8.7 yards per carry and Perine added an average of 3.5 yards per carry. Both are exceptional against the defense that Ohio State put on the field. Overall Grade | A
Receivers/Tight Ends | This position is coming along and I feel like they’re just going to get better. They still aren’t as deep as what Lincoln Riley would want but they have four solid options starting with Mark Andrews and Dede Westbrook. A.D. Miller looks like he’s just about ready to be a star after leading the team with 72 receiving yards and Geno Lewis is emerging as a great check-down option. Overall Grade | A
Offensive Line | The loss of Cody Ford is going to be significant but even so the line still paved the way for over 400 yards of offense and the first touchdowns scored on the Ohio State defense this season. They could still get stronger and create a bigger push but in spite of the breakdown that led to Mayfield’s first interception, I don’t believe the line is the problem here. Overall Grade | B-
Coaching | I honestly wasn’t a fan of some of the play calling. Why try a roll-out pass when you’ve got first and goal from the three? Why a swing pass down the line of scrimmage on third and six? Even so, I believe that execution was a bigger issue than play calling. Overall Grade | B
Defensive Line | It probably won’t get any more physical than it did on Saturday night for the Sooners and this unit still has to get stronger. Not having Matt Romar in the rotation hurt but it can’t be an excuse. I did like the play of Jordan Wade but across the board they need more guys to stand out, especially in these types of games. As a team the Buckeyes averaged 6.1 yards per carry. Overall Grade | C
Linebackers | Emmanuel Beal was really good in playing against the boys from his home state. The junior linebacker tied for a team-high eight tackles and also had a forced fumble. Will Johnson, Jordan Evans and Tay Evans also combined for eighteen tackles, but this unit was still guilty of getting gashed by the run. Overall Grade | B
Secondary | It’s probably not fare but this position group as a whole has been a failure this season. Jordan Thomas and Steven Parker are as talented as just about anyone in the nation but the failures at the corner position opposite of Thomas has been an absolute killer. It’s just one position but it’s not only killing the secondary (safeties don’t know what to do at times because corner is such a liability) but it has cost Oklahoma two losses now. Overall Grade | F
Coaching | Serious question, what do you do if you’re Mike Stoops? It appears as if they have no ideas left at the corner position but that’s because they have no other bodies that they can throw out there. Coaches have to coach but players have to play. Not sure that we’re getting the latter part here. Overall Grade | D