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General Preview: BYU vs. Oklahoma

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2009 Season Opener

Dallas Cowboys Stadium - Arlington, Texas
5:00PM MST, September 5, 2009 (ESPN)
Crimson and Cream Machine (OU blog at SB Nation)

Quotes

"The first word that comes to mind is speed, and I'm starting with the defensive line," he said. "Their front four are able to get pressure on the quarterback. The teams we've struggled with in the past are teams that could get pressure on the quarterback without having to use blitzes. (Oklahoma is) certainly capable of doing that. I think they would start from that point. Knowing, as they study our film, if you're able to get pressure on our quarterback and get sacks without having to send extra rushers, then you reduce the risk. Because we're very good at throwing the ball in between zones and moving the chains kind of methodically, if they don't have to pressure, they don't need to." -

Bronco Mendenhall on the Oklahoma Sooners

"Overall, we're looking forward to the challenge this weekend. We're starting against a really good BYU team, a team that has a great history of success and a great tradition. Our players and our program have been aware of that since we have had this game scheduled. The recent success under Coach (Bronco) Mendenhall and the success they have had over the last four or five years is really notable. They're an excellent team, winning conference championships, winning 10 or 11 games almost every year. We understand it's a big challenge, our players have known that all year." - Bob Stoops on the BYU Cougars

Injury Report

Oklahoma: Out - MLB Mike Balogun (Eligibility); TE Jermaine Gresham (Knee); MLB Tom Wort (Knee/ACL); Probable - C Ben Habern (Back; RB Demarco Murray (Hamstring);

BYU: Out - OL Houston Reynolds (Knee); OL Jason Speredon (Shoulder); Probable - CB Brian Logan (Hand); QB Max Hall (Finger); RB Harvey Unga (Hamstring); DB Scott Johnson (Concussion); DB Andrew Rich (Groin); OL Matt Reynolds (Hand); DE Vic So'oto (Ankle); RB Manase Tonga (Eligibility).

Overview

Since 1950, Oklahoma has won 32 conference championships and 7 national championships. They’ve won the Big 12 three years running and already have one national championship this decade (and nearly another last season). Because I shy away from war metaphors or Biblical parallels (i.e. David v. Goliath) it will serve to simply say the Oklahoma Sooners fit the definition of a college football powerhouse. So much so that OU doesn’t really need much of an introduction or preview from VTF. What are we going to tell you about Sam Bradford that you’re not already aware of? Bradford, by the way, is excellent – Heisman Trophy, No.1 NFL pick excellent. Unfortunately for the Cougars the rest of the team is excellent as well.

Oklahoma is currently ranked No. 3 in the AP and USA Today polls. This team should compete with Texas for the Big 12 championship - yet again - and the National Championship again with teams like Florida, USC and Alabama. The Sooner offense is phenomenal. I expect Bradford, Murray, Gresham and co. to put up big numbers against every team this season and that includes the Cougars. They have too many weapons and the offensive line, say what you want about lack-of-experience, will be exceptional. Even when their O-line falters Bradford isn't exactly a statue at quarterback. With several newcomers in the secondary, a largely unproven group of linebackers and a number of minor injuries, BYU will have their work cut out for them on Saturday.

Across the LOS the Sooner D-Line - led by Gerald McCoy and Jeremy Beal - is arguably the nation's finest. Without Matt Reynolds' expected return it was going to be a long day for Max Hall. It could be anyway. The linebackers, including Travis Lewis, are very solid. What the Sooner defensive secondary lacks in experience they should make up for in talent and athleticism. CB Dominique Franks is terrific. All that said - BYU's offense is good as well and I expect them to put some nice numbers on the scoreboard.

Don’t expect the Cougars to be able to hold the Sooners below 35 points. Actually, if the Cougars were to hold OU below 50 I’d still be excited about BYU’s chances of winning the MWC this season. Last season’s defense would not have held the Sooners below 50. This game will should be an indicator of how BYU’s defense will matchup latter in the season against Florida State, TCU and Utah.

I also don’t expect OU’s defense to shut BYU down offensively. It might take a few adjustments after some initial stops, but eventually I think Anae’s game plan and Hall’s experience will allow BYU to be competitive.

I’m calling it Oklahoma 48, BYU 31.

Biased Analysis

Do they know who've they scheduled? This isn't the Cougars of 2003 or 2004. This is Maximus Decimus Hallius we're talking about and OU is in trouble. Hey Bradford, the time for honoring yourself will soon be at an end...

BYU 41, OU 38

Oklahoma Sooners 2009 Season Previews

- Crimson and Cream Machine Preview
- (CC Machine) OU Defensive Secondary Preview
- (CC Machine) OU Special Teams Preview
- CBS Sports - OU's Biggest Questions
- Scout.com Oklahoma Offense Preview
- Scout.com Oklahoma Defense Preview
- The Quad Countdown: No. 4 Oklahoma (NY Times)
- CNN-SI: No. 3 Oklahoma
- College Sports-Fans: Oklahoma
- ESPN Preview/OU Team Page
- Sporting News - Oklahoma No. 3

Other Quotes

"They execute very well," he said. "There are a lot of teams around the country that have really good athletes just like Oklahoma. But they just execute. Sam Bradford runs that offense the way it's supposed to be run, and he does an incredible job." - Jans Jorgensen, BYU DE

"They're quick up front. McCoy is very talented, very hardworking. It's a great opportunity. When you have someone that talented, you really have to use your technique and play hard. If we're technically sound, I think we'll be OK. If we don't play our technique and start doing things as an O-line that we're not supposed to do, he'll definitely exploit that." - Terence Brown, BYU OG

"They're the best team I will have ever faced in my career. With a Heisman quarterback, a great offense and a defense that returns all of their starters except for the two safeties, we have a lot of work ahead of us. But, at the same time, I like our team. I like our chances. We're going to go down there and fight." -Max Hall, BYU QB

Sam Bradford Photo via blog.pennlive.com