The Austin Kendall situation makes Oklahoma’s defensive game plan a little more complicated…not that I would consider defending the Mountaineers complicated at this point. Kendall and the the Mountaineer offense are averaging 326.2 yards of offense per game this season, with 231.8 of those yards coming through the air.
West Virginia ranks 72nd nationally in passing yards per game and 124th in rushing with an average of just 94.3 yards per contest. The inability to run the ball clearly makes Oklahoma’s defensive game plan easier. Here’s what I would expect to see.
Keys To Success
Bring Pressure | West Virginia is in a similar situation as Texas was last weekend, with the exception they are even more limited in the run game. If Kendall is a full go, like Neal Brown says he is, then there’s a good chance that he’ll be a bit timid toward taking hits and willing to get the ball out a little quicker.
If Brown decides to go with Jack Allison under center instead then the same strategy would hold. The first thing you want to do against a back-up quarterback is rattle him.
As limited as the Mountaineers are in the rushing attack bringing pressure up the middle is the way to go once again. It forces things to the outside where linebackers can clean up…and it’s a lot of fun to watch.
Limit WVU To Less Than 100 Rushing Yards | The Mountaineers may actually end up doing this on their own by going with a pass-heavy offensive attack but when a team is limited in a particular aspect of the game the last thing you want to do is allow them to have any amount of success in that area.
What Oklahoma wants to do on Saturday is keep the status quo in terms of season averages. If WVU is running with success then the Sooners are definitely going to be off their game plan.
Force Turnovers | It has been a while since Oklahoma recorded a turnover. Kendall is averaging a pick for every 21 pass attempts and Allison is turning it over once every 13 pass attempts. The Sooners have to come out of this game on the plus side in the turnover department.
Players To Watch
Neville Gallimore | Blowing plays up from the middle of the line has been Gallimore’s specialty this season. There’s no reason why that shouldn’t be the case again on Saturday. Oklahoma’s defense feeds off the havoc he creates in the offensive backfield.
Kenneth Murray | Yup, I’m just going through the best two players on the defense for these first two picks. They’re the best players for a reason and their productivity merits their inclusion.
Pat Fields | On the podcast I pegged Brendan Radley-Hiles in this position but now I’m leaning more towards Fields. Bottom line, I think this is going to be a big game for the secondary.
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