The Norman Transcript

September 18, 2013

When it comes to polls, Sooners waiting in the wings

By John Shinn
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — There’s an old saying that’s been around nearly as long as the BCS: The computers like Oklahoma.

That appears to not be the case this year. The Sooners (3-0) have yet to crack the top 10 in either The Associated Press or USA Today Top 25. They have in three of the six computer polls that comprise one-third of the BCS formula for picking the teams for the national championship game.

OU is ranked No. 2 in the Colley Matrix Top 50, No. 4 in the Billingsley Top 50 and No. 9 in the Sagarin Top 50. The Sooners are No. 19 in the Massey Ratings Top 50. The Anderson/Hester Top 50 and Wolfe Ratings have not released polls.

The initial BCS standings will be released Oct. 13 (the day after the OU-Texas game).

Settling in: OU has shown two very different offenses over the first three games. It was run-heavy against Louisiana-Monroe and West Virginia, using a lot of two receiver, two running back formations. Against Tulsa, there were more receivers on the field.

With no game this week and extra time to prepare for the Sept. 28 meeting with Notre Dame, receivers coach Jay Norvell said a lot of that will be spent trimming down the offense.

“Over the first three weeks, you see a lot of different things you’ve been practicing in the off season, and there are a lot of things that we’re implementing,” OU receivers coach Jay Norvell said. “By the third game, you’ve seen a lot of it and you kinda polish it up and use what you need week to week to win. That’s kinda where we’re at right now.”

Naturally aggressive: Freshman running back Keith Ford has quickly become a team and fan favorite because of his running style. The 5-foot-11, 205-pound Ford has 11 carries for 66 yards, including a 23-yard touchdown run against Tulsa and hasn’t done anything other than lower his head.

OU coach Bob Stoops said the freshman is the most physical running back he’s coached since Adrian Peterson. Oddly enough, the Cypress, Texas, native is still relatively new to football.

Basketball and soccer were his sports as a child. He didn’t start playing football until his freshman year of high school, but he quickly found a running style that fit.

“I always liked to hit people,” he said. “It was just something I took to.”

Nothing to relate: OU’s trip to Notre Dame will be the program’s first since 1999. Its quarterback in that 34-30 loss to the Fighting Irish was offensive coordinator Josh Heupel.

Obviously, he’ll have some things to relate to current OU quarterback Blake Bell, but none of it will be recollections from that game. OU blew a 16-point in the second half in the loss.

“I remember having a three-possession lead and it not finishing the way we wanted it to,” Heupel said Tuesday night.

John Shinn

Follow me @john_shinn