To preview Baylor’s football game with Oklahoma, we sent a few questions to our sister SB Nation site, the Crimson & Cream Machine. Stephen Brown (@OUupdatedSB) was kind enough to answer! See what he had to say below, and check out our answers to their questions.
SP+ rates OU’s offense as #9 in the country, while FEI rates OU’s offense as #18. Which do you think is more accurate of the team’s performance thus far? An elite top-10 offense in the country, or a very good but flawed in some way top-20 offense?
Stephen: Even with the return of QB, Dillion Gabriel, the latter of the two seems to be more accurate at this point in the season. Oklahoma’s offense has shown flashes of being elite, but their lack of consistency holds them back from being elite.
Asking on behalf of Baylor fans who haven’t watched OU this year — who are relatively unknown players on offense and defense to be aware of?
Stephen: Offensively, you’re going to see a whole new version of running back, Eric Gray. He’s become a more confident and more elusive runner than you saw last season. I’ll also add in sophomore receiver, Jalil Farooq who is becoming a difference maker opposite Marvin Mims. Defensively, it’s a lot of the same cast of characters as last season. One name that isn’t necessarily new but has changed positions and has really been a bright spot for this Sooners defense is, DaShaun White. Moved from an inside backer to the “cheetah”, White has played well in coverage while still being very active against the run.
What are you most worried about Baylor being able to do on offense? What are you most confident about Baylor not being able to do?
Stephen: One thing that I think a lot of Oklahoma fans should be worried about is Baylor’s ability to have long, sustained drives. They’re currently leading the Big 12 in Time of Possession and that will be big advantage against an Oklahoma defense that can lose composure at times when they’re unable to get off the field on late downs. Flip-side, DB Woodi Washington bounced back last week with a decent game against Iowa State. If he and S, Billy Bowman are healthy, they’ve proven to limit the deep ball against an opposing offenses. Bowman is still coming off a leg injury suffered against Texas, so it remains to be seen how much he’ll be used today.
Who in the Big 12 are you most happy to not play again? Who in the SEC are you most looking forward to playing regularly?
Stephen: I’m sure everyone is going to have a difference answer here, but I keep coming back to the Kansas. I have nothing against the Jayhawks or their fans, it’s just they’ve been a no-win situation for Oklahoma (and others). You get a win, it doesn’t add any credibility to your résumé. You get a loss, you’re now the punching bag of college football fans everywhere. I will miss them playing Texas, however.
Brent Venables. How would you evaluate him 2/3rds of the way through his first season?
Stephen: It’s been more turbulent than most had anticipated to say the least. You can tell he’s learned and continues to learn things as a first-year head coach. That’s probably shaken a few Sooners fan’s confidence that he’s the right guy for the job. However, I think what continues to standout about Venables is there is a clear vision of where he wants to go and what he wants to achieve. It’s no longer “we’re close”, there is a roadmap to get back to being a championship level program.
Stephen: Both teams will move the ball well and this one may simply come down to who has the last possession. With the game in Norman, I’ll give Oklahoma a slight edge this week. Sooners win a close one against the Bears 34-31