|No. 13 Sooners seek 25th straight home win|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 11 September 2009 08:39|
With their Heisman Trophy winner and star tight end both out with injuries and a surprising 0-1 record, there's no better place for the Sooners to get back on the right track than Owen Field.
Idaho State may be just the opponent for the task, too.
As redshirt freshman Landry Jones makes his first start at quarterback in place of the injured Sam Bradford, Oklahoma will try to match the school record of 25 straight wins at Owen Field against the Bengals (0-1) on Saturday night. Idaho State, a Football Championship Subdivision team that went 1-11 last season, will have all it can handle in its bid to avoid a 17-game road losing streak that would also be a school record.
50-3 at Arizona State last week.
After a dozen penalties and problems with fumbles last week in a loss to BYU, the Sooners found a new team that can beat them: themselves.
``Our team can't overlook anybody if we can't play correctly and play smart. It's obvious what happened a week ago,'' coach Bob Stoops said. ``I think it's painfully obvious to them that we've got to play better. We've got to play more responsible and disciplined to have a chance to beat anyone.''
Jones led Oklahoma to only a single field goal on five second-half drives after he was tapped to replace Bradford. Stoops was still pleased with his performance and the poise he demonstrated.
``That's something you don't know until they're thrown in the middle of it all is how they handle it all, the pressure and the expectation,'' Stoops said. ``He couldn't have handled it better. He stepped in there and ... I didn't see him flinch once.''
It's only natural that the Sooners will have to scale back the playbook for Jones, who hasn't had nearly the practice or game experience of Bradford.
``Landry's a different person. Just like when you have different players in different formations, you can only run certain plays because maybe that player only can do certain things,'' offensive lineman Jarvis Jones said. ``With Landry, it only opens the book to more dangerous things that we can do.''
ooners must eliminate the mistakes that proved costly against BYU.
``It's just an opportunity to get better,'' Stoops said. ``That's what we have to do is to not put ourselves behind the chains in incredibly difficult circumstances. When you look at those kind of first-and-15, first-and-20, first-and-25, it just changes your whole complexion of what you're trying to establish and how you're trying to call plays.''
Offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson said the coaching staff would consult with the new QB and create a list of his favorite and least favorite plays, just as Bradford would do.
``I don't necessarily think you simplify it but you make sure it's things that he is comfortable with and he's going to play within himself,'' Wilson said.
Stoops said that even if the playbook is trimmed down, the key is to still do enough that opponents will be off-balance. Even with Bradford healthy, the no-huddle offense that scored an NCAA record 716 points last season had only 10 by halftime against BYU.
``The players around him (Landry) need to play like they're capable of, and with some discipline to play by the rules. That would be a starter,'' Stoops said. ``From there, we feel that with Landry, our offensive style doesn't change.''
Besides being without Bradford for the next two to four weeks, Oklahoma's offense also learned this week that second-team All-America tight end Jermaine Gresham will be out for the season.
That puts a greater pressure on Jones and a group of unproven receivers called out for failing to compete for the ball and breaking off their routes in the season opener.
``We're starting in a tough spot,'' Stoops said. ``That's how it is, and you fight out of it.''