- How seriously are the Sooners taking BYU?
If you’re asking if the Sooners are overlooking BYU then the answer is emphatically, no! OU learned the hard way in 2005 what happens when you overlook a season opening opponent when TCU came to Norman and shocked 85,000 screaming fans. This is a big game for Oklahoma as it will be nationally televised and the last time the nation saw them Tim Tebow was stuffing Gator down their throats. Florida is playing Nobody State School of the Lame and Blind and Texas won’t be televised so Oklahoma needs to come out poised, focused and make a statement to the nation.
If you’re asking if this game rivals the OU/Texas game, the OU/Oklahoma State game or the Big 12 Championship then once again the answer is emphatically no! Mike no mistake, this is a big game for the Sooners but it won’t be the biggest game they play in this year.
- The offensive line seems to be the only area of inexperience how confident are you of the line being able to protect Sam Bradford?
I’m pretty confident that they’ll be okay. You are right in the fact that they lack experience but they aren’t completely in experienced. Offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson said that left tackle Trent Williams is the best offensive lineman that he’s ever coached, left guard Brian Simmons is a senior and saw action in all 14 games last year, center Brody Eldridge was impressive enough to be moved from tight end, right guard Jarvis Jones saw action in seven games as a freshman at LSU and right tackle Cory Brandon saw action in nine games last year. So it isn’t like the Sooners are throwing five guys out there who’ve never played a down of college football before.
- What is the plan of attack of the Sooner defense against BYU's offense?
I think that initially the plan is to use the defensive line to overpower what should be an outmatched BYU offensive line to both stuff the run and put pressure on Max Hall. If Oklahoma’s d-line can continually push the Cougars back up front then Hall will be under pressure all night and the linebackers will be clear of blockers to clean up the run plays.
If the Sooners aren’t allowed to get pressure on the quarterback with the front five then look for a myriad of blitzes from all over the field. Defensive coordinator Brent Venables is a master at disguising coverage and blitzers. He’ll mix it up and have Max Hall second guessing all night. If he can also get Hall on the run then it’s a huge advantage for OU.
- Is LB Mike Balgoun not playing going to affect the defense?
What the NCAA is doing to Mike Balogun is just ridiculous but it shouldn’t have an impact on the game unless staring middle linebacker Ryan Reynolds goes down. Balogun is a reserve linebacker who received playing time and even started the BCS Championship due to injuries to both Ryan Reynolds and Austin Box.
- What need to happen for BYU to upset Oklahoma?
In my mind the only way the Cougars win this game is if Oklahoma comes out and falls on its face offensively. The Sooners are going to be very stout on defense and although I don’t expect them to shutout BYU I don’t see the Cougars winning unless the Oklahoma offense gives them a few gifts.