Oklahoma Sooners GIF Study: The Optimus P-Rine Edition

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Samaje Perine

Call him what you must, Samaje Perine is going to be a very good running back for Oklahoma. Prior to the Mixon news, I would have expected him to redshirt, but I’m starting to think that Perine would have beaten out the talented California RB.

Perine is strong, fast, and calculated as he finishes runs through the defender. He has the traits that Oklahoma’s other backs lack: size (Ford) and patience (Ross). Despite his body type, he’s more than quick enough to get to the second level and he moves with a subtlety that freezes linebackers.

On top of that, he’s great at picking his spots and letting his blocks line up for him.

On this play, watch as Ripkowski comes across to make a block for Perine, but he then shows great instincts to go back inside his RT:

Here’s another great inside run by Perine, a play that probably ends up as a short gain if he’s not patient enough to let his blocks develop:

Alex Ross

Ross might be the best play maker on Oklahoma’s roster, but he probably won’t be getting too many carries out of the backfield going forward. He’s struggled this year as a back when he’s asked to have good vision, especially between the tackles. In space, he’s extremely dangerous; but he’s no inside runner.

This is Alex Ross on Oklahoma’s third play from scrimmage:

At first glance, it looks like there just imply wasn’t a hole for him to run through. But after taking another look, it appears as though there was one developing in between the RG and RT. Unfortunately Ross never even looks at that hole and tries to run over the WVU defender rather than letting his OL block for him. You can see No. 9 for WVU running over to close that gap, but I doubt he gets there in time to stop Ross.

That was his last carry for a very long time, because Samaje Perine took over the game from there on out. Ross still managed seven yards per carry on eight attempts against WVU, thanks to some improved vision and decision-making in the second half.

Here’s Ross on a screen play early on where he simply runs straight at the defender instead of trying to make him miss:

Even in space, Ross struggled with his vision there. He has to be able to cut that back inside, because the WVU defenders over-pursued him and he still let them make the tackle. Moving forward, I would expect to see more of Perine and Ford in the backfield (obviously) but I’d also like to see the coaches find creative ways to get Ross the ball in space. It will be interesting to see how Ross is used going forward, because he’s certainly a playmaker: