Here’s what we learned in Oklahoma’s 36-20 loss to Texas.
The Sooners’ defense is not the dominant unit it appeared to be against TCU. Heading into the game, it appeared the Sooners featured a defense that could carry them to a Big 12 title and maybe beyond. Um, not so much. UT quarterback Case McCoy was dropping touchdown passes over the shoulders of Sooners’ defensive backs, the Longhorns rushed for 255 yards and UT converted third down after third down against the Sooners’ defense. OU still features a quality unit with a bunch of young talent, but they clearly aren’t the consistently dominant unit that shut down TCU.
Still plenty of work to do in the trenches. Texas won the battle in the trenches throughout the afternoon, consistently getting pressure on quarterback Blake Bell, while its offensive line carved out lanes for Johnathan Gray and Malcolm Brown to rush for more than 100 yards each. A veteran Sooners’ offensive line struggled to create big-play opportunities for OU’s running backs, while its defensive line took a clear step backward after looking like a much improved group during the first five games. The Sooners missed defensive tackle Jordan Phillips badly against the Longhorns.
Could a quarterback controversy be brewing? Bob Stoops was quick to spread the blame for OU’s offensive struggles around to the entire 11-man unit that took the field alongside Bell. Nonetheless, Bell looked unsettled, rattled and uncomfortable against the Longhorns pressure. It was the first time since Bell took over under center that we could see why Trevor Knight might have been given the starting nod to open the season. Bell is the Sooners’ starter and should remain atop the depth chart, since it wasn’t just him who struggled. Yet his leash should be a lot shorter, with the coaches poised to use Knight or Kendal Thompson to jump start the offense should similar issues arise during the rest of the Big 12 schedule.