What happens Saturday night when the 16th-ranked Sooners (1-0) open Big 12 Conference play against West Virginia (1-0) at Owen Field will be more telling.
In previous years, both these teams operated at blistering offensive paces and threw the ball more than it ran. They wanted to snap the ball more than 90 times a game and gave little concern about how many plays its defense had to defend. The 50-49 victory OU claimed last season at West Virginia exemplified the philosophies.
West Virginia, which is like OU in that it’s breaking in a new starting quarterback this season, ran it more than it threw in its 24-17 victory over William & Mary last Saturday.
The offensive shootout that characterized these teams’ first meeting as Big 12 members, might have been a one-time deal.
“If you are running the football, you are controlling the line of scrimmage,” Mike Stoops said. “At times last year, we weren’t able to do that on either side of the ball. That’s what we have to get better at and we’re making a conscious effort to be more physical on the line of scrimmage on both sides.”
The obvious benefit is a well-rested defense.
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