There are going to be multiple takeaways from Oklahoma’s thumping of UTEP on Saturday to open the 2022 season. Brent Venables picked up a win in his debut as OU’s new coach. Dillon Gabriel led an efficient offensive attack. Eric Gray and Marcus Major are going to be a good running back duo. Those are just a handful of the stories, and sub-stories, that we can run with but the three biggest takeaways from game one are as follows.
1. Reggie Grimes Is A Monster!!!
Hands down the most dominant player on the field, on either side of the ball, was Reggie Grimes. Oklahoma’s 6-4/270 junior defensive end flashed his power and speed on his way to a 2.5 sack performance. The Sooner defense recorded six sacks on the day and Grimes was responsible for nearly half of those as he led Oklahoma’s assault on UTEP quarterbacks.
“He had two-and-a-half sacks, and I think that’s the most he’s had. He is physical at the point of attack; I was pleased with it. I think he played fantastic, and I was really, really happy for him because he’s put in so much work in this offseason. “Defensive Coordinator Ted Roof on reggie grimes
2. There’s A Larger Gap Between The Running Backs Than Expected
The use of Oklahoma’s running backs came in the following order – Eric Gray -> Marcus Major -> Jovantae Barnes -> Tawee Walker. The gap between Major and Barnes/Walker was a bit surprising. Gray and Major showed the speed, versatility, and power that we expected them to but neither Barnes nor Walker made meaningful contributions. Instead, they were used in garbage time minutes, indicating this may be a year where they remain in the shadows while Gray and Major take the bulk of the touches.
Gray carries the ball a team-high 17 times for 102 yards and Major only earned 7 carries but averaged 7.7 yards per carry and made his way into the end zone twice.
3. There Are Still Question Marks In The Secondary
We went into this game unsure about the secondary and I feel like we left with the same feeling. Woodi Washington and Jaden Davis have the starting corner spots locked down but depth is questionable at best. DJ Graham seemed to be solid during his time on the field but beyond those three there seemed to be a drop off. Billy Bowman was really good at the strong safety position and was the most solid member of the secondary. Things don’t seem to be fully settled at the free safety spot where Key Lawrence got the start but split time with Justin Broiles.
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