Special Teams Will Be Key

Many times in a close game, who wins doesn't come down to offense or defense.

The outcome is determined by who gets the better of the special teams battle.

And that will be a key when OU and Florida State take the field at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.

FSU punt returner Greg Reid is a potent return man who took his only attempt in last weekend's opener 74 yards for a score.

"You know, Greg Reid, their guy's an excellent return man," said OU head coach Bob Stoops. "So we're very aware of that. [We've] concentrated on our coverage."

OU defensive coach Bobby Jack Wright, who also works with the special teams, seconded that.

"Greg Reid is very, very exciting," Wright said. "I think he led the country last year in punt returns. And he returned one last week for a touchdown, so really a great return guy."

But the Sooners have one of their own in Ryan Broyles.

"As you said, Ryan Broyles for us was one of the top return guys certainly in our league [last year]," Wright said. "I don't know exactly where he was in the country, but he was up there pretty good."

So that makes it very important for the punters on each side, Tress Way for OU and Shawn Powell for FSU, to take care of their business.

"Yeah, and they have an excellent punter [in Powell], so it's a definite, you know, factor in these kind of games and in any game," Stoops said. "So getting field position or changing field position, so I'm sure it will be a factor and being able to cover."

A big part of that will be getting hang time on punts and allowing the coverage team to get in position to make a play.

"You know, I'd take a 45 yard punt with about 4.2 [second] hang time every time and call it good," Stoops said.

One thing's for sure, though.

If OU loses the special teams battle, it won't be because it hasn't been a focus of emphasis.

"There's no question," Wright said. "We spent a lot of time this week on coverages because we've got to cover kicks and, you know, cover kickoffs and cover punts as well, and, you know, keep those to a bare minimum."

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