Oklahoma Bowl Game 2010: Breaking Down The Sooners In The Fiesta Bowl
The Oklahoma Sooners are coming off a Big 12 championship victory, sending Nebraska away from a BCS bowl to take on a team they polished off earlier in the year in Washington.
The Sooners—once ranked at the top of the country—are flying high again as they head into the Tostitos Fiesta bowl. The loss to Missouri came at a rough time in the season. It was not early enough for OU to make a climb back to the top, and with another slip up against Texas A&M, they sit at no. 7 in the BCS standings.
Their opponent? The Connecticut Huskies.
UConn is the champion of arguably the worst conference in the country, and it comes as no surprise to see predictions of a 30-point blowout.
The Sooners are better in every aspect of the game, and the Huskies really stand no chance.
Here is a preview of what UConn is dealing with.
Some like him, some don't, but everyone cannot deny that he knows how to coach a football team.
While some may call it "whining" up-and-down the sidelines, Stoops calls it coaching. Whining or not, Stoops has established himself as one of the best coaches in the country.
His record stands at 128-31 in his coaching career—dating back to the early 90's where he started out in Kansas at K-State. He has only lost two games in Norman, and currently holds a national title to his name.
Along with that national title, he has seven Big 12 Championships in the past ten years. Some may call that good, I call that dominant. Year in and year out Stoops delivers, reloading his Sooner teams with top recruits every year.
Clearly he has shown the country he is a genius, finishing in the top 10 seven times in the past 10 years.
Jones is the heart of the OU team.
He is arguably the best passer in the country, as he currently has 35 touchdowns on the year with 11 interceptions and over 4,000 yards with a 65 percent completion rate.
If that is not good then I don't know what is.
Jones plays like a vet despite only being a sophomore, with only 13 more yards to go to hit the career mark of 7,500 yards.
Last year was a tough year, but Jones was lead the Sooners as a freshman to an 8-5 record, all while passing over 3,000 yards and recording 26 touchdowns. For a freshman, that's not too shabby.
This year is an improvement to say the least, and if the trend continues, then look for the Sooners to be one of the top teams in the country next year behind Landry and company.
6'1'' and 215 pounds, Landry Jones has one great back behind him in the backfield, and Murray has been the key to success in a handful of the wins for the Sooners this year.
Murray is the perfect combination of speed and strength, and as a senior and veteran, he is one of the players that the team looks to when in doubt, and for good reason.
Despite rushing for over 1,000 yards this season, he is a big target for Jones to hit as he rolls out of the backfield. Murray has over 500 yards receiving this year as well.
He is on his way to the next level, and is a clear threat that the Huskies are reminding their players of over and over.
Broyles is the top option for Jones.
With near 1500 yards receiving, Ryan is also one of the top receivers in the country. It is not his size that is the reason for all the yards, it is the way that Broyles runs his routes.
He is great off of the line, and he is as shifty as any receiver across the country. The mistake cornerbacks make when trying to shut Broyles down is trying to jam him off the line. He is too shifty and quick to try and stop him at the line of scrimmage.
He has nine games over the century mark receiving, including a 208 yard performance against Colorado, and a Florida State game with 15 receptions.
Look for Broyles to make a big impact on this year's Fiesta Bowl.
The true freshman from California was a great grab for Stoops, and he is proving that this season. He is a great compliment to the phenomenal passing game by Jones.
To step in as a freshman and be the second best receiver on a Big 12 Championship team is hard, but Stills has made it look easy.
His 53 receptions and 713 yards is the most by any freshman receiver in Oklahoma history, which is a great example of how good this kid is. He is on track to break many records for the Sooners, and fans could not be more excited about this young man.
With the addition of Stills, it adds another element to the phenomenal passing game of OU. Teams cannot focus on Broyles all day because of the needed respect for Stills.
This guy is all over the place.
Lewis leads the Sooner team with 53 solo tackles and 99 total or his third year in a row.
He came onto the scene as a freshman and was voted Freshman Defensive Player of the Year in the Big 12 by the coaches. He returned his sophomore season with a 1st team All Big 12 award to add to his résumé, along with an All Big-12 Academic team honor as well.
He is the player that the opponents fear, and they always need to know where no. 28 is on the field.
The defensive back from Arlington, Texas is one of the leaders of this Sooner defense.
He currently is one tackle behind linebacker Travis Lewis with 98 total on the season, and holds 50 solo tackles directly to his name. As a Junior he had only started three games, but saw playing time in all of them, and he has worked his tail off to flourish during his last season as a Sooner.
He has been there through it all, and has seen what works and what doesn't, making him one of the smarter football players on the field. Players like Nelson help the team out a whole lot more than people think.
The Defensive Line
The defensive line is particularly noticed because of the play of Jeremy Beal.
The Senior, who has 8.5 sacks on the year, is one of the best defensive ends in the country. He is second on the list in career sacks and total tackles-for-loss in Oklahoma history, and is on his way to the next level flying high.
Other than Beal, they have two youngsters on the insides at defensive tackle in Stacy Mcgee and Jamarkus Mcfarland. These two had never started a game before heading into the 2010 season, and are a big reason why this front four is not heralded across the country.
On the other end the Sooners have Frank Alexander who is in his 3rd year as a Sooner, and was put into the starting depth chart for the 2010 season for the first time in his career. Despite being the first go around as a starter, Alexander has made it tough for teams to decide to run the ball outside. He currently has 11 tackles-for-loss and 6 sacks on the season.
The Passing Attack
The one big reason why the Sooners are so productive comes with their passing attack.
This not only has produced almost 4400 yards of offense, I think it is the biggest reason that they are no. 7 in the country and headed to play in the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale.
As most people would think, the passing game starts with the quarterback, and some of the time this is true, but the offensive line of Oklahoma is very underrated. With an average weight of around 300 pounds, the big boys up front give a whole lot of time for Mr. Jones to throw the ball. Every great passing quarterback in the history of football knows that you have to have a great front 5 to throw the ball, it is just a given.
Jones is the middle man between the ball and the great receiving core that the Sooners have. With Broyles and Stills as the main target to hit, Jones has great options in Trey Franks and Cameron Kenney--who share time at the receiver spot--and James Hanna, the tight end who has 6 touchdown catches on the season.
The scouting report against the Sooners consists of getting to the quarterback. Two of the reasons why this is so tough for teams is: A) the O-line is one group of big boys that most teams cannot get past, and B) even if you DO make it past them, you risk the slip pass to running back Demarco Murray, who has over 500 yards receiving on the season.
This Sooner team is one of the best in the nation when their defense steps up. It should be interesting to see the attack against the Huskies and what schemes Stoops is planning on to stop UConn.