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1st series: does Dana go conservative or does he push?
Brad Towns (Prediction: 52-38 Sooners) – LOL conservative. Nah, that’s not him. Dana’s going to let it rip. We are on the big stage and on the road and in game 1 of a new era. You have to come out throwing haymakers.
Now, you don’t have to drop back and chuck it downfield every play. I’m talking about throwing the entire offense at them OU from the first snap: do what we do best and put players in position to make plays. Mix it up and keep the defense guessing.
OU will be hyped to kick-off the season with their new aggressive defensive philosophy. Use that aggression against them. Make their players think, show them formations they haven’t seen on film, and force them into over-pursuit.
Ryan Monceaux (Prediction: 45-35 Sooners) – Conservative isn’t the right word for it. Maybe not cautious, either. In an environment like we’ll see tonight, Dana needs to manage his team’s excitement a little bit early on.
We’ll come out with some motion and try to get the ball into space early with a quick pass at the LOS. We will be deliberate but won’t waste drives early as we’ve done in the recent past.
The biggest wild card is how does Dana manage his own excitement with being the fulltime play-caller for the first time in a couple of years. He’s the best play-caller in my 21 years around the program. He called plays in WVU’s bowl game last year:
“I’ve got a fairly decent history of calling plays that work. I’ve got a history of calling plays that don’t work. We’ll see how it goes,” Holgorsen said in a pre-bowl press conference. “I’m enjoying it, I like doing it. Deep down inside, I can do as much of the CEO crap as I want to; I like football, and I like calling plays.”
What’s a win for the defense tonight?
Monceaux – Forcing punts.
OU punted just 31 times in 14 games last year – no one in the country punted less. In the last 7 games, they punted 12 times (vs. 39 offensive TDs). There are a few reasons for so few punts: they scored a bunch of TDs and Lincoln Riley was more aggressive in part because of his porous defense. But the biggest reason?
They didn’t get to 3rd down very often, much less 4th. OU only had 140 third-down attempts (also the fewest in the country). They were also 51% on 3rd down, 4th-best in FBS. So they didn’t get to 3rd down much but when they did, they were pretty good. On 35 of their 4th downs, they went for it (16) or attempted a field goal (19) – more often than they punted.
The Cougars have to force them into situations where they abandon the drive.
Towns – Yeah, the defense needs to get off the field. We didn’t get off the field last year and it hurt us more than just in yards and points. Ryan talks about 3rd down – here’s the worst part: no one gave up more 3rd down conversions than UH (104 or 8 a game). That helped keep us on the field for more plays than anyone in the country, too.
Our players got chewed up and spit out being out there for so many plays. It might not show today, but if the defense is running 84 plays a game again this fall, they will eventually crumble. Whether it is injury or deterioration, it will be a factor if you can’t get off the field.
You have to limit long time-consuming drives, too. In fact, it’s better for a team to hit you with a quick TD rather than stay out there for 8 minutes while they pick up five yards at a time (and then score).
Make a prediction about anything whatsoever.
Towns – D’Eriq King will combine for 4500 yards and account for 55+ TD’s. He will show even more improvement under Dana’s guidance. Dana has been able to get the most out of every QB he has coached and King is one of the most physically gifted QBs he’s had.
What we saw from King last year is only scratching the surface of his immense potential and Dana is the perfect guy to help him reach that.
Monceaux – We will give up 28 PPG in the regular season. That’s 336 total points or less. We did it in 2013, 14, 15, 16, and even 2017.
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