1. Passing Game. Play action passes can be a coordinator’s best friend, especially if the field can be stretched. OU getting the ball downfield has to be a priority vs. Tulsa. Throwing occasionally on first down seems logical. Sooners cannot win their biggest games with an anemic passing attack. (For the record, the biggest game is always the next one.)
2. Blake Bell. Needs to protect the ball and have success throwing the ball early. The ‘Belldozer’ can run north and south, although I wouldn’t overdo it Saturday, but the 6’6” QB can also throw. Give #10 the opportunity to use his arm. This doesn’t mean abandoning the efficient run game. It’s called balance.
3. Jalen Saunders. Needs more touches and the more he moves around in the Sooners’ offensive formations the better. Tulsa has no one who can cover Saunders one on one. Better utilization of players like Saunders and Trey Millard seems imperative to Sooner success in 2013. OU’s advertised playmakers need to visit the Promised Land. Execute.
4. Defensive Line. Sooners D-Line is being coached up excellently by new coach Jerry Montgomery. Their growth is evident each series. Can OU win a street fight Saturday against the TU offensive line? If not, the chances of OU winning the line of scrimmage fight in South Bend seems unlikely.
5. Special teams. Coach Jay Boulware has done a terrific job with his guys. Special teams and defense have always been major components in winning football games. Do not discount the importance of how the OU special teams units are playing and what they mean to the Sooners. Look for a game changing special teams play, or two, Saturday in Norman.
6. Mindset. Tulsa has zero to lose and everything to gain in this in-state game. Love to see a fast start by the Sooners. Playing turnover free and with passion in front of a loud, proud, home crowd isn’t an option (no pun intended) on this 11 a.m. kickoff. Eliminate the Golden Hurricane hope with a 21-point first quarter. The Sooners aren’t good enough to take any team for granted, especially an in-state school that is well coached. (Will the Oklahoma fans be emotionally invested in this early start vs. a team that the Sooners should beat?)
7. Play Calling. Creating balance gives Notre Dame plenty to think about. Do the Sooners empty the playbook? Of course not. However, to not use any ‘sauce’ to add some flavor for the Irish to taste/contemplate doesn’t work for me. (Yep….cheap plug.)
Oklahoma 41 Tulsa 10
Jim Ross is a native Oklahoman, two time, New York Times Best Selling Author, member of the WWE Hall of Fame, a 20 year football official, former broadcaster in the NFL and XFL and, with his wife Jan, have created a line of BBQ Sauces, Chipotle Ketchup, Main Event Mustard, All Purpose Seasoning and Beef Jerky…all made in Oklahoma. These products are available at the four, Norman Homeland Stores, the 3, Lawton Country Mart Stores and online at http://www.wweshop.com.