Oklahoma is welcoming Texas Tech to Norman this weekend. And Sooners Illustrated is welcoming RaiderPower.com publisher Jarret Johnson to answer five questions about the Red Raiders heading into this matchup.
Is anybody still talking about the Baker Mayfield vs. Kliff Kingsbury situation? Any ill will left or has everybody moved on?
Kingsbury shrugged off some Mayfield questions Monday. I honestly think he's more concerned with getting the W this week. A win in Norman sets Tech up nicely down the stretch with Arkansas, Baylor and TCU already behind them. The fanbase, well, the Tech fanbase is probably always going to see Mayfield as a guy who quit on the team during the season after getting benched and the Oklahoma fanbase is probably always going to see Kingsbury as vindictive to a guy just looking for a scholarship. Honestly, this would be a bigger story locally if it weren't for Patrick Mahomes. Tech fans wouldn't trade Mahomes for anybody in the country right now.
You take body shots like Tech did against TCU and Baylor, how have the Red Raiders been able to steady that ship and make sure it didn't demoralize them the rest of the season?
Yeah, they were difficult losses for different reasons. In many ways Tech outplayed TCU, but the Frogs made the plays late to get out of Lubbock with a win. The loss on a deflection was difficult to stomach for everyone in and around the program as while many players and coaches won't admit it publicly, that was the game on the schedule they wanted to win the most. The Baylor game was completely different. Tech was coming off an emotional road victory over Arkansas, an emotional loss to TCU at home and just didn't have a lot in the tank. Even at full strength Tech would have had a hard time against the Bears, they are absolutely loaded this year at every level of both sides of the ball.
Based on recent performances, who is ready for that breakout performance in Norman?
I would keep an eye on true freshman Tony Brown. The guy has impressed everyone since he stepped on campus last summer. He plays bigger than his actual measurements, he has good hands, he's an excellent route runner and he's gained some valuable experience the past several weeks. He could blow up this week in Norman.
Where have you seen the biggest growth with Patrick Mahomes this season?
Really, he picked up right where he left off last season in the season finale against Baylor. He's one of the more exciting players I have ever covered at any level of any sport. He has an uncanny ability to scramble around behind the line of scrimmage and then bomb away while on the run. He may be the best passer on the run I have ever seen. He has an absolute rocket which allows him to get the ball downfield in a hurry, but what separates him from many is just how accurate he is on the deep balls while on the run.
Key is going to be not letting the Sooners start fast and get that tempo going so who's that one defensive player that can help make sure OU is in a fight all afternoon?
Texas Tech has to have a big game from senior defensive end/linebacker Pete Robertson. He is the Red Raiders best pass rusher and is capable of making a big impact against Oklahoma's suspect offensive line. If Tech has any chance of even slowing the Sooners down Robertson and the rest of the defensive front is going to have to be able to consistently apply pressure on Mayfield. After leading the Big 12 in sacks last season, Robertson has just two sacks this season, though he does lead the team with 8.5 tackles for loss. Part of the reason for his drop off in sacks is scheme, but the bottom line is Tech needs Robertson to have his best performance of the season.