OU football: Weekly mailbag includes plenty of focus on OU-Texas, round two

November 28, 2018

Every Wednesday, we try to answer all of your questions.

There were plenty this week heading into Saturday’s Big 12 championship game between Oklahoma and Texas.

Here we go …

In retrospect, how many games does OU win this year with say - an above average QB rather than an all-world one? – Dylan G.

Great question. Take Kyler Murray off this team and I’d think 9-10 in the regular season. You have to take in the Lincoln Riley factor; he probably would put his quarterback in the best position for success within his offense. Plus who knows? OU could focus heavily on the run game.

Can I coach the defense??? – Ammie S.

Right now, I think OU fans would give you a shot. From what I hear, they’d tell you to play tight on the wide receivers and blitz often. And, by the way, don’t get beat over the top when you do that.

Do you think the Sooners will play the true freshman Bookie (Brendan Radley-Hiles) in the Big 12 title game? Or are they worried about this kid being shot mentally after being severely exposed in a couple of games? Doesn’t seem like those big Texas receivers are a good match for him right now. – Scott P.

Another good question. I asked Lincoln and Kenneth Murray that question during Monday’s news conference. The defense is so decimated with injuries at the position, they probably need his experience back there. Texas’ offensive style is different than West Virginia. My guess is Bookie will play but will be tested early and often by Longhorns quarterback Sam Ehlinger. Delarrin Turner-Yell also had problems for OU. Yes, they are young, but it’s tough getting a learning experiences in such important games.

Is Kyler Murray’s stats enough to push him past Tua Tagavailoa in the Heisman race? – Jeff L.

I think he’s really closed the gap and a good game on Saturday makes it even more interesting. Any other year, it would be a runaway for Murray. But being the QB on one of college football’s all-time great teams put Alabama quarterback Tua Tagavailoa in a great spot.

If Kyler doesn’t turn the ball over, does OU win? – Joe C.

Two turnovers against Texas: Loss. Two turnovers against West Virginia: Win. The only difference in both of those games? OU picked up two turnovers against the Mountaineers and had no takeaways against UT. If Murray does lose the ball, things need to equal out with the defense.

Will Sermon or the other injured backs be available for the game on Saturday? Do you see any significant changes being made on the defense? How will OU defend the big Texas receivers this time? – Matt T.

Riley said on Monday that everyone will play that played against West Virginia. Sermon had five carries. Could he of had more if Kennedy Brooks wasn’t so efficient? The defense is what it is. There’s not much you can do in Game 13. And that wide receivers matchup will be important to watch. Look for UT to look to exploit it once again.

I know that it won’t happen this season but is there a chance that any offensive lineman, running backs or receivers who aren’t getting playing time can be converted to defensive players next season? It’s worked out for OU in the past with some players. I can’t imagine them looking any more lost out there than some of our current defensive players. – Jim N.

I just don’t see anyone making the change in the off-season. Plus with a new defensive coordinator likely in place, I can see him wanted to get a good grasp of what he already has.

Can the Sooner defense not run a zone coverage on 3rd & long? – Adam P.

The Sooners have struggled in zone as well as man. OSU’s final touchdown pass (facing fourth-and-12) ended with a 24-yard score. They’ve struggled in both man and zone.

Will we see OU go for two any or any surprise onside kicks? - @NWH8

I would think everything is available in the playbook in this game. The Sooners are 0-for-1 on onside kick attempts this season. They haven’t attempted a two-point conversion this season.

What are your thoughts on this solution for Notre Dame: enter an agreement with the Big 12 that, if they are ranked higher or have a better record than the #2 Big 12 team, then they play in the Big 12 championship vs. #1 Big 12 team. - @claytondodds

I think Notre Dame would kick and scream if asked to leave its independent status. It does have a scheduling agreement with the ACC (five games) and typically plays Navy, USC and Stanford. The ACC opponents this season was Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, Pitt, Florida State and Syracuse this season.

Does OU D scheme to stop big receivers or QB running? Both killed them first go’round - @mister_vincent

I’m interested to see how OU uses Caleb Kelly at the SAM position. How much of a difference will he make? As for the wide receivers, your defensive backs aren’t going to grow between now and the game at AT&T Stadium. They are going to have to find a way to play big.

Will we see more blitzes by the OU defense on Saturday? - @MissJaneJetson

It’ll be important for the defense to bring pressure and make Sam Ehlinger as uncomfortable as possible. Of course, if he has time, he’ll have some advantages in the pass game. It’s not only blitzing, but getting to the quarterback for the Oklahoma defense.

Could players like Caleb Kelly and Delarrin Turner-Yell be x-factors in this game? The defense didn’t seem to hit hard enough the first go-around, and these two figure to be a bigger factor in the rematch. - @HarkTheClark

Kelly is coming off his best game this season and, of course, will be an important factor against Texas. Turner-Yell is coming off a rough outing. The most important thing for him is to forget the West Virginia game and focus on playing better against the Longhorns.

Is it more important for Oklahoma’s defense to keep Texas under 30 or to score 60+ and beat Texas by 20+ in order to win the “beauty contest” that is the CFP selection. -@Suthrn_Shepherd

Following Tuesday’s reveal of the College Football Playoff Top 25, the Sooners are No. 5 and Ohio State is No. 6. First and foremost, it’s important to win the game. I think OU has positioned themselves well for the CFP if it only wins (and, of course, Georgia loses to Alabama).

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