Posted: Today 9:39 AM
Before we turn the page to the first bye week for Oklahoma, let’s take one more look at the week that was.
Let’s look at just one more thing.
This OU team can be something special
It sounds obvious. It’s not like the expectations haven’t been high ever since Jan. 2 when the Sooners waxed Alabama in the Allstate Sugar Bowl.
All OU fans have had this season circled on their calendar with a true belief this could be the team that brings championship No. 8 to Norman.
Saying it in March or June is one thing. Letting the play speak for itself in September is another. And winning when not at your best speaks volumes.
Because that OU squad that played at West Virginia on Saturday was not at its best. That first half saw one error after another. Quarterback Trevor Knight was inconsistent. The defense was being gashed for one big play in the passing game after another.
It appeared the dream of a national championship was potentially going to come to a screeching halt in Morgantown. And maybe in other seasons it would have.
This group, though, was able to find that next level. This group was able to make the halftime adjustments on both side of the ball. This group, at least for this one night, also had Samaje Perine, part man, part tank, to carry the load.
The nonconference part of the journey is complete, punctuated by an electric defensive outing against Tennessee. The first Big 12 road game is under their belt as the Sooners found their footing in a 45-33 win against the Mountaineers.
Each week will be another thing to check off. For now, the Sooners get to heal some wounds. Even that hasn’t impacted the team as much as in previous years.
OU has failed to build depth with its young guys in the last few seasons. The participation report was crazy throughout the first couple of weeks. It’s shrinking considerably now that conference play is starting up, but the OU coaches know at least some of those young guys have had some experience in the spotlight.
So even though guys like Zack Sanchez, Keith Ford and Charles Walker are banged up, it hasn’t been reflected with the on field performance.
The defense has been good as advertised with linebacker Eric Striker playing like a potential Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year. The running back concern fans had in August has been wiped away by the three-headed attack of Perine, Alex Ross and Keith Ford.
Injury concerns about guys like Jordan Phillips and Adam Shead have disappeared. Changing positions for guys like Striker, Geneo Grissom and Julian Wilson no longer keep OU fans awake at night.
Off the field distractions with guys like Frank Shannon, Dorial Green-Beckhamand Joe Mixon haven’t made a dent at all in the team’s focus and execution.
The Sooners have made all the right moves through the first third of the season. Being ranked No. 3 in the coaches poll and No. 4 in the AP poll is pretty much irrelevant right now. Take care of business on the field, and OU will be participating in the first four-team college football playoff.
There are going to be even more obstacles along the way, of course, but nothing that this team doesn’t seem to be equipped to handle. The first piece of adversity is gone.
The best thing for OU fans is it’s clear the Sooners haven’t played their best ball yet. The offense hasn’t clicked on all cylinders at all times. The secondary has given up some big plays. The punt return game leaves a lot to be desired.
With so much to fix and refine during the next 10 weeks, there’s a reason OU fans are smiling right now because they know the best is yet to come.
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