The Oklahoma Sooners are set to take on in-state opponent, the Tulsa Golden Hurricane this weekend. Tulsa is coming off a blowout loss to the Washington Huskies and the Sooners are coming off a hard-fought win over the SMU Mustangs.
Tulsa also comes in with a whole new coaching staff as former Oklahoma offensive coordinator, Kevin Wilson, has taken over the reins. Bruce Howard has been the voice of Tulsa football since 1993 and he joined me on my podcast, Eat. Sleep. Bedlam. to preview the upcoming game against the Sooners.
Howard said Sooner fans can expect a lot of the same concepts they remember from Wilson’s time at Oklahoma.
“He really wants his team to be physical and aggressive,” Howard said. “That starts with the offensive line. They did a pretty good job of running against Washington last week, the No. 8 team in the nation. They did a decent job there. I think part of that has to do with who is taking the snaps.”
The quarterback position is an interesting one. Cardell Williams and Braylon Braxton bring dual-threat abilities. Braxton was injured early in the first game of the year, and Williams was injured last week. It’s unclear if either will play this week, but it looks like Braxton has a chance at being back.
But Oklahoma’s run defense will have to be on their “A” game as Tulsa brings in the nation’s 26th-ranked rushing attack. Oklahoma counters that with the 28th-ranked rush defense.
Tulsa runs a 4-2-5 defense that really struggled a week ago but that’s to be expected against a very good Washington offense led by Heisman contender Michael Penix Jr. But Howard believes Tulsa could take a similar approach as SMU to their matchup with Oklahoma this weekend.
“If you’re Tulsa, you hope that’s the way they’re able to do it,” Howard said. “That they’re able to kind of control things. Last week against Washington that was the big concern. The Huskies do like to go deep, they like to strike deep, and they like to strike quickly. They didn’t get that against Tulsa. But they did nickel and dime them to death. A lot of intermediate passes that were successful against Tulsa because Tulsa was very cognizant of getting beat over the top.”
That has been one of the main criticisms of Jeff Lebby and the Oklahoma offense is too often they are so reliant on the deep shots, that they struggle when a team takes that away.
The Mustangs were able to do that a week ago, admittedly with a better defense than the Golden Hurricane bring. The Sooners better have a better gameplan to take their shots this week or it will be another low-scoring affair.