NORMAN — There’s a lot of keys to winning on the road, but one very essential ingredient is quieting a deafening crowd. Early offensive success usually does the trick.
Oklahoma, which hits the road at 2:30 p.m. Saturday to face Texas Tech, hasn’t exactly mastered the maneuver. Through three games, it’s scored three points in the first quarter — a field goal in its last game against Kansas State. It was actually a vast improvement over the season opener against UTEP and Florida A&M. OU picked up six first downs on that opening drive. Against the Miners and Rattlers, the Sooners ran three plays and punted.
So, what’s been wrong?
“Just overall execution,” OU coach Bob Stoops said on Monday at weekly press conference. “That’s what it always is. It’s blocking; it’s hitting the guy that’s open. Precision in routes. Just a little bit of everything.”
Fixing it is the hard part.
This problem didn’t suddenly arise. They struggled with it all of last season. They finished with 34 first-quarter points in last season’s five true road games. However, the problem seemed to get worse as the season went along. OU netted a first-quarter field goal against Baylor and was shut out by Oklahoma State in the opening 15 minutes. Those were OU’s final two road games in 2011. It managed a touchdown on its third possession against UTEP this season.
Quarterback Landry Jones didn’t have any simple fixes for the problem.
“I think just being more precise in what we’re doing — receivers, quarterbacks, running backs, tight ends, offensive line — it seems like we’re just a little off and I think just precision in what we’re doing and just really focusing on little things and correcting them from there,” he said.