Burning questions for the Sooners week 2 matchup vs. Western Carolina

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Lincoln Riley boasts a 46-8 record since taking the helm of the Sooners in 2017. That mark is good for an overall win percentage of 84%. Since joining Riley’s staff in 2019, defensive coordinator Alex Grinch has morphed Oklahoma’s defense into a top 10 unit in sacks, rushing defense, and third-down defense.

Both coaches are paramount to OU’s success, and a too close for comfort win over Tulane can’t change that. So that’s why it feels bizarre pointing at them as the subject of this week’s burning questions.

Lincoln Riley admitted that the Sooners didn’t carry the right mentality into the second half versus Tulane.

“In the second half, I think clearly our team felt like the game was over,” Riley said. “That’s my job to make sure our mentality was right. I don’t think it was.”

Will the Sooners get caught scoreboard watching against Western Carolina? Or will Riley, in tandem with captains Spencer Rattler, Jeremiah Hall, Pat Fields, and Caleb Kelly, have Oklahoma locked in for a full 60 minutes?

Alex Grinch used Tulane as an opportunity to evaluate the depth of the OU defense. The results were controversial as the Sooners allowed the Green Wave to roll for 396 yards and a 21 point offensive outburst in the final 30 minutes. Our very own Bryant Crews did a deep dive into the snap count and its impact on the game.

Jalen Redmond only logged 39 snaps, and Perrion Winfrey was on the field for 36 out of a possible 82 snaps…In a game that wasn’t a “laugher,” two of your starting defensive linemen logged less than than 50 percent of the defensive snaps. Yes, getting players some in-game experience is fine but playing starters less than 50 percent of the snaps can certainly lead to mishaps and missed assignments. – Crews

Heading into this weekend’s game versus Western Carolina, both Grinch and Riley have said that substitution patterns will be under constant evaluation.

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I think we played 31 guys defensively the other night, which is almost three guys per position. So, that’s quite a bit…Now with some game tape to evaluate, game situations to evaluate, that’ll certainly factor into decisions in the upcoming weeks. And listen, we’re not going to play 31 guys on defense every week. I mean, it’ll narrow. – Lincoln Riley to the media

If the Sooners jump out to a quick 21-0 lead in the first quarter, how will they handle their rotations? Will they let the starters continue to find their rhythm or will they go three deep across the depth chart.