How Can Florida Beat Oklahoma? Ask West Virginia.
The Oklahoma Sooners, it is written, are an unstoppable offensive juggernaut, having scored 60 or more points in their last five regular-season games. They have but one loss, a 45-35 setback handed out by Texas.
The Sooners are being talked about as one of the greatest college offenses of all time. So how do you stop them? Ask a team that did -- the WVU Mountaineers, in last year’s Fiesta Bowl, 48-28.
Here’s your to-be-sures to begin with:
- Quarterback Sam Bradford is a season older and more mature.
- So is the offensive line.
Now, how should Florida go about beating Oklahoma?
1) Score more points: I know this sounds like a facile argument, but it’s how WVU won last year. Oklahoma scored 28 points, which should be enough to win any college football game. But WVU scored 48. Oklahoma is going to score against Florida. If Florida cannot stop Oklahoma completely, it must score more points to win. Yes, Oklahoma scored more than 60 points in each of its last five games. But here’s how many points its defense gave up in those games: 28, 28, 21, 48, 21.
2) Have a multi-dimensional quarterback: Oklahoma had no answer for WVU's Pat White, who threw for two touchdowns and ran for 150 yards. Florida has Tim Tebow, who is nearly as good as White.
3) Run an exotic defense that Oklahoma has not seen before: WVU ran its 3-3-5 stack defense against the Sooner, which few teams play and which Oklahoma had not seen and could not prepare for. Its advantage is deception -- it can bring blitzes from a number of directions.
4) Bring blitzes from a number of directions: Bradford was sacked by a corner blitz, harassed by a safety blitz, harassed by a linebacker blitz and sacked by a defensive end blitz; he was sacked four times during the game after being sacked only 11 times all season. Oklahoma could not call adequate protection because WVU defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel brought pressure from a number of positions.
5) Be faster: WVU defensive linemen Scooter Berry, Keilen Dykes and Johnny Dingle were faster and quicker than the heralded Oklahoma offensive line. On the plays when Dingle wasn’t being held (and generating 10-yard penalties) he was harassing and sacking Bradford. As Dykes said after the game, regarding Oklahoma’s, um, stout offensive line: “All that stomach? You gotta be able to move.”
6) Confuse Bradford with your pass coverage: Admittedly, this will be harder to do this year as Bradford was only a freshman last season. But WVU disguised its pass defense adequately enough to bait Bradford into mistakes. WVU defensive back Quinton Andrews picked off a Bradford pass in the end zone; two other Mountaineers could have intercepted it.
7) Want it more: After the game, WVU quarterback Pat White said of the victory, “I guess we just wanted it more.” Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops pounded that phrase into his Sooners’s psyche all offseason. We’ll see if it took.
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