Oklahoma was in cruise control on offense at the end of the season, averaging 52 points over the final seven games of the season – all were wins. It seemed like nothing could stop the Sooners.
At least nothing other than an end of games, which came about three weeks ago after a demolishing victory against Oklahoma State.
An offense built heavily on rhythm; Oklahoma’s attack guided by quarterback Baker Mayfield and offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley needs timing to work. The had a few pass skeleton days before opening practice over the weekend. There’s no doubt that Oklahoma will work through it before a rematch from last year against Clemson, but it will be out of game rhythm when the Orange Bowl kicks off on New Year’s Eve.
“With this offense, you have to be ready to run,” receiver Sterling Shepard said. “You can’t take too much time off.”
But the team doesn’t think rust will be an issue.
“I don't think so,” Mayfield said. “I feel like we're as hungry as we ever could be and there's no doubt that when we get on another big stage we'll have the same mentality.”
Mayfield might not need much time to get back in rhythm with his teammates. He’s a gamer, a tag usually given to a play that doesn’t gain rust. The rest of the team, most specifically the offensive line and the secondary, is the bigger question.
“The guys this year, they are mentally prepared and ready to go,” Shepard said. “I don’t think it will be a problem picking up where we left off. Everyone knows what goal we want to accomplish. We’ve accomplished one goal and we know what it took to get that one. We know what it takes to get the next one. Guys are going to be focused. We have to knock some rust off of not practicing. You might be a little rusty but it won’t take long to get it back.”