Note: Mike Vaughan is a former Sooner offensive lineman and and two-time All-American (‘75, '76). He was also fourth-round draft pick by the New York Giants and is currently the owner of Sooner Home Health Care, a Medicare certified home health care service that is Oklahoma owned and operated with multiple office locations throughout Oklahoma.
By Mike Vaughan
This Saturday's game Oklahoma vs. Texas A&M game should provide for another interesting match-up. In years past, there have been some incredibly lopsided runaways and gut-wrenching squeakers. The talent base through recruiting usually finds both OU and TAMU appearing to have quality match-ups on both sides of the ball.
Saturday's game in Norman will continue to showcase a good-sized group of highly-touted athletes who continue their individual and team quest for greatness and championships. It appears the Sooners are continually improving from week to week and are closer to their goals. To continue, the Sooners will need a win over the Aggies for another Big 12 South victory and their all-important sixth win of the season.
My keys for a Sooner victory are as follows:
Offensively, the Sooners must continue to improve and produce a balanced offensive attack that can rely on consistent positive gains on the ground or in the air. The offensive line should continue to improve their team performance led by the overpowering play of Davin Joseph. If you haven't focused on big No. 77, you should.
Speaking of blocking, J.D. Runnels, an Oklahoma product, is as good as they get. The running game should be at it strongest point of the season with improved blocking up front, and a healthier Adrian Peterson with a solid group of experienced backups and developing wisdom and playmaking skills at quarterback, receivers and tight ends. The big guys upfront with the running game blends well in setting up the short and long passing game.
On Saturday, the Sooners need error-free football, to dominate the line of scrimmage, win the battle of field position, ball control for long scoring drives and outscore the Aggies. Drive it to the Red Zone and punch in the end zone.
There is a simple formula for winning football games. Outscore your opponent, don't let them score, shut them out! Yesterday, my friend and teammate, John Randolph, and I, a couple of good Oklahoma boys from Ada and Seminole were discussing the keys to stopping Texas A&M.
There is not a greater Sooner than John. He knows his football and summed it up in one line. Stop their QB, Reggie McNeal, do not allow him to make plays as he has done in the past with his legs or the long ball. I concur with Dr. Randolph and want to see an overpowering game out of the front seven and strong improvement out of the secondary.
Pressure and containment of QB is a must. A solid defensive line, led by Dusty Dvoracek, who makes play after play busting through double- and triple-teams. He is an inspiring and great player who reminds us of many great ones from the past: Selmon, Selmon, Selmon, Moore, Bryan, Casillas, Harris, Gregg and others.
The defensive ends and linebackers will need to pressure and force the ball into a trap of pursuit swarming Sooners. Blitzing pressure upfront should allow the secondary to continue their improvement. No busts, no blown coverages, contest every route, every thrown ball and win the battle.
All year long I have been looking for something extra in Special Teams. Reggie Smith provides some spark in kickoff returns and that must continue, even break one for a TD. Put the ball into the end zone on kickoffs with great coverage, make the Aggies start on or behind the 20-yard line. Pressure the punter get the block take it to the bank.
Like I said, I'm still looking for a return game. This week would be a great time to score. Maintain consistency in extra points and field goals. Don't look for Hartley to run for many first downs. He was impressive, what a great call and execution. The element of surprise can be powerful. Look for the special teams to improve. Sooners must take care of the ball and advance for field position. On the flip side, OU must execute great coverage, create turnovers, block a kick. Always win the battle of kicking games.
To sum it up…Offensively, OU must dominate and be overpowering at the line of scrimmage allowing our skill players to show their talent and consistently cross the goal line. Defensively, the Sooners must continue to pressure the Aggies with the front seven forcing errors, loss of yardage, incompletions and turnovers. The secondary must continue to play up-tempo football, create turnovers and be a force on each and every play. And when in the kicking game, keep the momentum with the Sooners. Continue to add something extra in Special Teams.
I enjoyed the opportunity to respond to OUINSIDER. I'm certain the Sooners will continue to improve down the stretch. Being a purebred Sooner out of Ada, by way of Coalgate, my time as a player has been a great honor. My involvement with the program as a fan continues to be an honor.
I will say, I do look forward to winning them all. As part of the great teams in the 70's, I look for perfection from our team to carry on and enhance the positive image of our great university, great state and great people of Oklahoma.
It's just like I said, Sooner born and Sooner bred.
Former Sooner Mike Vaughan breaks down OU-A&M
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