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While the Sooners entered their bye week a few weeks ago flying high offensively, they came out of the bye, went to Waco, and struggled against the Baylor Bears defense.
The team as a whole lost, but at multiple moments throughout the game, the defense showed they were ready to compete. The same cannot be said about an offense that looked as flat as a fresh piece of paper. It’s time to flip that page and start anew.
More precisely, three players on the offensive side of the ball must bury last week’s shortcomings and ready themselves for another war against Iowa State. Their contributions are paramount to Oklahoma’s chances to win this game.
Caleb Williams, QB
Earlier this week, we mentioned Caleb Williams is one of a handful of players that needed a major bounceback this game. With that being the case, it’s only right your starting true freshman quarterback is also a key to the game this week. It’s quite simple. When Williams plays to the level we’ve seen, Baylor notwithstanding, Oklahoma can operate on offense at a level Sooner fans have grown accustomed to.
Maybe it was the first true road game atmosphere in very hostile territory that rattled him but he’s back home and has had all week to work through things.
Iowa State runs a 3-3-5. There’s likely to be a lot of Cover 3 or Cover 1 played for the Sooners and the Cyclones will try to speed up Williams decision making. Decisiveness with the ball will be key.
After seeing quite a few blitzes last week, maybe Williams is better prepared and his coaches also tweak their game plan to give him some quick throws when Iowa State brings pressure. If he plays well, the Sooners win this game.
Up Next: Williams needs help up front
Anton Harrison, LT
While Caleb Williams will need to play well for the Sooners to win this game, that can only happen with solid play from his offensive line.
For Anton Harrison, he gets the difficult task of limiting defensive end Will McDonald.
Will McDonald led the FBS in sacks with 10.5 last season and currently holds Iowa State’s record in sacks. He’s on NFL radars and certainly plays the part.
He’ll alternate both sides, so Tyrese Robinson will also have to be prepared for him, but Harrison protects Williams’ blind side. If Harrison can at least stalemate McDonald long enough it could afford the Caleb Williams the time he needs to make some key throws from the pocket. Look for the Cyclones to stunt and twist McDonald as well to give him some situational advantages and make Harrison and Marquis Hayes think as they attempt to block him.
Up Next: Veteran Back Comes Through
Jeremiah Hall, H-back
Jeremiah Hall has been an integral part of this offense since he took over for Dimitri Flowers. He blocks, runs, catches passes and is a major leader on the field for Oklahoma. Last week, Hall didn’t play well.
On a few occasions in the run game he failed to sustain his blocks and his assignment was able to make a tackle or help disrupt a play. It wasn’t his best performance and he’d probably tell you that.
He will be needed as you can bet the Sooners will look to impose their will running against 3 down linemen from Iowa State. Hall crashing down on linebackers and getting his hands on smaller defensive backs to help seal the edge for off tackle runs could be the difference in the running game for Oklahoma.
If Hall can win in pass coverage against someone like reigning Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year Mike Rose, could also really open up the intermediate passing game for the Sooner receivers.
Jeremiah Hall is Oklahoma’s best red zone weapon. He scored twice against the Cyclones last year in Ames. His blocking and versatility allows the Sooners to go through so many looks while not having to change players.
The stage is set and the Sooners know the assignment. With better play from these three players, it should set Oklahoma up to have the best chance to score and score often. If the offense can hold up their bargain, the defense will get enough stops to help secure a Sooners win.