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6 Oklahoma

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OPPOSING COACH'S TAKE

They have the best O-line in our conference, and it's not close. It's big, physical and tough. They keep [senior quarterback] Baker Mayfield from being hit and allow the receivers to isolate defenders one-on-one. They can do so much with MARK ANDREWS [a 6'5", 254-pound junior]. He can be an in-line tight end or flex out, and he's a great red zone target. He's good enough in routes that you can't use a linebacker on him. Mayfield is emotional, but now he's more levelheaded with his decisions. He throws the deep ball really well. His accuracy on midrange and intermediate throws has improved. He's perfect for what they do. I give [former OC and new coach] Lincoln Riley credit. Lincoln's different from the other Mike Leach guys, because he'll run the ball so much. Their counter plays and how they block you is different.

[DC] Mike Stoops gets waaaay too emotional as a play-caller. His team gives up a big play, and you know he's gonna come after you, and you can burn him again. They don't have the same caliber of talent on the front seven. Their secondary, though, is really good. Jordan Thomas [a 6-foot, 185-pound senior corner] gets his hands on a lot of passes. He or [6'1", 204-pound senior safety] Steven Parker is the best guy on that defense. Jordan Parker [a 5'11", 188-pound sophomore], the other corner, made them better.

OFFENSIVE RANKINGS (1 TO 128)

[The following text appears within an illustration. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual illustration.]

THIRD-DOWN CONVERSION % (4TH)

YARDS PER PASS ATTEMPT (3RD)

COMPLETION % (1ST)

YARDS PER CARRY (22ND)

SACKS ALLOWED (35TH)

TURNOVERS LOST (35TH)

POINTS PER DRIVE (2ND)

YARDS PER PLAY (2ND)

DEFENSIVE RANKINGS (1 TO 128)

[The following text appears within an illustration. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual illustration.]

THIRD-DOWN CONVERSION % ALLOWED (94TH)

YARDS PER PASS ATTEMPT ALLOWED (53RD)

COMPLETION % ALLOWED (27TH)

YARDS PER CARRY ALLOWED (73RD)

SACKS (71ST)

TURNOVERS GAINED (88TH)

POINTS PER DRIVE ALLOWED (75TH)

YARDS PER PLAY ALLOWED (80TH)

STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE RATING

55

Ugh. Lincoln Riley's first road game as coach will be at Ohio State (9/9), the first of six dates with potential Top 25 teams—only one of which will be in Norman. Those matchups include the Red River showdown with improving Texas (10/14) and a visit to Oklahoma State (11/4).

THE PLAYER TO KNOW

The coaching staff says it has a much deeper receiving corps than it did last year, but it's unclear who the Sooners' home run threat will be. Keep an eye on senior JEFFERY MEAD. A tight-end sized guy with wide-receiver speed, the 6'5" 195-pounder made only 16 catches in his first three seasons in Norman, but he started to flash late last year, and that momentum has carried over to the offseason. "He's almost 6'6", has long arms, and he can jump out of the gym," says quarterback Baker Mayfield. "He just needed to put on a little weight and get a bit stronger. I don't think he realized how good he was. He finally had that light click, but that was all him. He turned it on. Credit to him for making that transition."