Matchup to watch: Marvin Mims, Sooner wide receivers vs TCU secondary

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As we near closer and closer to the 2021 version of Oklahoma vs. TCU, we can revisit the 2020 game for a little recap and a better understanding of how last year’s matchup affects might affect this year’s matchup.

Specifically, let’s look at how Oklahoma’s passing offense fared last year against TCU.

Oklahoma made the trip from Norman to Fort Worth to play TCU last year. At the time, Spencer Rattler was only making his fifth collegiate start. He came into the game fresh off his performance in the four-overtime Red River Showdown win against Texas in which he had been benched in favor of Tanner Mordecai but would later return and lead Oklahoma to the win.

Oklahoma didn’t have Rhamondre Stevenson (was serving a suspension) and Kennedy Brooks had opted out due to concerns about COVID. The running back duties fell on the shoulders of T.J. Pledger and Seth McGowan. Out wide, a freshman Marvin Mims had already risen to the top of the depth chart as the lead wide receiver. He would go on to have four catches for 132 yards and two touchdowns. Complimenting him were Theo Wease, Charleston Rambo, and Austin Stogner. Rambo and Stogner both finished with two catches.

Lining up against the Sooners wide receivers were Trevon Moehrig, Ar’Darius Washington, Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson among others. Marvin Mims was not phased by the moment and made some major plays.

Marvin Mims, as he was all last year, was a big-play machine in this game. And that was with the likes of two future NFL players on the field in Moehrig and Washington.

To replace them at safety, TCU has guys like Bud Clark, La’Kendrick Van Zandt, and T.J. Carter. To be fair the secondary has held up well. Tomlinson (nephew of the TCU and LoS Angeles Chargers legend LaDainian Tomlinson) also is back to anchor a pretty experienced TCU secondary.

This year, Oklahoma’s receiver corps looks nothing like it did last year.

Mims is back but Rambo transferred to the University of Miami while Theo Wease remains out indefinitely with an injury. Stogner hasn’t been featured in the passing game much this season.

Mims may not be able to run free and make plays as he did last year simply because teams have a year and a half of tape on him. They will force Oklahoma to rely on Jadon Haselwood, Mike Woods, Mario Williams, and Drake Stoops to move the ball thru the air.

Look for the Sooners to stress the middle of the field as Lincoln Riley looks to attack Gary Patterson’s 4-2-5 defensive alignment. This particular alignment has been noted to combat spread offenses.

The key for the Oklahoma receiver while playing against man coverage is that they use change of direction routes.

While against zone coverage they need to run weak or strong floods and play-action and force these safeties to have to cover. If you can get a LB or DB to move out of his zone or flood it with multiple options, an offense can bust the zones wide open.

Oklahoma has a more talented receiver corps this time around than they did last year and it’s not a stretch to say TCU lost more talent in the secondary than they gained.

Ultimately, the matchups in the passing game will come down to Oklahoma’s secondary receivers making plays while Gary Patterson tries his hardest to take away Mims.

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How do the Oklahoma Sooners and TCU Horned Frogs stack up statistically?