Will the Oklahoma Sooners Offense Ever Achieve 2008 Greatness Again?
In 2008, the Oklahoma Sooners possessed the most potent offense in the history of college football.
The Sooners roared through the season, scoring an NCAA record 716 points and averaging 51.1 points per game.
In addition to the record for most points scored in a season, the Sooners also set four other NCAA scoring records, including touchdowns in a season with 99, rushing and passing touchdowns in a season with 96, extra points scored by kicking with 94, and, perhaps most impressive, most consecutive games scoring 60 points with five.
Not only did the Sooners score a lot, they also scored fast. And when I say fast, I do mean fast.
Forty-seven of the Sooners' 99 touchdown drives happened in less than two minutes. Some of them were set up by interceptions, punt and kickoff returns, or fumbles, but the fact remains that 47.5 percent of the time the Sooners scored a touchdown, they did it in less than two minutes.
That to me may be the most impressive statistic of all. The Sooners just could not be stopped. It only happened twice. The second half against Texas and against Florida, both losses.
Another major statistic that I find really impressive is how fast the Sooners had a big lead. For the season, the Sooners outscored opponents 225-30 in the first quarter and 563-157 in the first half.
For those of you doing the math at home, that's an average halftime score of 40-11. And some games weren't even THAT close.
The Sooners also put up many impressive numbers in the yardage department as well, averaging 198.5 yards on the ground per game and 349.4 yards through the air for a total of 547.9 yards per game.
The Sooners average 6.9 yards per play and converted 51 percent of their third down conversions.
Individually, the Sooners set records as well. The 2008 Sooners are one of two teams to have two 1,000 yard rushers with a 3,000 yard passer and a 1,000 yard receiver. The other team was the 2005 USC Trojans.
Oklahoma also set the record by having a 4,000 yard passer and a 1,000 yard rusher in the same year. They are the only team to have done that, and they even had TWO 1,000 yard rushers.
Sam Bradford won the Heisman Trophy with his amazing year. The Oklahoma City native passed for 4,720 yards and 50 touchdowns and had a 180.84 passer rating.
Chris Brown led the way on the ground with 1,220 yards and 20 touchdowns while Murray just cracked the 1,000 yard mark at 1,002 and 14 touchdowns.
Juaquin Iglesias was the 1,000 yard man in the receiving corps with 1,150 yards and 10 touchdowns. Tight end Jermaine Gresham just missed out on the club with 950 yards, but he did catch 14 touchdowns.
All told, 10 different Sooners caught a touchdown pass.
And now for the kicker...
Can this be duplicated? Maybe not in 2010 for the Sooners, but ever?
The thing that is sometimes overlooked about this offensive juggernaut is that the Sooners had a tremendous offensive line.
Big, fast, physical, and truly a unit, this group dominated the line of scrimmage in the run game and gave Sam Bradford upwards of five seconds to throw the football, many times longer.
For Oklahoma to be able to duplicate the performance of the 2008 offense, the offensive line will have to perform at a very high level.
I talked about the Sooners offensive line a couple months ago in this article and highlighted the differences between experience and inexperience simply by looking at the Sooners' offensive statistics from 2008 and 2009.
The statistics don't lie: stability on the offensive line is the foundation for the success of an offense.
Now don't get me wrong. Not everything will simply fall into place if the offensive line becomes the strength of the team. The 2008 Sooners had a ton of talent on offense. I mean, they ONLY had the Heisman Trophy winner at quarterback.
The Sooners have the pieces there on offense, especially at wide receiver and running back. There is a lot of depth and talent, although some of it is unproven.
Quarterback Landry Jones got a lot of great experience filling in for Sam Bradford in 2009 and is basically a returning starter. However, Jones must become more mature and consistent if the Sooners want to maintain a high-performing offense.
Simply looking at names on a sheet of paper would lead one to believe that the Sooners have a chance to really be special this year, especially on offense.
You would be correct in thinking that, but on offense, there has to be a bunch of players to step up and meet expectations, including senior running back DeMarco Murray. He must prove he can be the feature back and stay healthy for a whole season.
The offensive line, however, is the key. The Sooners have no hope of attaining 2008 greatness offensively if that unit doesn't become a major strength.
Can the record-breaking performance of the 2008 Oklahoma Sooners be duplicated? I certainly think so.
Is it an easy feat to accomplish?
By no means.
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