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Sunday, September 9, 2012
Film room: Five key plays from FAMU-OU

By Brandon Chatmon

Oklahoma got things back on track with a 69-13 win over Florida A&M at Owen Field on Saturday. Damien Williams showed his explosive speed for the second straight week and the Sooners defense dominated except for one bad play. Here's a closer look at five key plays during the Sooners victory:

OU receiver Kenny Stills' 23-yard reception with one hand in the first quarter

This play is important for several reasons.
On the play, Stills was in the slot and faded toward the sideline early in his route, creating the needed space in the middle of the field behind the linebackers and between the safeties. Jones read it immediately and anticipated Stills being open by the time he completed his drop and fired a perfect pass above the linebackers and between the safeties.

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Safety Javon Harris was solid for the Sooners against Florida A&M.

Jones was protected well on the play and trusted Stills, who made him look good by making a terrific play on the football. Sooner fans should be excited about the progression of the Jones-to-Stills connection.

OU safety Javon Harris’ interception

The Rattlers had three receivers lined up in a bunch formation on the right side of the field on 3rd-and-9. Sooners defensive end P.L. Lindley, returning from injury, stunted inside and got into the face of FAMU quarterback Damien Fleming, who just threw the ball up toward the right side of the field.

Harris was waiting to make the catch at the 50-yard line.

Lindley’s pressure was the key to the play as it forced Fleming to throw early and under duress. The Sooners coverage was excellent as well as cornerback Demontre Hurst and Harris were both in the area where the ball was thrown. Hurst played it particularly well, allowing a FAMU receiver who was not in position to catch the ball and get the first down to go free so he could eliminate the Rattlers deep receiver on the play.

It was a terrific example of understanding down and distance by the Sooners secondary.

OU receiver Justin Brown’s 51-yard reception in the second quarter

With the Sooners facing third-and-10 at their own 25-yard line, Jones found Brown along the right sideline after drawing the Rattlers offside prior to the snap.

The Sooners quarterback had ample time in the pocket and, like a veteran should, took a shot deep knowing that the Rattlers had been flagged for being offside. Brown was not open, and yet he wanted the ball more than the two FAMU defenders. He used his size to outmuscle the cornerback, then used his athleticism to out-fight the safety for the football.

It was a great sign for the Sooners because of the competitiveness Brown displayed on a single play. Without question, his name will be among the top newcomers to the Big 12 Conference in 2012.

Travis Harvey’s 75-yard touchdown in the second quarter

With the Rattlers facing 3rd-and-7 at their own 25-yard line, Harvey got behind Hurst and outraced the rest of the Sooners secondary to the endzone.

The play was made at the line of scrimmage thanks to Harvey’s terrific release. The Rattler receiver was already past Hurst within four yards of the line of scrimmage.

Meanwhile, safety Jesse Paulsen -- who had subbed for Tony Jefferson because of Jefferson’s ankle injury -- was caught in no-man’s land. As Fleming released the ball, Harvey was already past Paulsen, who hesitated just after the snap, dooming his chances to make a play.

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Roy Finch got his first action of the season and scored on a 15-yard touchdown.

At that point, the Sooners lone hope was that Harvey dropped the ball. He did not. Fifty yards later, OU’s defense had surrendered its first touchdown of the season.

It was one play, one major mistake in a game full of good defensive play by OU. Nevertheless, the Sooners know one play can cost them a game in the future.

Williams' 89-yard touchdown run

After a penalty had pushed the Sooners back to their own 11-yard line, Williams cruised untouched into the endzone.

Much like last week’s long touchdown, the rest of OU’s offensive unit deserves the credit for Williams scoring jaunt. Guard Bronson Irwin and tackle Tyrus Thompson took care of the linebackers, tight end Geneo Grissom joined center Gabe Ikard and guard Adam Shead to create a huge hole on the left side of the formation. And fullback Trey Millard took care of the safety and Williams’ speed did the rest.

Another extremely well blocked touchdown. Ikard said it best early last week when he stated: “Anytime I look up and see someone running for a long touchdown, I think we did a pretty good job.”

Well said.

Bonus section: Early glimpses

• Sooners fans got a look at what could be the OU’s next quarterback-receiver connection when Blake Bell found true freshman Sterling Shepard for a 28-yard gain across the middle. Shepard lined up in the slot on the play, attacked the safety’s cushion then broke wide open across the middle. If Bell had put a little more air under the ball, Shepard could have scored on the play.

• On running back Roy Finch’s 15-yard touchdown run, freshman receiver Durron Neal pancaked his man with a ruthless block on the perimeter. It’s a sign that Neal is competitive and hungry to earn more playing time.

• Redshirt freshman defensive tackle Marquis Anderson recorded a sack by collapsing the pocket and spinning off a double team. A solid move by Anderson who will have to rely on his quickness to emerge as a playmaker during his career.

• Fellow redshirt freshman Jordan Phillips made several plays on inside runs. He will be tough to move out of the middle once he gets comfortable with the expectations of playing defensive tackle in OU’s system.