Burning Questions

There are burning questions that need to be answered by our beloved Red Raiders for the upcoming game against the Sooners in Norman. Our Red Raiders need to keep up the play that we had against Baylor, as RaiderPower asks the questions that need to be the focus for this week.

1. Can we keep up the tempo?  The thing that I enjoyed most about the Baylor game was that the team never let up or lost focus.  There wasn't the second-half letdown, and we didn't get demoralized when Baylor took a 14-7 lead.  There must not be a second of the game against OU in which we take it easy on them.  They will absolutely punish us for every mistake that we make, especially considering that this will be OU's last home game of the season.  We must score early and score often, and avoid the lulls that have plagued us for much of the season.  Hopefully we learned this lesson against Texas.  Oh, and one more thing.  Let's keep the game out of the hands of the officials.  There's no telling what they will do in this game, so forget about them.  Let's just blowout the Sooners instead.  That sounds just fine by me.

2. Can we spread the ball around a bit more?  As much as I liked to see Joel Filani get 212 yards and three TDs against Baylor, that is not the way that we will beat OU.  The way that we will beat OU is by playing much like we did against Texas.  We must use the entire field.  Hopefully Jarrett Hicks will suit up to keep Graham's eyes from straying too far to the right.  Shannon Woods is earning some more touches is my mind as well with the way that he has played in all aspects of his game.  While I don't expect him to get 125 yards on the ground like last week, I think that he should be able to punish Oklahoma as a receiver.  The Sooner defense revolves around getting pressure and forcing mistakes.  Shannon is the way that we will defeat the pressure.  The shovel pass could go for a big gain if used properly.

3. Can we keep up the success on the lines?  For those of you who haven't noticed, every game in which Graham has been given plenty of time has had a fantastic offensive performance.  I'm starting to warm up to the "games are won and lost in the trenches" theory.  Thankfully, the story as of late has been one of dominance for the offensive line, and I expect this trend to continue even against the talented Oklahoma pass rush.  However, the big surprise last week was the way that the defensive line completely shut down Baylor.  Half of their plays didn't even have the time to develop, and it was a beautiful thing.  We will absolutely need a similarly strong effort in order to defeat the Sooners this weekend.  Shut down their rushing attack, and we will have effectively shut down the heart of the Sooners.

4. Can the defense keep the OU offense in check?  Well, since we decided to play the Sooners at the end of the year once again, they have had time to develop their team.  Hooray.  Paul Thompson has grown from a poor quarterback into a good one, and their o-line has gone from porous to making Allen Patrick look like an All-American.  Oklahoma runs an offense similar to that of Texas, in that they use quite a bit of running from the QB and halfback to open up the deep passing game.  Their receiving corps is underrated, as Malcolm Kelly and Juaquin Iglesias are fully capable of making teams pay.  We also must not allow the Sooners to simply run the ball down our throats, as our defensive line needs to repeat the phenomenal performance that they had against the Baylor Bears last weekend.

5. Can we remember why we don't like OU?  Since this seemed to work last week, it makes its return.  This shouldn't be a tough task; just pick your reason.  They are generally incapable of winning or losing with graciousness.  They indirectly pay their players.  They recruit illegally.  They like ponies.  They can't spell.  They stay classy.  They have Toby Keith.  They take pride in stealing.  They brainwash infants.  They get medical redshirts for drinking too much.  And if all of that isn't enough, about half of them actually think that they beat us last year.  It should really be easy for our players to find the motivation to play with intensity this week.  It will be tough, but we can beat them, even if it is at their house.  Defeat the Sooners, because the last thing we need is more OU fans running their mouths.

-Trent Wycoff

(Questions, comments, praise, and constructive criticism can be directed to Trent within the forums or through email at trent@raiderpower.com.)

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