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Scouting Report: Oklahoma

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The Red River Showdown might have a few less fans in the stands this year, but there is no love lost between the Longhorns and Sooners. This game might carry even more significance with how both teams have been playing. The Longhorns are coming off a very sloppy performance in a loss at home against TCU, while the Sooners have dropped their first two Big 12 games to Kansas State and Iowa State. Texas is desperate to put together a complete game and keep their goal of a Big 12 championship within reach, while the Sooners will look to patch up a lot of issues defensively and get the train back on the tracks for an offense that has sputtered at times in 2020. Let’s take a look at what to expect from Oklahoma:

Offense

Lincoln Riley is beginning to find out that playing with a ton of youth on offense is not the best recipe for success in the Big 12. The Sooners are breaking in first year starters at QB, RB, TE and several spots at receiver. Redshirt freshman QB Spencer Rattler has shown flashes of brilliance, but is still finding his footing and has been turnover prone. Rattler has a very strong arm and does a great job hitting open receivers that Riley is able to scheme up for him, but he does not have CeeDee Lamb, Marquise Brown or Dede Westbrook to throw to. Redshirt junior Charleston Rambo and true freshman Marvin Mims are the two main receivers Rattler will attempt to get the ball to down the field, but TE Austin Stogner and H-back Jeremiah Hall will be targeted frequently in the short and intermediate passing game. At running back, junior TJ Pledger and freshman Seth McGowan will receive the bulk of the carries.

In addition to the youth at key skill positions, Oklahoma has also received subpar offensive line play through the seasons first 3 games. The Sooners have had a revolving door at LT between Erik Swenson and true freshman Anton Harrison. The Texas defensive line showed signs of life last week and will have the opportunity to make their presence felt at the Cotton Bowl. 

Defense

Following a big first year improvement under defensive coordinator Alex Grinch in 2019, the Sooners defense has shown some leaks in the first two games of Big 12 play. Oklahoma really misses LB Kenneth Murray and NT Neville Gallimore, both of whom are now in the NFL. Another key piece, DE Ronnie Perkins, was suspended prior to OU’s semifinal game against LSU last season, but appears to be on track to return after winning an appeal that would cut his suspension length. Even with Perkins, the Sooners defensive line should not be too overwhelming. Oklahoma has 2 sacks on the season against teams not named Missouri State. It remains to be seen if Texas will be ready for the twists and stunts the Sooners defensive line dominated with in the 2019 matchup.

Linebackers DeShaun White and Nik Bonnito were both squarely on the recruiting radar for Texas coming out of high school, and the Longhorns could certainly use them. White currently leads the team with 2.5 tackles for loss and is extremely active at the inside linebacker spot. Bonnito is also dangerous as a pass rusher.

CB Tre Brown is seemingly in his 10th year as a starter in Norman. He is average for a starter entering his 3rd year. Sophomore Jaden Davis starts the opposite corner spot and has been picked on at times against Kansas State and Iowa State. Nickelback Brendan Radley-Hiles is a penalty machine whom Texas should test early and often with guys like Jake Smith. 

Overall Thoughts

The loser of this game is in really big trouble. A loss for Texas might mean the writing is on the wall for Tom Herman, while a loss for Oklahoma means Lincoln Riley will start 0-3 in Big 12 play and endure his first real pressure since taking over in 2017. Both of these teams have holes defensively, and it will likely come down to which coach is able to take advantage of these mismatches. As has become the case over the last few years, it has the makings of a game that will be decided late in the 4th quarter.

Jameson McCausland is originally from Frisco, Texas, where he grew up a Longhorn fan. His two favorite sports are football and baseball, both of which he covers for HornSports. He enjoys spending time with family and friends in his spare time. Jameson is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin.

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