As Oklahoma heads into its bye week, Sooners Illustrated takes a close look at the roster. The fans, the coaching staff and the players have all been disappointed by the non-conference season and Oklahoma’s resounding failure to perform.
The season, which came with hopes of making the College Football Playoff for the second-straight season, has been reduced to a hopeful Big 12 Championship.
While Oklahoma is off, Sooners Illustrated will take a look at each major position group to figure out what needs to change and what actually will change as OU turns its sights on the Big 12 Championship.
What needs to change?
First and foremost, Oklahoma’s receiving group – Mark Andrews included – has to get better on an individual level. Through the first two losses, receivers couldn’t get much separation. Those struggles came against a Houston secondary all starting in their first game together and an Ohio State secondary that was seen as the far inferior unit grouping on the Buckeyes’ defense, even if it had produced a nation-leading number of interceptions.
From a schematic standpoint, Oklahoma has to stop leaning as much on the offensive scheme. Last year, the scheme was a bit abandoned in favor of targeting Sterling Shepard a superior number of times. Andrews is the only receiver on Oklahoma’s roster who will likely play at the next level – and potentially make an impact at the next level. He has to become a bigger focal point in the offense. There’s no reason that Andrews shouldn’t receive at least double-digit targets every game.
For Oklahoma, it’s time to go younger.
What will change?
Andrews might not become a Shepard-like receiver in terms of targets, but it’s likely that Miller and Jones will be moved more heavily into the rotation. Geno Lewis might get a few more targets as well.
Offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley won’t re-assess his scheme completely, but he acknowledged that Oklahoma had holes before this season. The Sooners might have a different shovel to fill in those holes. Jones and Miller seem to be the replacement for Jarvis Baxter in the slot, and Miller should be the permanent starter opposite Dede Westbrook.
Andrews needs to be a bigger focus. It is yet to be seen if that will come to fruition.