Pat Kinnison

Bedlam Matchup: Salako or Keyes vs. Gallimore

If Oklahoma State's run game is going to be productive then tackle Victor Salako and guard Marcus Keyes are going to have to neutralize Neville Gallimore.

Let me tell you a misconception about the Oklahoma defense that will help you if you are one of those fans that loves to prepare for a big game as if you were going to coach it. Oklahoma lists a 3-4-4 defense but in reality the Sooners run closer to a 4-3-4 defense that OU defensive coordinator Mike Stoops is more steeped in coaching.

The Sooners advertise this personnel group and formation on defense because they are short on big defensive linemen. Hence, Neville Gallimore at 6-3 and 305 pounds is listed as a defensive end. That might happen but it is also likely that Gallimore spends more time pushed inside at the five technique and a linebacker steps up and plays outside at the seven.

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I added redshirt freshman offensive guard from the left side Marcus Keyes to the matchup. Actually, either one is a fair matchup as Gallimore has become more demonstrative and is really a disruptive force on the OU defensive line. He has 32 total tackles, 17 of those unassisted, 3.0 tackles for loss, a sack, three quarterback hurries, and a forced fumble. He is strong and coming from Canada needed some acclimatization to get used to this level of football.

Victor Salako is healthy as opposed to last season when he was playing on a bad foot and Keyes, who was green some early in the season when he took over the starting guard position right before the opening game, has come a long way and is now one of the most physical and damaging (to the defense) offensive linemen for the Cowboys.

I look at this matchup as being more critical to the success of Oklahoma State's run offense or Oklahoma's run defense than in the passing game. The pressure in the passing game will come from more mobile players from the outside or blitzers out of that 3-4 look, which really helps OU more in the pass rush. They play more of a true 3-4 look on pass downs for the offense.

If Justice Hill and Chris Carson are going to have major success running the ball then Oklahoma State needs to win this matchup on the left side as the left side has become an important avenue for Oklahoma State on the run.


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