2014 Oklahoma Sooners Non-Conference Report Card: The Offense


The first quarter of the college football season is already in the books as of today. Which is kind of a bummer, because of the fact that it feels like college football just got started again. Oklahoma, has played impressively over the course of the non-conference slate, capping it off with a 34-10 win over the SEC’s Tennessee Volunteers.

The Sooners, have outscored their opponents in the last three contests, 55-0 in the first quarter. The defense has been swarming, powerful, much like in the olden days of Mike Stoops defenses in the early 2000’s. Something to be happy about, but there are areas that could and need to improve.

As Bob Stoops said in his post-game presser following the Tennessee win:

"“I don’t feel like we’ve done much yet. I’ve got all the respect in the world for Tennessee. I am just saying its only three games. We’ve got a long year. We’ve got to keep getting better.”"

The Sooners will continue to improve as the season progresses. The following is an evaluation for the first three games as a whole.

Quarterback: B”

Trevor Knight has shown a massive improvement when compared from this time last year. He is making better decisions, throwing the ball accurately. The interceptions that have been thrown this year, have been more heads up plays by the defense off of deflections. He also is taking less risk of getting injured running the ball, while doing what needs to be done to get the first down.

Each game, Knight becomes more and more in sync with the receivers. At this point of the season his most reliable receivers, are Sterling Shepard, Durron Neal, KJ Young, Blake Bell, and Keith Ford.

Some of his receivers are still learning, which has lead to some dropped passes. Only a handful of passes have “got away” from Knight. Though he has tried to squeeze a few balls into tight coverages.

No need to overcomplicate things, Knight needs to continue what he’s doing. He has multiple receivers to get involved in the passing game. I would like to see the risky passes cleaned up.

Knight has completed 60% of his passes, thrown for 860 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions and has a QBR of 140.  He also has ran the ball, amassing 14 rushes, 69 yards, and two rush touchdowns.

Running backs: “B”

Sep 13, 2014; Norman, OK, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Trevor Knight (9) celebrates scoring a touchdown with running back Keith Ford (21) during the game against the Tennessee Volunteers at Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

This grade was considerably higher prior to the Tennessee match up. During the game, the running backs had opportunities to bounce the ball to the outside and gash the Tennessee defense. Unfortunately, the backs did not take those opportunities all the times they were presented. The lack of overall experience showed.

Regardless, the combination of Ford, Perine, and Ross, is going to be a killer group. This group has accumulated 503 yards on 87 carries. As a group that is 5.7 yards a carry. They also have scored 9 rushing touchdowns.

This group has also been reliable in the passing game. Keith Ford has 100 yards on 6 catches and a touchdown. Improve on gap recognition. This running back group has a chance to be special this year. Legendary next year. You guys have good vision, don’t be afraid to use it.

Offensive Line: “A-“

The offensive line has to be one of the most proven commodities of the Oklahoma Sooners. The word “EXPERIENCE” can be used to describe two units. The most important units, the Offensive and Defensive Lines. And as we all know, football is won in the trenches.

This line isn’t small either. During the Tulsa game, the announcers stated that the average weight of the Sooners offensive was 324 pounds. Comparing that to the Dallas Cowboys average weight, they out weigh the Cowboys 324 to 315. A massive line to say the least.

The line has been dominant. Even against Tennessee, they had push. Though there were plays that Tennessee’s defensive line used slants to disrupt the line in the run game. They however, kept Knight up all game, giving him plenty of time to throw more often than not. Keep doing what you guys are doing.

Wide Receivers: “B-“

I am lumping Blake Bell into this as well. Sterling Shepard has been the number one target for Trevor Knight. Picking up where Jalen Saunders left off. Trevor Knight throws the ball, Sterling Shepard catches it.

Duran Neal has been more involved in the offense and is playing better in each game. He has the chance to be an extremely good receiver for Oklahoma. But some of Knights passes, that have been fairly accurate, simply were dropped.

The new receivers have dropped passes, and so has Neal. The worst part of that, is Neal has had several drops on easy pitch and catches. Some of those pitch and catches, could have went for seven points.

KJ Young has played pretty well as a freshman. Stats aren’t the greatest after three games, but what they don’t tell you, Young made drive sustaining plays.

Blake Bell has only five receptions this year, but they were some rather spectacular catches in his transition to tight end. He has also been good at blocking, along with the receivers. With the increased number of runs, the receivers have really stepped up their game on blocking, helping the running backs on the perimeter runs. If not for the number of drops, this group would receive a higher grade.

Overall Offensive Grade: “B”

Potential is there for this offense to be awesome. As they continue to gel together, do not be surprised that this grade increases as the year progresses.

We will evaluate the defense tomorrow.

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