Before we get to the game we have an issue that we need to address... ODOT, enough. The fact that we are forced as drivers to pay for a turnpike that has 3 significant areas of construction in both directions is absolutely laughable. In all honesty I really don't even know what they are doing around Bristow. Is it for fun? To have something to do? I have typically avoided driving the turnpike to games and am now wondering if it is necessary to eliminate from my route planning all together. There should at the very least be an understanding of when there is an event that will increase traffic on the turnpike. Or maybe even more of warning as to areas where the slow down is occurring and a better identification of what lane is going to be shut down. Regardless... heading to or from a game in Norman I think the best plan is to avoid the turnpike all together. 5 take-a-ways from the Sooners win over Tulsa
1 -- Blake Bell is the starting quarterback for not just now... but the future. Blake looked calm, cool, and in control as the Sooner signal caller. Granted the Sooners will face much tougher defenses then what Tulsa put on the field yesterday, but if Bell performs with the confidence and control he showed on Saturday then there might not be a chance for Trevor Knight to get back on the field, or for Kendall Thompson to get on the field at all. I wrote in the preseason how Bell always seemed to have that "it" factor. Despite having lost out on the job in the pr-season to Trevor Knight, that "it", Swagger, confidence... whatever you want to call it... never left. The numbers were amazing and record breaking, but even afterwards Bell was only concerned with one number... the win column. The question leading into game 3 was whether or not the Sooners still had a passing game. That question was answered with a resounding "yes". This is key because teams will not be able to stack the box against the Sooners to try and shut down the run. You don't get may debuts as impressive as what you watched on Saturday with Blake Bell as the Sooner signal caller.
2 -- The Targeting Rule will continue to be debated and questioned. I still don't understand how an ejection can be reversed and a call can not be changed, but according to the letter of the law the rule was applied and the ejection reviewed properly. Afterwards Bob Stoops told us on the post game show that the process played out exactly as he expected and the Sooners have made every defender well aware of the consequences of the rule. An ejection was also overturned in the Alabama game. I will add, the emotion and energy inside the stadium when the ejection was announced led to the largest roar I have heard at Gaylord Family Memorial Stadium this season.
3 -- Next Man Up. The Sooners depth was tested on Saturday. Aaron Colvin was held out after suffering a head injury last week against West Virginia. During the TU game Gabe Lynn was injured after an interception. Thankfully it proved to no problem for the Sooner defense as two newcomers stepped in and played well. East Central product Stanvon Taylor got the call to replace Colvin in the starting line-up. Despite a pass interference call in the endzone, Taylor played well according to Coach Stoops. Hatari Byrd replaced Gabe Lynn at safety after Lynn was hurt and had a solid game. Stanvon was also injured late in the 2nd quarter but Cortez Johnson and LJ Moore each performed well in relief roles. Mike Stoops told us after the game that the Sooners have to continue to develop depth in its defensive secondary and Saturday was a good opportunity to do just that.
4 -- Keith Ford. Enough said. Teddy Lehman brought up a great point in the post game show. You can not afford to miss any time due to suspension or even injury because with the depth on this roster you might find yourself slipping down the depth chart rather quickly. On Saturday, starting running back Damien Williams served a one game suspension and Keith Ford showcased his bruising and aggressive running style for the second time this season. For those that did not purchase the pay per view broadcast in week one or make the trip to Norman for the ULM game, this was your first chance to watch the spectacular freshman who has impressed every time he touches the football. Ford finished with 46 yards on 7 carries and scored his first collegiate touchdown. So far in 2013 Ford has averaged 6 yards per carry and is not afraid to lower his head and get the tough yards. In an already stacked backfield, Williams may have picked the wrong time to run afoul of team rules because Ford staked his claim for more opportunities to carry the football.
5 -- Finding the Focus. Mike Stoops told us after the game that he did not see the focus and the energy in practice that he expected leading into the Tulsa game. The Golden Hurricane scored more points against OU than either opponent combined. But despite holding a run based offense to just 95 yards, you could sense the frustration in the voice of the Sooner defensive coordinator after the game. Even though OU finished off winning by 31, you can call this a good test based on some of the success that Tulsa was able to have in the short passing game and on third down. The desire for flawless execution and how personal this coaching staff takes its teams peformance will help to increase the energy and focus from the players in practice.