OU Football

Despite the positive numbers, the Sooners’ offense is looking for a mental edge to get better on this bye week

Oklahoma wide receiver CeeDee Lamb (9) celebrates a touchdown with teammate Dimitri Flowers (36) on Sept. 2 against UTEP. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Despite the positive numbers, the Sooners’ offense is looking for a mental edge to get better on this bye week

NORMAN —

43.9 points per game.
554.8 total yards per game.

Those numbers made the 2016 Oklahoma team the only one in the country to be in the top three of points per game and total offense. That offense was unprecedented for their ability to find ways to score against every opponent they played after Ohio State. This was led by Baker Mayfield’s accuracy as he set the NCAA Record for Passing Efficiency with a mark of 196.39. When a team loses the likes of two current NFL starting running backs and the leading NFL receiver in the preseason, most would expect them to not be able to replace it. Or would they?

Mike Houck, Oklahoma’s Assistant Athletic Director of Strategic Communications and Primary Contact for Football, sent out a slew of tweets earlier in the week, but here is two to show just how good Lincoln Riley’s offense has been in 2017:

This 2017 offense is on-pace to shatter just about everything they did in 2016. Losing the likes of Dede Westbrook, Joe Mixon, and Samaje Perine has not hurt them one bit to this point. The best defenses in the Big 12 await in TCU, West Virginia, and Texas, but the start to this season could not be seen as anything less than positive. However, if there was one area of improvement, Orlando Brown says it is their consistency.

“It was pretty inconsistent,” Brown said in review of the offensive line play against Baylor. “Obviously, we want to go out there and give up zero sacks, zero pressures, and zero hits. Not have missed assignments.”

The three-year starter mentioned that they gradually got better as the game went on. Outside of Abdul Adams 99-yard rushing touchdown, the Sooners offense only rushed (no sack total added) for 26 yards on ten carries in the first half. The second half, though, was a completely different story with Oklahoma running the football 23 times for 254 yards with only one run that went longer than 50 yards. His signal caller reiterated the same sentiment after he rewatched the game against Baylor.

“The biggest thing after looking at (Baylor) is consistency,” Baker Mayfield told reporters on Tuesday. “How we played against Baylor is how we played in the first half against Ohio State. Not that they were doing anything special to stop us, we did it ourselves. Consistency is the key to that.”

As a whole, the Sooners mentioned they did not practice well the week before playing Tulane. Brown mentioned once again that they did not practice all that well for Baylor and that it showed up on Saturday. The old adage of “practice makes perfect” has changed to “practice makes permanent”. How does one go about making those things permanent and become more consistent?

“I think it starts in practice,” Brown said. “That’s something that Coach Riley has been preaching since he’s been here.”

“We have the talent. We have the guys to do everything we need to and get the job done,” Baker Mayfield said. “We have to focus in and realize that you (have to) handle each play. You can’t worry about the last one or focus on the next one. You (have to) handle the one that is going on at the time. Take your practice and what we have done during the week and translate it on Saturday.”

Consistent or not, it is going to be hard to hide the offensive production the Sooners have put up through four games in 2017. Baker Mayfield is currently on pace to break his 2016 Passing Efficiency Rating of 196.39 with a rating of 228.75. The 2017 rushing attack is also better than 2016 attack by averaging 5.6 yards a carry so far (5.4 in 2016). If Mayfield and Orlando Brown can push their teammates to practice better and become more consistent, this 2017 offense could truly be heading into uncharted territory.

 

 

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