Oklahoma insider Kegan Reneau noted that Iowa State defensive coordinator Jon Heacock challenged Lincoln Riley in the Big 12. Iowa State used a 3-3-5 look to get reinforcements in the secondary but put enough bodies in the tackle box to confuse Oklahoma’s quarterbacks and force them to be patient.
This is what the Cincinnati Bengals did to Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs in their AFC Championship Game upset last January. These are the lessons Riley must convey to Caleb Williams at USC.
How did Riley adjust to Jon Heacock’s defensive look when he coached at Oklahoma?
“He had some really good answers for it,” Reneau said. “You guys are gonna see a wide receiver screen where the inside receiver looks like he’s running a shallow cross, but he’s really catching a screen pass. And his receivers are blocking downfield in front of him. He’s gonna catch the football behind the line of scrimmage, or (else) those are offensive pass interferences. He had that answer for it. They had some very interesting tunnel screen looks that they did.
“The biggest thing for me that comes to mind along this conversation is that if the thought is true that he was thinking of other things (leaving Oklahoma) over the final three weeks of the 2021 season, that he still — schematically and how Oklahoma tried to attack defenses — beat them, right? That’s how talented this guy is. His players didn’t execute at the level needed for them to execute those plays, but the plays that he was calling and the plays that were designed should have worked. That’s how damn good this guy is.”