Time again for Ask Hoover, the blog where I answer your college football questions.
I expected a lot of UCLA-OU questions this week, and did get a few, but quite a lot of traffic also came in asking about the Golden Hurricane’s game at Texas. To wit: can TU win?
I’ve picked the Longhorns to cover the 23-point spread, so I say no. But I also offer a caveat to the burnt orange faithful, and maybe a ray of hope to the True Blues. Read on.
Let’s get to the questions.
Kyler Murray didn’t have to throw the ball down the field much. Can we expect proficiency with vertical passing against teams that have the capability to tackle in free space
— Matty Ice (@MattMcDonald567) September 2, 2018
No question we’ll see more vertical throws from Kyler. Much of last week versus FAU was spent getting the hang of being The Man. By the time he released his third-quarter bomb to Marquise Brown, his confidence, and Lincoln Riley’s confidence in his ability to uncork a good throw downfield, was sky-high. The NCAA’s passer efficiency formula heavily weights the deep ball, and Kyler’s one-game rating was a ridiculous 304. That number will come down, of course, but he throws a nice deep ball and Riley will continue to exploit defenses with Brown’s speed.
How long is Texas going to suck? Will the SEC have 2 one loss teams in the CFP? Do you think Bama will successfully run their FCS schedule? I have a few more but they are mostly sarcastic 😜😎
— Marty J. Riley (@martyriley) September 2, 2018
Let’s go one at a time. Tom Herman obviously has a different definition of “suck” than you and I do. He sounded encouraged after last week’s loss at Maryland, though I suppose that’s part of his job description. Texas showed that expecting a big turnaround this season is probably realistic. So, bottom line: how long? As long as they have mediocre quarterback play.
It’s entirely likely the SEC lands two one-loss teams in the playoff. The CFP selection committee loves the SEC that much, and based on last year’s championship game, it’s warranted.
How impressive was the play at the defensive line? Knowing how FAU had to replace 3 offensive linemen from last year, I am hesitant to say this defensive front has improved so much.
— Dillon McDaniel (@Dillon1933) September 2, 2018
I was probably most impressed with the Sooner d-line’s effort and intensity last week. They pushed the line of scrimmage backward, disrupted most everything the Owls wanted to do and owned the line of scrimmage. Sounds easy against FAU, right? But try to ID the games OU’s defensive front did that last year. It didn’t happen often. So Saturday was an encouraging step in the right direction.
Said another way, who has a shorter runway to work with before alumni are through and ask for his job? Harbaugh or Hermon
— Mark T (@ThomsonMark4) September 2, 2018
I like the comparison of Michigan to Texas. Look at Texas since Darrell Royal and there has been one stretch of which alumni would be outwardly proud: the Mack Brown era. Brown was a heck of a coach whose time at the top just so happened to coincide with Bob Stoops’ time. If Stoops hadn’t been at OU, Brown might be hailed as one of the greatest college football coaches ever. Similarly, a lot of Michigan’s historic success stems from the ancient days. For all their pedigree, they’ve been a real underachiever the last two decades, and especially lately under Jim Harbaugh. I say he’s got less room for error moving forward. He already has undergone a significant decline, and UM fans are on edge. Herman’s newness buys him a little more time to turn things around.
How much did new DC at FAU impact their ability to stop our run… ?? v the lore of Riley’s genius…specifically that little delayed draw witht the T & G pulling? How did that keep working?
— Mark T (@ThomsonMark4) September 3, 2018
Not sure how much FAU’s inability to stop the OU running game was due to any coaching matchups. It was almost strictly talent. Breaking in some new linemen up front worked out great for the Sooners, and Riley was really impressed with the execution of the second unit. Let’s credit Bill Bedenbaugh for preparing those guys at a high level.
1. Is KSU really as bad as game #1 suggests?
2. Is OU better than last year or is FAU really that bad?
3. Why is Texas still struggling?#AskHoover
— Scott in Texas (@Squinky_IS_Dead) September 4, 2018
I’ll admit, I expected FAU to be better. I asked Riley if he expected more resistance, and he said it’s never as easy at it looks. But I’ve rewatched the game twice since last week, and it was every bit as easy as it looked. The Sooners are good. Better than last year? I’m not ready to go there just yet.
Serious question – Will the Boise turnover throne fit on the sideline at Boone Pickens Stadium?
— Todd Lisenbee (@ToddOnFranchise) September 3, 2018
Great question from the mind of our own Todd Lisenbee. It’s been said OSU has the tightest sideline in the nation, and I believe it. The turnover throne on that sideline is a bad, bad idea. Just ask OU’s Austin Kendall, who is out for an undetermined amount of time after sliding knee-first into an FAU equipment case. They might have to put that thing in the end zone.
Do you think Texas can pull off the upset?
— Boomer Beamer (Carter) (@ImDerBatman) September 5, 2018
The humor is not lost here. Still, even though Texas is a 23-point favorite over Tulsa, they imploded last week at Maryland and with USC coming to town next week, the Horns might think they can coast in this one. They probably can. Tulsa didn’t look very good in its debut, a tight win over FCS Central Arkansas. But could TU have been holding back the playbook last week? Could TU have spent any extra offseason and training camp time working specifically on a game plan for Texas and Tom Herman, whom they faced both of his seasons at Houston? Of the 53 Texans on the Tulsa roster, only one (Chad President) was even recruited by Texas. Almost every one of the TU coaches has some kind of score to settle with Texas. Just sayin’.
Is Texas back this week?
— Eric Tauriainen (@ejtauri) September 5, 2018
Pretty funny. I’ll bite. Sure, Texas is back this week. But next week, when No. 17 USC comes to Austin, who knows where Texas will be?
What is going to be the stipulations for your match with Jerry Ramsey #AskHoover
— Nathan Mccullum (@nathan_mccullum) September 6, 2018
Oh, that’s easy. Jerry has to shave his back. And if he wears anything resembling thong, I’m out. Like, way, way out.
Columnist John E. Hoover is co-host of “The Franchise Drive” every weeknight from 6-8 on The Franchise in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, and appears throughout the day on other shows on The Franchise. Listen at fm107.7 in OKC, fm107.9/am1270 in Tulsa, on The Franchise app, or click the “Listen” tab on The Franchise home page. Hoover also covers the Big 12 for Sporting News and Lindy’s magazine and is a feature writer for Sooner Spectator magazine. Visit his personal page at johnehoover.com.