In a talk to hundreds of high school coaches at the annual Bob Stoops coach's clinic, new offensive line coach Kevin Wilson previewed a few of the wrinkles in the 2002 Sooner offense.
Wilson came to Oklahoma with one assignment: to add a successful running dimension to a potent passing attack, allowing the new look Sooners to evolve into a true multiple offensive team. He said that the objective of the new offensive line scheme was twofold: create a simple system for OU linemen yet with multiple looks to make it difficult for the opponent to predict a play. And now the hard part, maintain the same blocking ‘keys' and patterns regardless of the set.
"Our preferred formation will be the one back with the quarterback in the gun. That makes the QB the second running back and causes all kinds of problems for the defense, as it's impossible for them to cheat as when the QB is under center in the one back. The quarterback in the gun also opens the door for some great trap plays that are not there when he's under center. But we will also use a lot of two tailback formations – which will give us the ability to run in either direction, two tight end formations that will enable us to look like a power I team, as well as three or four other formations to take advantage of any opponent's weaknesses. Yet, in all of these formations, our line blocking patterns will be consistent. This allows the offensive lineman to concentrate on becoming aggressive and going after a defense. We'll set a goal of at least 50 ‘knockdown' blocks per game for our offensive linemen. Against Michigan two years ago we had over a hundred knockdowns and scored over 50 points. That's what I want to see here. " While he did not mention it directly, Wilson alluded to the fact that the Sooners seldom ran when the QB was in the ‘gun' last year. Tipping off the defensive backs and giving the down lineman an unfair advantage at times.
"We will take what the defense gives us. If they put seven or more defenders in the box we'll do one of two things: throw it, or run (the option), to the outside. Likewise if they spread the field, we'll run to daylight. We will not force a play. If a defense wants to stop a run, they can. Why run into their strength? The odds are against it. We'll simply choose to attack at a weak point created by the overplay."
When asked what kind of defense would best stop the new Sooner scheme, he said, "One that gets penetration. That will kill a play in this offense. Our linemen must learn not to allow penetration."
It also appears that coach Wilson will put his quickest athlete at the left guard spot. While any of the interior lineman may be asked to pull or block down field, it seemed that the LG would be getting the toughest assignment more often than not.
On the backs, Wilson said that he wanted the backs to run to daylight. "Hit the hole, find the open space and exploit it. The best runs are down field, toward the goal line. I don't like running plays that go sideways." You have to be prepared to gain yardage." As to his preference at quarterback, he said that a mobile quarterback would be required to run the offense. "We have to teach our quarterbacks to run smart. A quarterback can better protect himself while running that standing back in the pocket immobile. However, when it doubt, hand it off, he added."
Wilson was asked about which defenders would get the most attention at the point of attack. "Block the down guys. We won't get hung up on the linebackers, they're over rated - block the down guys and you'll always have winning football."