The biggest question for the Oklahoma Sooners coming into this year was the offensive line. Replacing four on the line is always a challenge and the new line was definitely a huge issue for the Sooners.
Not only where they penalized early and often, killing drives before they got started, they let BYU have two or three free unobstructed paths to Sam Bradford. One of which resulted in losing Bradford for, at the very least, the rest of the game.
Lets face it, the Sooners were struggling against BYU before Bradford went out but the insertion of back up QB Landry Jones for the second half left the OU offense predictable and against a good team like BYU, you need to keep the defense guessing.
Jones did a decent job but the conservative play calling and continued holding and offside penalties from the offensive line kept him in tough third and long situations when he did need to make a throw.
There are plenty of questions following the Sooners loss, the main one remains the offensive line, if they do not get better especially when it comes to penalties, this will not be the only loss for the Sooners this year. They need to get better and smarter and fast as Tulsa is no easy win and Miami on the road will not be won without better line play.
Is this 2005 all over again? The opening game certainly felt a lot like the TCU opener that year. The offense struggled and the defense could not quite do enough to win.
Of course, Sam bradford's should return in a few weeks and that will help but the Sooners will need much better play from the offensive line to return to glory and repeat as the Big 12 champions for the fourth year in a row.
The offensive line, however, was not the only problem for the Sooners.
More reasons to worry for the Sooners
The Injuries have started early and they have hit the biggest possible players at least on offense. Bradford is likely to miss at least one more full game and Gresham may need his knee scoped if the Injury does not heel itself like the Sooners are hoping.
It was more than just penalties.
While the penalties were the biggest problem on the O line, it was not the only problem. On run plays, the Sooners only stood the Cougars up and could not push them back leading to a lackluster running attack.
Picking up blitzes was also a weak spot, especially the delayed blitzes from the linebackers. BYU was overloading the left side of the line on most blitzes and the line was not shifting over to compensate leaving the left side to block three to five defenders.
The run game
The run game was average at best. In order to win, they will need to rely on the run more than last year and the line and backs were lackluster tonight.
OU has historically been a team that does not fumble all too often but they fumbled twice agaisnt the Cougars.
The middle of the field remains a hole in the defense.
While overall, the defense did well, most of the time when BYU needed a big conversion to keep a drive alive they went to the middle of the field and usually they found a hole in the zone, especially when OU blitzed more than four.
Some positives Sooner fans can take from the game
The defense forced four turnovers, a trend that could serve them well like it did last year.
While the defense allowed more yards than you would like and the fourth quarter drive, Overall they did a good job and Kept OU in the game despite the offense not doing much at all.
The safeties played well
I really only saw one mistake by the new safties and Carter even filled some of the holes at the line of scrimmage to stop running plays. On passing plays, they did a good job keeping the deep options covered and the receivers in front of them.
Landry Jones got some great experience.
While Landry Jones did not get the job done, getting game experience means he will be much less nervous if he is called on to start another game or is needed in the middle of a game again if Bradford goes down.
BYU should be the best team we face until Texas.
While Tulsa and Miami are not easy games and big challenges, BYU is probably the most complete of the four out of conference opponents. TU has a great offense and Miami has some great young talent especially on defense, BYU is the highest ranked team and may be the best overall team the Sooners face out of conference.
If OU can turn things around, they may be forgiven
I do not think OU is going to get too much sympathy given their poor BCS record and the Texas controversy from last year. However, if they could run the table and win the rest of the games, they may be forgiven for this loss since they were without Gresham and only had Bradford for the first half.
However, this team needs to improve immensely before they can even think of running the table or winning another conference championship.
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