OU football: Five things we learned from last weekend's rout over Texas
Evin Morrison, The Oklahoma Daily
1 The lines of scrimmage were unsung heroes in Texas rout.
The OU passing and running games were on point in the 42-point win over the Longhorns last week in Dallas. The defense also found ways to force turnovers and hold Texas to just 65 yards in the first two quarters that allowed the Sooner lead to balloon to one of the biggest halftime deficits in series history. Going into the start of the season, both lines were snake-bitten with injuries and absences that had a lot of people asking if these lines could hold up in big games. In the Red River Rivalry game, both lines of scrimmage played like it was for all of the marbles.
“Both lines of scrimmage were major factors as it always is in games like this,” coach Bob Stoops said. “When you rush for 343 yards and throw the ball for 334 yards and only have one sack on the day, it’s an outstanding job. And our run defense was incredible by the guys up front.”
2 Junior fullback Trey Millard is just heating up.
During Big 12 Media days over the summer, Stoops said the coaches wanted to get Millard more touches this season after he finished with 169 rushing yards and 127 receiving yards for three touchdowns in 2011. Through the first couple of games this season, Millard wasn’t getting a lot of the calls, averaging 13.5 rushing yards and 11.5 receiving yards per game. But that was until the Columbia, Mo., native exploded for a career-high 119 receiving yards and 45 rushing yards against Texas. And now he says he is ready to be a leader for the OU offense.
“You know that since your role is bigger you have a bigger responsibility to the team,” Millard said. “That just makes you focus that much more.”
3 Senior quarterback Landry Jones is all about “taking care of business.”
It seems like every time sophomore Blake Bell and the famous ‘Belldozer’ package has a good day (four touchdowns against Texas), Jones gets asked if using the redzone, short-yardage situation call gets the senior out of rhythm. But as Jones has expressed numerous times — he did it again Monday — he wants to win football games, and whatever gets that done, he will continue to support.
“It’s just taking care of business,” Jones said. “It’s just one of those things that when we get down there close, that’s the package we use in short yardage and goal line situations, so for me it’s just taking care of business and doing what our offense is supposed to do.”
4 Defensive line is getting more comfortable in its own skin.
Typical questions about the defensive line before the start of the season focused on whether this line could replace head hunters like defensive ends Frank Alexander and Ronnell Lewis. And when two starters were absent from the first game, causing players like senior defense end David King to move inside, this line still was looking for its identity. While there is still a lot of season left that will test the validity of a line that held Texas to 289 total yards and didn’t allows any points from the Longhorn offense until the forth quarter, you can tell this defense is starting to gain confidence in itself and in each other.
“I thought we got better this weekend but it’s kind of shown what we’ve been working on,” senior defensive tackle Jamarkus McFarland said . “(Coaches) are letting us freelance and be more vocal with each other, and we’re just growing day by day.”
5 In a complete win like the one last Saturday, everyone’s a winner.
Usually picking out a Player of a Game is easy because there’s always someone who makes that one big play that sticks out on film and usually finds its way on some social media platform or highlight reel. Game balls are tradition at OU to recognize these accomplishments, and when it came time to decide who was going to get the coveted awards following the Texas slaughter, Stoops didn’t have enough to go around. Too many players had career-high or dominant plays that there was no clear-cut winner. So he gave pretty much everyone on the team — offense and defense — a ball.
“The whole defense was a player of the game, and the whole offense was for offense,” Stoops said. “It really was a team deal.”