Each week this season, the American-Statesman will interview the beat writer of Texas’ opponent. This week, the Oklahoman’s Brooke Pryor offers insight on Oklahoma. You can find Brooke on Twitter at @bepryor.
With two losses for a team that was a national semifinalist last year, is there any indication that these Oklahoma players are viewing this as a lost season?
Not at all — at least that’s what they’re saying when we ask them about it. With the chance at playing in the CFP playoff likely gone, OU is all in on the Big 12 championship hunt. Some guys have gone as far as saying that the Big 12 title is always their top priority, so it seems that at least externally, there’s no indication that this is a lost season.
How would you assess the performances of Baker Mayfield and Samaje Perine, the two Sooners that Austin-area football fans are the most familiar with?
Both had their best games of the season against TCU last weekend. Mayfield was hobbled against TCU and sat out Monday’s practice, but his foot/knee should be healed by Saturday. He showed better decision-making against TCU and his run game made the offense much more dynamic. Speaking of the run game, offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley seemed to finally remember that he had Perine on the roster. It looked like Joe Mixon was the favored back through the first three games, but Perine exploded for 98 yards Saturday.
What is ailing a defense that has allowed 91 points over its last two games?
The most glaring issue has been OU’s cornerback play. Jordan Thomas has been able to hold down one side of the field, but the other has seen a carousel of guys attempting to hold that spot. Ohio State’s Noah Brown caught four touchdown passes on back-shoulder throws that the cornerbacks couldn’t defense. Michiah Quick started the game against TCU and played well, save for giving up at least one deep pass late in the game.
What must Oklahoma do in order to avoid a repeat of last year’s loss to Texas?
The Sooners have to tackle better. We’ve watched the Marcus Johnson touchdown from last season dozens of times and have seen the poor effort OU made to get him out of bounds. The Sooners have to be more physical and show better effort in bringing down the Longhorns, otherwise D’Onta Foreman and Tyrone Swoopes are going to demolish them.
Name one Oklahoma player that Texas fans aren’t talking about — but should be.
Texas fans should keep an eye on Ogbonnia Okoronkwo — better known as Obo around Norman. The linebacker had a crucial sack on TCU’s last series to keep the Horned Frogs from completing their fourth-quarter comeback. At 6-foot-2, 245 pounds, Obo is a physical player, and with so many defensive linemen out this weekend, the Sooners will really rely on him to stop the ground game.
Since this game is at the State Fair, what is the fried food that you’re excited to eat?
I saw something about fried balls of brisket injected with barbecue sauce, and I am all about trying that out.