NORMAN – The Oklahoma Sooners didn’t look in a rush on Saturday.
After a slow start, the OU’s opener, ranked No.2 at Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, turned into a late game, resembling the second-half collapse of the last season against Kansas State.
But this year, the OU defense pulled off one final save with less than two minutes to go to hang on to the win.
Here are three takeaways from Oklahoma’s 40-35 victory over Tulane.
Riley gets creative
Wednesday, senior tight end / full back H Jérémie room says that Lincoln riley had things up its sleeve when it came to how the Sooners were going to survive the year with just two purse holders.
The OU head coach made no secret of his intentions in Game 1, using his vast, very deep and talented receiving room to make up for the running back’s lack of depth.
In the first half on Saturday, Riley became a true freshman Mario williams, calling for a number of quick passes and bubble screens in its direction, often on the first few tries in traditional racing situations.
Mike leach Famously defends his garish running / passing separations by explaining that a quick pass to flats serves the same purpose as a running game, and it looks like Riley will be taking a page from his former boss’s book in 2021.
Additionally, Sooner fans got their first glimpse of Caleb williams in competitive play in the form of the old Belldozer package.
The true first-year quarterback was brought over the goal line to use his legs and hit in the second touchdown of the afternoon, again keeping Kennedy brooks and Eric Gray out of danger.
Defensive rotation is here, for better or for worse
The defensive coaching staff pumped up defensive depth throughout the offseason, and it was on Saturday.
And no area of the pitch has shown confidence in the defensive coaching staff more than in the securities of Alex Grinch.
Over the past two years, Pat Champs and Delarrin Turner-Yell saw more action than anyone else on defense because there just wasn’t any depth to turn on.
But from the third disc of the game, Laurent Key and Justin broiles were replaced to keep things in the back for OU.
Young people love Kelvin Gilliam, Danny stutsman, Clayton smith, Latrell mccutchin and Reggie Grimes all of them also saw a lot of work in the first half, proving that it wasn’t just about the coaching staff. They really believe they have 22-25 guys who can play some big snaps in defense this year.
Unfortunately for the Sooners, a lot of these guys were on the field as the Green Wave returned late in the game.
Defensive depth is undoubtedly much better than in the past, but there was still a marked drop along the defensive front from the starters to everyone.
A series of impressive returns
Oklahoma was not at full power last year, which is frightening as 2021 moves forward.
Offensive playmakers Jadon Haselwood and Austin Stogner The two missed a lot of time battling two very different injuries in 2020, but they both looked in great shape in the OU’s opener.
Haselwood caught four balls for 47 yards on four targets and Stogner caught three passes for 36 yards to start the year.
A pair of 2020 campaign opt-outs have also returned to the pitch in style. To recover Kennedy brooks and defensive lineman Jalen redmond showed little sign of rust in their first competition in nearly two years.
Although on limited touches, Brooks was called to freeze the game after things got tough in the fourth quarter.
Finishing with 14 carries, Brooks ran for 87 yards and a touchdown, averaging 6.2 yards per carry.
On the defensive end, Redmond added a pair of tackles, entering the backfield to register 0.5 tackles for a loss.
Conventional wisdom would say that these four players should only get better as the year progresses and they get more shots under their belt, a good sign for things to come this season.