The Norman Transcript

OU Sports

October 16, 2013

OU offense looking to find its stride

NORMAN — Oklahoma is sticking with Blake Bell as its quarterback. Head coach Bob Stoops stated it Monday and offensive coordinator Josh Heupel reiterated it Tuesday.

But something has to change with the Sooners’ offense. Four offensive touchdowns in three Big 12 Conference games and a 5-for-26 third-down conversion rate over the last two games screams something is amiss.

Heupel doesn’t believe it’s one particular issue that’s the root of the problems. Nor does he think the Sooners are still searching for what they do best.

“I don’t know if we are searching for an identity as much as we are searching to be more consistent in everything that we are doing,” Heupel said Tuesday night. “At times, things are executed and we are doing a really good job. Obviously, the last couple of weeks we haven’t been good on third down. That’s one point of emphasis. At the end of the day, you have to stay on the field to score points.”

The Sooners aren’t because they’ve put themselves in some very difficult third-down positions the last two games. Against Texas, the average distance OU had to get to move the chains on third down was 8 yards.

OU’s not really built for that. It’s an offense that seems to be at its best running the ball and getting in third-down situations where a simple run is still an option.

“Third and longs happen because of first and second down. We can’t get behind the chains, whether it’s because of penalties, a negative run or something like that. It’s not what you want and it makes it that much harder,” Bell said. “We need to stay out of the third and longs.”

It’s been OU’s focus over the last two practices and will be again when it faces Kansas (2-3, 0-2 Big 12) at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium in Lawrence, Kan.

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