Chatmon's mailbag: K-State's challenges


It's a light mailbag this week as Oklahoma experiences its first bye week of the 2012 season. One of the biggest games of the season looms next week as Kansas State visits Norman on Sept. 22. Today's mailbag addresses some of the questions that could arise when OU hosts K-State. If you have any questions email Brandon Chatmon at bchatmonespn@gmail.com. So without further ado...

Chris Wilkerson from Tahlequah, Okla., asks: Do you have any thoughts on all the suspended players and players that have quit. To me, we have lost a lot of players. Realistically it seems like were in the same boat as other teams who have scholarship losses due to sanctions. I don't mind the discipline but to have as many as we have it's hurting the overall team. Are we recruiting players with character issues?

Brandon Chatmon: The answer is yes. But the bigger question is: Is OU recruiting too many players with character issues? And that answer is no. With 85 scholarship players and the limited time to really get to know a recruit thanks to NCAA regulations during the recruiting process, it’s only natural to have a few players with immaturity or character issues. Yet, the Sooners don’t have a higher percentage than the rest of college football. With a roster that large there is bound to be a percentage of guys who do their own thing.

The main thing is to discipline everyone fairly and equally. That’s how you develop trust and dependability throughout the program.

How could the Sooners defense change against Kansas State?

Brandon Chatmon: With the Wildcats bringing quarterback Collin Klein and running back John Hubert into Norman on Sept. 22, OU needs to step up its run defense.

Don’t be surprised to see Joseph Ibiloye get more playing time, replacing nickelback Gabe Lynn. With Ibiloye, Tom Wort and Corey Nelson as a three-linebacker package and cornerbacks Demontre Hurst and Aaron Colvin able to hold their own on the perimeter, the Sooners should be able to force Klein to try to beat them through the air.If that happens, you’d have to like the Sooners chances.

Will the Sooners running game hold up against the Wildcats?

Brandon Chatmon: This could be one of the biggest questions of the game. OU, with its up-tempo offense, will have to manage the game well to keep from having its defense on the field for the majority of the contest.

That’s where the Sooners running game comes in. Running back Damien Williams has been spectacular in his first two games at OU with 259 rushing yards (15 yards per carry) but the Wildcats have allowed 135 rushing yards heading into Saturday’s game with North Texas.

The key will be Sooners’ interior linemen Gabe Ikard, Bronson Irwin and Adam Shead, if those three players can consistently win their one-on-one battles, OU’s chances of success will increase dramatically.