From the Other Side: Oklahoma

Each week, BearsIllustrated.com will dig deeper into the opponent by interviewing a media member from the opponent. This week, Bob Przybylo of SoonersIllustrated helps us learn more about Oklahoma.

In preparation for one of the bigger Baylor games in Floyd Casey Stadium history in Waco, we caught up with Bob Przybylo of SoonersIllustrated to learn more about the Oklahoma Sooners.

How do you evaluate Blake Bell's progress at QB this season - where has he improved and where does he still need work?

When Bell is on, the whole team feeds off his energy. He has the locker room support, no doubt about that. When he steps into his throws and allows plays to progress, he gives the OU offense what it is used to for so many years.

But a lot of times he gets happy feet. He'll rollout and backpedal into like the middle of nowhere and makes it clear he's just looking to throw the ball away. He is still missing on some big-time throws that are there. Sometimes he overshoots them and other times he bails on his progressions too fast.

The Texas Tech game was the first positive sign with Bell in a while and definitely has OU fans wondering what he'll bring to the table Thursday.


What do you think Coach Stoops will do to try to replace what Millard brought to the table?

That is probably the No. 1 question OU fans have right now. An extra week of practice could lead to some wrinkles and trick plays, but it also could just mean more emphasis on blocking.

There is simply no way to replace Trey Millard. He meant so much to the team as a runner, blocker and on special teams. OU has been able to rush for 234 yards per game in part because of fullbacks Millard and Aaron Ripkowski.

If you base it solely on a "next man up" mentality, Ripkowski goes to Millard's spot, while tight end Brannon Green becomes Ripkowski. OU tight ends have zero catches this season so tough to see Green becoming a part of the offense though Stoops said Green does have great hands.


Can you tell us generally how Oklahoma has improved defensively this year?

The 3-3-5 scheme has worked wonders. Going from reacting to things to attacking again is the other. Put them both together, and that's why OU is not getting trounced for 600 yards in games anymore.

OU is getting consistent pressure off the edge from defensive end Charles Tapper and linebacker Eric Striker. It feels like at least once a game Striker comes in unblocked ready to make a play.

Linebacker is back to being a spot of emphasis for the team. Despite losing Corey Nelson for the year, OU has been able to adjust and keep rolling even if that means using freshmen. True freshmen Dominique Alexander and Jordan Evans played nearly the whole game vs. Tech because of injuries to Nelson and Frank Shannon.


Who are the standouts in the secondary and what do they bring to the table?

It all starts with cornerback Aaron Colvin, named a semifinalist for the Thorpe Award. Colvin Island as it's called at OU essentially takes away one side of the field.

But the biggest surprise has been the emergence of redshirt freshman cornerback Zack Sanchez, the one-time Baylor commit. Nobody expected Sanchez to start, and when he did, nobody expected him to be this good.

Sanchez leads the team with 10 pass breakups and is showing great instincts for the ball. At safety senior Gabe Lynn has found his comfort zone and leads the team with three interceptions and with the most big hit tackles.


Who is the top playmaker on offense?

When OU knows, I'll fill you in. There isn't one. Every game brings the prospect of somebody new. Running backs Damien Williams and Brennan Clay have both had huge games. Wide receivers Sterling Shepard and Jalen Saunders have taken turns being the No. 1 guy.

Roy Finch can make plays as a runner, receiver and as a kick returner. None of the numbers individually are impressive. But at 7-1 overall and No. 10 in the BCS, I think the guys will safely say that numbers don't matter.



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