Each and every week, players put everything on the line in order to remain in the hunt for a National Championship. While some have been excluded from the equation, the Oklahoma Sooners remain in the chase. Facing yet another obstacle in the path of achieving seasonal goals, here are three defensive keys to success against the TCU Horned Frogs.
Throughout the duration of the season, one thing has been made clear — tackling is an issue for the Oklahoma Sooners. The struggles have led to questions concerning the physicality of the defense. Shaking up the college football world, the program opted to released Mike Stoops following the first loss of the year. Moving forward, the task of preparing this group lies squarely on Ruffin McNeill. Given two weeks to prepare for the TCU Horned Frogs, will there be noticeable improvements?
Lincoln Riley stated the Horned Frogs bring the best skill position players to the table Oklahoma will have seen at this point in the season. Possessing the ability to rattle off large gains, tackling will be at the forefront of the conversation. Although OU sits at 6-1 versus TCU in conference play, this game could provide quite a bit of entertainment given it’s recent history.
Make Plays In The Backfield
Lacking an elite level pass rusher, the Sooners hope to change the story on Saturday. The front seven will most definitely be tested as Shawn Robinson takes the field at quarterback. Averaging 4.89 yards per carry, the signal caller has crossed the goal line three times this year. However, Robinson must also be accounted for when dropping back to survey the field. Throwing for 1313 yards and nine scores, the quarterback poses a big threat regardless of the situation.
In an attempt to disrupt passing lanes, the defensive line must show improvement under a new defensive coordinator. Getting an initial push and forcing Robinson to make quick decisions remains a priority this weekend. Yet, the front seven must also contain the dual-threat quarterback. If the Sooners can make a living in the backfield, it could provide separation in the scoring output.
When Oklahoma finds themselves in trouble, it’s typically the result of turnover. On the year, the program has forced five turnovers while losing six. The numbers put the margin for OU at -1…not a good look from a program looking to make a run into the College Football Playoff. Regardless, the defense is not lacking playmakers but simply isn’t forcing turnovers.
Robinson may be a dual-threat option for TCU, but he’s also turned the ball over eight times. Coughing up the ball a total of 15 times, the Horned Frogs continue to be their own worst enemy. Oklahoma must capitalize on the mistakes that are bound to occur to this weekend.