Can we agree that Lincoln Riley owns the Oklahoma defense next year?

They allowed Kansas 544 yards of total offense including 405 yards on the ground.

On the ground, they allowed the Jayhawks 8.3 yards per carry.

The ‘they’ I’m referring to is 1-10 Rutgers, one of the worst teams in all of college football.

It could have as easily been Oklahoma. The Sooners, despite a 55-40 win, allowed Kansas 524 total yards, 348 on the ground and at a 9.7-yards-per-carry clip. Oklahoma’s pass defense was also on par with Rutgers’, given the common opponent.

Oklahoma is 10-1, and Rutgers is 1-10.

Thank God for the Sooners offense because this team — without Kyler Murray and a brilliant offensive mind in Lincoln Riley — could as easily be 3-9.

The downward spiral of the Oklahoma defense absolutely started with Bob Stoops, the third best coach in the history of Oklahoma football. The man has a national championship to his name, and he brought the Sooners an entire era of winning. However, the move toward the spread offense went from 1999 gimmick to plague for the entire Big 12 conference, whose teams never bothered to learn how to defend against it.

And in the past five seasons, Oklahoma has gone from a modicum of aggressiveness to playing a permanent prevent defense against virtually every team, per the strategy of Bob’s brother, Mike and a full staff of coaches who have supported him, including current interim defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeill.

So, what’s the big deal, you ask? We’ll just out-score everybody.

You’re right, but that becomes tougher when you play teams out of conference, especially teams from the SEC, Big 10 or an Independent team like Army. The Black Knights, in a 28-21 loss, held the potent Oklahoma offense to 355 yards and four scores, and they did it with ball control.

Where this philosophical discussion becomes tougher to argue is in discussing Alabama. If you were to poll 1,000 pretty knowledgeable college football fans, I think they’d say (aside from Clemson), the two teams that stand the best chance against the Crimson Tide would be Michigan (because of its awesome defense) and Oklahoma (because of our unstoppable offense).

I firmly believe Oklahoma could beat Alabama under close-to-perfect circumstances, but that score would probably look like 52-49. Maybe as many as three or four out of 10 times.

But Oklahoma could also, potentially, lose to virtually any team in Division I on a close-to-perfect day.

The Sooners are an injured quarterback away, a head coaching change away from reverting back to the Blake years. I think it’s super naive not to see that, and it’s not the end of the world if that were to happen. Makes you appreciate the great years, right?

I’m of the firm belief that Lincoln Riley is at once an offensive genius and quite possibly woefully incomplete as a head coach. But he’s got the opportunity to right that side of the ball.

This year, the terrible defense is on Mike Stoops and, largely, too, Ruffin McNeill.

But next year, can we agree that Lincoln Riley owns this?

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