Criddle's Keys

Brett RichinsSenior Analyst ISeptember 4, 2009

Let Me Share Some Insight

The offensive line of Oklahoma has been a topic of discussion during the pre season.  There is a slough of question marks regarding the future efficiency of this unit.  With only one returning starter (arguably at the most important position on the line) everyone else has little to no experience on the line.   The position of focus for me is at center and the new comer Brody Eldridge.

A converted former TE who is listed at 6-5 265.  Which likely means he is 6 4 ½ and 258 lbs by now.  I’m as giddy as a goose for this.  Here is my reasoning:

We have tenured NT in Russell Tialavea who should demand a double team every game no matter what.  My dancing polar bear is going to run circles around Brody and Oklahoma should not be able to run the ball as effectively because of a talented and experienced front seven that we have.  With Russ chomping at the bit almost every down and demanding a double team, Brody will get flustered and the center qb exchanges will suffer especially in shotgun situations.  It will be fairly loud so Brody will have some trouble making any blocking assignment calls as well.  I expect to see a fumble or two during these center qb exchanges and we must be at the right place to capitalize on them.

This combined with Rich and Scottie J flying up from their safety spots, playing down hill, using proper angles, I know they will have to go to the air.  And that’s what concerns me.

The corners have made plays this spring.  Good great grand wonderful.  They have also been scorched on big passing plays i.e: double moves, fades and posts. Besides Bradley I think we will see a bunch of twitterpated corners so consumed by the atmosphere that they don’t think football and get beat deep on big passing plays.

The safeties have to communicate to these corners and keep them focused and calm.  Remind them of down and distance and to call out formations and possible passing routes.  For instance, if they have run 2 hitches to one side and it is now 2nd and 5.  The safeties should say “watch the hitch and go!”  The corners need to collision effectively too and dictate routes to disrupt timing of the qb and wr’s, allowing our front seven to make plays.

When we get pressure on Bradford I don’t want to get just a sack though!  We need to rake the pocket.  Our front seven has never done this well.  We get to the qb and are very happy and content with just a sack.  A sack pushes them back, but it still gives them an opportunity to make a play.  The fact is we probably don’t practice raking pockets in practice as we should and it therefore shows up in our game play.

Therefore, Russell! Cause some havoc!  Corners! Do not get beat deep please!  And Front Seven! If you get to Bradford, strip the gosh darn ball for the love of all that’s holy!