Saturday, October 17, 2009
What the Sooners need to do to win
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
DALLAS -- Oklahoma has taken the field to begin its pregame warm-ups.
As the Sooners make their final preparations, here’s what they need to do to spring the upset later today.
Account for Jordan Shipley: The Sooners can’t afford to let Shipley run free like he did last season when he produced 11 receptions and turned the game around with a pivotal kickoff return for a touchdown. Shipley has been even better this season as he’s produced double-digit receptions in his last three games for the first time in school history.
Play free and loose: Bob Stoops cultivated his “Big Game Bob” reputation with big performances against the Longhorns earlier in his career, winning three straight games as underdogs from 2000-02. In those games, the Sooners gambled, took chances and were successful. It hasn’t been that easy in recent years.
For Stoops to have success in his 11th battle against Mack Brown -- a record in coaching battles in the storied 104-game series of the history -- the Sooners need to return to that attitude where they were willing to take chances.
Protect Sam Bradford: The Sooners’ inexperience in the offensive line was already severe with four new starters surrounding left tackle Trent Williams. And the loss of starting guard Brian Simmons in last week’s game made it a little more pressing.
That unit will have to play its best collective game of the season in protecting Bradford, back for his second game of the season after spraining his shoulder earlier this year. Look for the Longhorns to bring the heat early to try to rattle Bradford and keep him from getting into an early comfort zone.