Ryan Welton

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3 reasons why the Oklahoma Sooners fell flat against Kansas State

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The last time the Sooner Schooner tipped over, Oklahoma lost. To Kansas State.

Deja vu.

And the Sooners totally deserved it. The final was 48-41, but I’m here to tell you that this was a butt-kicking. I thought Oklahoma was out-coached and out-classed in every department.

The defense was obviously terrible.

Special teams couldn’t figure out pooch kicks.

And the offense had zero spark.

My wife asked me what I thought went wrong, and the first thing I thought was that the Sooners just aren’t nearly as good as we thought. I didn’t think they were that great against Houston, and it appears that both Texas Tech, West Virginia and Houston are beyond terrible.

But I came up with three specifics:

  1. The Sooners defense has suddenly lost depth. The injury to Jon-Michael Terry apparently cannot be understated. Where was the rush today? Where was the aggressiveness? And then Parnell Motley lost his mind and kicked a Kansas State player, getting himself disqualified.

    I don’t believe these are the only injury issues on the team either. My understanding though is that, today, OU had a whole bunch of second- and third-teamers playing.

  2. Oklahoma abandoned the run game. This one is baffling to me, and it’s 100 percent Lincoln Riley’s fault. The innovative play-caller was anything but today. Check out this box score:

    a. Jalen Hurts: 19 for 96 yards
    b. Trey Sermon: 3 for 9 yards
    c. Kennedy Brooks: 3 for 2 yards

    Riley is well-known for being able to memorize all his play calls and cite them on his radio show. Well, he should forget today’s batch because they were John Blake-era trash.

    I’ve read some folks comparing Jalen to Vince Young. I can see it a little bit in terms of his running style, but I can also see why he ended up second-string at Alabama. The drop-off from Baker and Kyler to Jalen, to me, is pretty significant.

    That Kennedy Brooks only ran three times, and that Rhamondre Stevenson didn’t even touch the ball is baffling. Unexplainable.

  3. Grant Calcaterra’s absence.

    Going back to the start of the Bob Stoops era at OU, the tight end has been a huge part of Oklahoma’s success.

    No tight end caught a pass today for the Sooners.

    Calcaterra has been out for three weeks with an “undisclosed injury,” and his absence today was killer. No tight end? No running game?

    Anyway, them’s my thoughts. The good news is that Oklahoma has been very resilient after losses in years past, and they lost at a good time of year.

    Win out, and the Sooners will be in the playoffs.

    My hunch though is that this team has 1-2 more losses in them.

Jalen Hurts Named Sooners’ Starter, But D’Eriq King Is The QB Oklahoma Needs To Worry About

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The Oklahoma Sooners named Jalen Hurts starting quarterback on Monday in breaking news that nobody doubted. The Alabama graduate transfer was a shoo-in for the job, it seemed, over the underrated Tanner Mordecai and the future superstar Spencer Rattler.

Hurts has played in three national championship games and helped the Crimson Tide win the 2017 natty.

But come September 1, Hurts might not be the best QB on Owen Field.

D’Eriq King is coming to town, and he’s got a Dana Holgorsen offense in tow.

Everybody who thinks that Week 1 versus the University of Houston is going to be a cakewalk is grossly mistaken. New defensive coordinator Alex Grinch and the Sooners D will get a stiff test in Week 1 against a proven offensive system and a QB who has a puncher’s chance at a Heisman Trophy in 2019.

Deadly serious.

King was leading the nation in touchdowns last November when a torn meniscus sidelined him for the rest of the year.

The website underdogdynasty.com, which covers football in Conference USA, the Sun Belt, the AAC and Independent college football, ranks D’Eriq King as its No. 1 player in the AAC.

They write:
We’ve said it for a while and we’ll say it again: D’Eriq King is the best player in this conference, no question. He was robbed for Conference Player of the Year last year, and deserves more respect from all of college football.

King was one of three players to account for 50 or more touchdowns last year. He did that in 11 games, and might have led all of college football in touchdowns if he didn’t get hurt. Dana Holgorsen’s staff gives him yet another playbook, but that won’t slow him down at all. Holgorsen said he won’t run King as much this year, so his passing numbers should improve. Regardless of what happens, King’s talent is too good to ignore, and we need to give him the respect he deserves.

Check out this pass. This is the type of stuff that killed the Sooners time and time again the past few years, especially against teams that had taller receivers (think Texas and Iowa State):

Let’s check the roster. I’ve got some good news, Oklahoma. Houston doesn’t have any upper-classmen taller than 6’2″ and their one 6’3″ receiver is a freshman.

But to be brutally honest, this YouTube video should scare the devil out of Oklahoma fans. King is a fantastic passer, and Sooners fans know darned well that Oklahoma’s defense of the past two seasons wasn’t really any better than any of the teams you just watched in that video.

There are zero guarantees Oklahoma wins Game 1. The battle versus Houston in Norman on Sept. 1 is basically a Big 12 game from the past couple of years. Winning is surely expected, but by no means should anybody fail to understand how big a test this really is.

This could be a 55-48 type of game.

So, while Monday was all about getting the Jalen Hurts-as-starter news out of the way for the Sooners, OU fans should be getting to know D’Eriq King.

Dude could be the stuff of Oklahoma’s nightmares come Sept. 1.

Photo credit: University of Houston athletics

Is Oklahoma Sooners QB Spencer Rattler Closing In On Jalen Hurts?

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I’ve only begun to dive into Netflix’s QB1 series featuring Oklahoma Sooners phenom Spencer Rattler during his time at Pinnacle in Phoenix. I’m struck by how small he is compared to other big-time quarterback recruits.

And then we see him throw. Crisp.

And then we see the attitude. Confident.

And, damn, if it isn’t like seeing a young Baker Mayfield get after it.

As a Sooner fan, the thing that strikes me the most is how committed Rattler was to Oklahoma from the get-go. His coaches had to tell him to stop wearing his OU gear at practices.

But could this freshman, who didn’t go through spring ball at OU, have a chance to supplant incoming transfer Jalen Hurts as opening week starter? I don’t think there’s a chance of that — but there is a lot of buzz at how Rattler is performing.

This article from the Norman Transcript suggests Rattler is in the thick of the QB race with Hurts and Tanner Mordecai, who is no slouch for the Sooners. The reporting is that while Rattler hasn’t necessarily made ground on Mordecai or Hurts, he has come into his own as far as execution.

OK, then. But could Rattler see playing time this year? I’d bet the farm that he at least gets his four games before taking the redshirt, probably. In fact, I predict we’ll see him Week 1 versus Houston.

Former OU nose tackle Dusty Dvoracek talked with News 9 Sports Director Dean Blevins about Rattler, noting how impressive he’s been in practice.

I think the biggest question I have is whether Rattler is actually redshirted. My current hunch is that he won’t be. We’re in an era of win-now, and if Lincoln Riley thinks No. 7 can help Oklahoma in a Big 12 title game or a national playoff, then Spencer Rattler will be playing when it counts — even if it’s only for a couple of packages.

Photo from Soonersports.com

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