Friday, December 30, 2011
Insight Bowl: Three keys for Oklahoma
By David Ubben
Oklahoma and Iowa will go head-to-head Friday night in the Insight Bowl at 9 p.m. CT on ESPN. Here are three things Oklahoma has to do to avoid a Hawkeye upset.
1. Help Landry Jones out. His receivers -- sans Ryan Broyles -- have suddenly come down with a case of the dropsies late in the season. Jones will be throwing to lots of new faces without Broyles and Jaz Reynolds, and Kenny Stills hasn't looked like a No. 1 receiver in the Big 12 this year. Guys like Kameel Jackson, Trey Franks and James Winchester will get reps at receiver. The Sooners can't afford drops in what looks like it'll be a low-scoring game.
2. Don't get fancy in the red zone. Oklahoma tried this against Iowa State, and Blake Bell threw an interception. The Sooners have had a ton of success with the Belldozer -- a Tim Tebow-like formation that allows the 6-foot-6, 245-pounder to burrow through the offensive line -- in the red zone, scoring 10 touchdowns in the past five weeks. Baylor couldn't stop it. Iowa may not be able to, either. But the Sooners have looked shaky in the gadget plays out of this formation. Just let Bell do what he does and make the defense stop it.
3. Win the turnover battle. It sounds simple and obvious, perhaps, but it needs to be said. Oklahoma's offense isn't as explosive as it was when the season began, and if you're a heavily favored team, this is the best way to lose these types of games. It lost the turnover battle in spectacular fashion to Oklahoma State, 5-1. The result? The Sooners lost that game by 34 points. Oklahoma lost the battle 3-0 to Baylor and lost to the Bears for the first time in school history. Oklahoma has to take care of the ball.