- Jake Trotter, College Football
Analyzing the finer points of Oklahoma’s 69-13 win Saturday over Florida A&M:
• What an addition junior-college transfer Damien Williams has been. You could make the argument that he has been OU’s best overall player through two games. Williams rushed for 156 yards and scored four touchdowns on his first eight carries. "Damien's a strong, powerful guy with excellent speed. So it's exciting to see him play the way he is,” Bob Stoops said. “He looked great out there tonight.” With Dominique Whaley struggling to hold on to the ball, Williams could be in line for even more work in two weeks vs. Kansas State.
• OU’s other two backs rushed the ball well, too, including -- that’s right -- Roy Finch, who ran for 50 yards and a touchdown on just five carries during the fourth quarter. Stoops cut off his postgame press conference before a Finch question could be asked. But there’s no doubt that Finch is capable of helping the offense. The only question is, will he get the chance to? Brennan Clay was sharp, as well, with 62 yards and two touchdowns on eight carries.
• The Sooners might have something special in punt returner Justin Brown. Twice, Brown set up the Sooners with short touchdown drives off huge returns. Stoops compared Brown to former OU returner J.T. Thatcher because of the way he runs through tackles on returns. "He can run through some people,” Stoops said. “He's not a guy you get ahold of his jersey and sling him down.” The Sooners haven’t been a strong return team in recent years. With Brown, they could be a very strong return team this season.
• For the first time since being named the No. 2 QB, Blake Bell got extensive experience operating the base offense, and did well with it. Bell was 4-of-5 passing for 61 yards and led the Sooners to their last touchdown drive in the fourth quarter. On the key play of that drive, Bell showed off his arm strength and hit Sterling Shepard 28 yards down the middle of the field. Bell will need to relish this experience, because it might be awhile before he gets to quarterback the base offense again with Kansas State, Texas Tech and Texas on deck.
• Save for one big play, Mike Stoops’ defense played well again. The Sooners limited Florida A&M to 2.2 yards per carry on the ground, and sacked Florida A&M QBs five times. The only blip was a 75-yard touchdown catch by Travis Harvey late in the second quarter. Harvey blew by cornerback Demontre Hurst, but Hurst was expecting help that never came from safety Jesse Paulsen, who had replaced Tony Jefferson. "I thought we played pretty well if you take out the one big play, and that was disappointing,” Stoops said. “We had a breakdown in, obviously, our coverage. Our safety went the wrong way and got mixed up in which way we were rotating in the secondary. We didn't have a deep middle player. We made a couple of mistakes on way play that cost us a touchdown. It is a great learning situation.”
• Other than the busted coverage, Paulsen actually played well relieving Jefferson, who left the game in the first quarter with an ankle sprain. Paulsen was especially impressive coming up to help against the run and finished with three tackles. "Tony has been playing well, and it is disappointing. I know his family was in town to watch him -- he twisted his ankle, so that part was disappointing, but Jesse got an opportunity,” Mike Stoops said. “I am really proud of the way he came up and tackled well. Made a mental mistake on the rotation, but overall, very pleased with the way he played." One of the big questions of the defense has been the depth of the secondary. So Paulsen’s play was encouraging.
• OU’s defensive line of the future got playing of action in the second half. Several times, the Sooners played four freshmen on the front with Mike Onuoha and Charles Tapper at end, and Jordan Phillips and Marquis Anderson at tackle. Phillips led the way with three tackles. "I thought for sure I saw Jordan really do a nice job inside. He's so big and powerful, he was doing a lot in there,” Bob Stoops said. “Marquis Anderson I saw do well. The young D-ends I thought looked pretty good. A good job of being ready to play." It will be interesting to see how much any of the four contribute to the rotation in crunch time. All four players have tons of potential, Phillips especially. None played when the game was on the line at UTEP.
• Twice last week, freshman wideout Trey Metoyer drifted out of bounds on go routes, and it cost him. Metoyer ripped the ball away from a UTEP defender at the pylon, but couldn’t get his first foot in bounds. That’s something wide receivers coach Jay Norvell stressed to Metoyer this week in practice and it paid off. Landry Jones hit Metoyer with a go route, and Metoyer made sure he ran a precise route in bounds to haul in the 18-yard touchdown just before halftime. "The first week, there were two that I should have had,” Metoyer said. “I had to bring this one in. (Landry) almost overthrew me but I just had to go get it."
• The OU receivers were much improved in their perimeter blocking. Last week against UTEP they were a disaster, which is one reason why none graded out higher than a 90. The Sooners churned out several big gains in the running game and on screens because the blocking downfield was better.
• A week after giving up three sacks, the pass protection was much better against the Rattlers. Jones was only sacked once, and often had all day to find receivers downfield. The line was also better in the run game, as the Sooners averaged 8.5 yards per carry and scored eight rushing touchdowns – the most of the Stoops era in Norman. "They threw a lot of pressures at us, up the middle and down the edge,” said center Gabe Ikard. “We made some adjustments and when we picked everyone up, got to the guys we ID'd, there were some big holes and our backs took advantage of it."
Analyzing the finer points of Oklahoma’s 69-13 win Saturday over Florida A&M: • What an addition junior-college transfer Damien Williams has been.