5 Questions: Oklahoma

No. 25 TCU hosts No. 3/4 Oklahoma this Saturday in a battle between two top 25 teams. What should Frog fans watch for from the Sooners? We visited with SoonersIllustrated.com publisher Bob Przybylo to get the answers.

1. TCU coach Gary Patterson has said this could be the Sooners best defense he's seen in ten years especially since Mike Stoops has been back; what is the talk up in Norman about the Sooners' defense?

This defense is the best one OU has had in years. At every spot there is somebody that can make a huge difference in a game. And through the first four games, has made a huge impact. Start talking the best OU players on defense, and it’s a lengthy conversation. Eric Striker doesn’t have the numbers of a Butkus Award winner, but he leads the nation in “disruptions” on plays. He’s everywhere. Geneo Grissom has made a smooth transition to outside linebacker. Jordan Phillips is healthy at defensive tackle. Dominique Alexander and Jordan Evans have stepped up at linebacker. Zack Sanchez has an interception in five consecutive games and six of the last seven. This defense gives up some big plays but makes just as many.

2. Trevor Knight is a good scrambler and can avoid a blitz; but how has his passing improved from a year ago when facing pressure?

It’s funny because if you ask OU fans, Knight has been among the biggest disappointments so far this season for OU. Some of that, though, could be OU trying to save Knight for games like this. What has made Knight so special has been his legitimate dual-threat capability. He hasn’t been that runner this season, including having zero rushes against West Virginia. Tough to say how he’s improved as he has only been sacked twice as the offensive line, an experienced group, has played incredibly well through four games.

3. Samaje Perine had a huge game against West Virginia two weeks ago, is he likely the Sooners top back moving forward for the rest of the season and what are his best strengths?

Not too likely. OU has a three-headed monster with Perine, Alex Ross and Keith Ford. Ford is going to miss the game as he’s recovering from a fractured fibula. But Ross is a home run threat with great speed. Stoops is known to just ride with what’s working. Sometimes that’s alternating backs, sometimes that’s giving somebody like Perine 30 carries. If it’s working, nobody on the team seems to care how things get distributed. Perine is like a bowling ball. The first guy is never going to bring him down. His yards after contact are crazy, and he just bounces off guys or moves the pile forward when being gang tackled.

4. Who is one player on offense and defense for the Sooners that you feel could and have to be a difference maker against TCU to be successful?

For the offense, it has felt like wide receiver Durron Neal has been waiting for a breakout game. He’s a junior still searching for his first receiving touchdown. Strangely enough, Neal threw a touchdown pass two weeks ago. With teams so locked in with Sterling Shepard, Neal should be able to make a difference. Defensively, it’s sort of a take your pick, but safety Quentin Hayes has a knack for making a huge play at just the right time.

5. What are your keys for Oklahoma to get out of Ft. Worth with a victory?

There are a few things OU hasn’t done too well that have been glossed over. OU doesn’t convert on third down as well as you might think. A lot of that is because OU can be awful, at times, on first and second down. OU has to start getting Knight involved in the run game with the zone-read because it’s clear Knight gets more locked in with his passing game when he’s using all of his talents. Defensively, it will be about creating turnovers. Fans can live with the big plays allowed as West Virginia had a few when the defense turns up the heat and forces at least two or three turnovers and/or scores a touchdown as well.

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