Oklahoma football: Should Sooner fans be concerned looking ahead?

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NORMAN, OK – SEPTEMBER 01: The stands empty out in the third quarter during the Florida Atlantic Owls vs. Oklahoma Sooners at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on September 1, 2018 in Norman, Oklahoma. The Sooners defeated the Owls 63-14. (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)

Contrary to the opinion of all those Sooner skeptics out there, the sky is not falling on the 2018 Oklahoma football season. Not yet, anyway.

It is important to recognize that the expression “the sky is falling” in the vernacular of Oklahoma football means losing three or more games in a season and not winning a conference title. The bar for success is considerably higher for OU football than it is at most every other school

Yes, the Sooner defense struggled mightily against Army’s triple-option, three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust offense on Saturday and showed some defensive leakage in a 10-point win over a mediocre Iowa State team the week before, but there are always going to be games like these over the course of a 12-game regular-season schedule.

Oklahoma allowed Iowa State to gain 447 yards of total offense, but just 87 rushing yards. A week later, against Army, the Black Knights punished the Sooners on the ground, grinding out 339 of their 379 yards of offense.

The Sooners have not faced an offense like Army’s in a number of years. Ironically, it is very similar to the offense Oklahoma employed in the Wishbone years of the 1970s and ’80s under Barry Switzer.

The triple option is extremely difficult to defend, principally because only a few college teams operate out of it exclusively in today’s game, where spread formations and wide-open aerial games have become the norm.. So you don’t practice against the triple option except if you are preparing to play Army, Navy or Georgia Tech.

It is even tougher to defend when a team runs it almost flawlessly, as Army did on Saturday night against the Sooners. Only a few times in its 21 third-down plays was Army left with more than a couple of yards to go for a new set of downs.

Fortunately, Oklahoma will not have to go up against a triple-option team until 2020, when the Sooners are scheduled to play against Army at West Point. After Saturday night, however, you can expect OU’s remaining opponents to pick up on the success Army had running the ball against the Sooners.

Beyond that, Army also provided the blueprint that the best way to beat Oklahoma is to keep that chains and the clock moving, shorten the game and keep the explosive Sooner offense off the field and watching on the sidelines where it can’t score any points.

As far as takeaways from the Army game that the Sooners can learn from and build on in their effort to get better both physically and schematically and put themselves in better position to win games as the schedule toughens in October and November, several jump to the top of the list:

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