Posted: 10:00 a.m. Friday, Sept. 27, 2013
You can find my answers to his questions HERE at Crimson and Cream Machine, and follow Matt and all the Crimson and Cream Machine crew @CCMachine on Twitter. Let's see what he has to say about the Sooners, the Bellicopter (née Belldozer), and watch him attempt to avoid flashbacks from last season's game.
1. Blake Bell has won the starting job for the Sooners. A lot of mobile QBs have issues with happy feet or scrambling at the first sign of pressure, resulting in off-target throws. What do you see Bell's strengths and weaknesses as, and will Notre Dame have success in pressuring him into poor decisions?
Blake Bell was everything that Oklahoma fans had hoped he would be in his debut against Tulsa. However, keep in mind that it was only Tulsa. There's no doubt that this will be the strongest defense that the Sooners have faced all season and therefore the strongest challenge to Bell. Accuracy was a major issue for Trevor Knight, who started the season at quarterback, but Bell was spot on as a replacement. Granted it was the worst defense that OU has seen this year but hitting open receivers is stride was something that Knight just couldn't do consistently and Bell excelled at it.
I really want to say that Bell is going to check down his receivers, remain cool in the pocket and make the best decisions possible. However, the truth is, we really don’t know what to expect from Bell because this is only his second start and he’s yet to be tested.
2. Notre Dame's front 7, especially their defensive line, is undoubtedly the best unit on the Irish side of the field. Do the Sooners have the talent and skill at the offensive line positions to handle Nix, Tuitt, & Co.?
In short, no. This is basically the same line that was dominated by the Irish last fall. They’ve made progress through the spring and summer but I’m not at all sold on the idea that they can consistently win the battle up front. Oklahoma will need to scheme differently to attack the edges, use the shotgun formation and roll the quarterback, and go with quick passes. If they try to attack the Irish right up the gut it’ll make for a long day for OU fans.
3. Notre Dame's running game has struggled mightily this year, but many Irish fans feel that running against OU's 3-3-5 all-time nickel defense built to stop the Big 12 is going to get things back on track. Two questions for you - do you think the 3-3-5 will be able to stand up against the Irish, and how much will we see that 5th defensive back come off the field for another linebacker to play in a 3-4 under front?
You’re most likely going to see multiple fronts from Oklahoma’s defense, anything from the 3-3-5 to the 4-3 to even a 5-2. Mike Stoops has done a great job, in his second season back, of mixing the defense up. The Sooners have been very stout against the run in the first three games, only allowing an average of 100 yards per game, which is tops in the Big Twelve. This is the aspect of the game that I’m most intrigued about this weekend.
4. Who is one player you see on Oklahoma's team that Notre Dame fans may not know about, but will have a big coming-out party on the big stage?
That’s a great question and my answer would be free safety Gabe Lynn. He is a fifth year senior who has bounced around on the defense. He’s finally found a home at free safety and has been an absolute playmaker there. He’s a punishing hitter who has a nose for the ball. So far this season he’s nabbed two interceptions and recovered a fumble. He’ll need to have a big day for Oklahoma on Saturday.
On the offensive side of the ball, I’m going to go with Trey Millard. The Sooners can’t keep underusing him. There are rumors that he may line up at tight end, running back and full back at different times of the game. When he has the ball in his hands he’s a load to bring down. Just ask Texas.
Gonna use my GIF right here. Do I still get the bonus points?
5. What is your prediction for this weekend's matchup, including the % of the stadium that will be wearing Crimson? (Bonus points for GIF usage)
I have to be optimistic here and here’s the reason why. The thing that keeps coming up in this game is Oklahoma’s run defense against the Irish rushing attack. The Sooners could very well be exposed as a fraud here but until that happens I think this is a huge advantage for OU. The reason why is that it could make the ND offense one dimensional and that will absolutely favor Oklahoma. For that reason alone (Keep in mind I’m being very optimistic here) I like the Sooners by 10 points.
Notre Dame is one of the mecca’s of college football. There will be a good number of OU fans there this weekend and they will be as loud as the game allows them to be. I’m not sure on the exact percentage but I would expect the number to be somewhere between 15-20K.
If you happen to see fellow CCM editor and writer Jordan Esco there, please bar him from entering the stadium as he currently is cursed when attending live sporting events.