The Norman Transcript

Sports

October 25, 2013

Millard, Ripkowski in at same time beefs up OU’s run game

NORMAN — It’s ironic the position that turned the tide for Oklahoma at Kansas is one that’s technically void. The Sooners don’t really have a tight end. The willingness to play Trey Millard and Aaron Ripkowski at the spot turned out to be a difference-making decision.

“That was a really good set for us today,” offensive coordinator Josh Heupel said last Saturday. “It helped us in a couple play-action passes that didn’t work out, but we were really efficient running the football on the edge.”

The ability to run the ball is the reason having Millard and Ripkowski on the field at the same time seems to have kick-started the Sooners’ offense.

It’s a reasonable assumption after seven games that OU’s offense isn’t going to put up great passing numbers. The reality is: Blake Bell is averaging 157.0 passing yards a game. The best executed passing play all season came when a receiver (Lacoltan Bester) threw a reverse pass for a 49-yard touchdown.

The decision to use Ripkowski and Millard extensively against Kansas showed how the coaching staff has come to grips with what the Sooners do best.

“We’ve had some success in it. Especially just finishing out games, we’ve had quite a bit of success with being able to stay on the field and running out clock,” Millard said. “When we’ve had to do that, we’ve done a good job running it, even when the defenses know we’re going to run it.”

The ability to run the ball when teams know it’s coming is going to be essential for the rest of the season. Kansas didn’t care how many receivers the Sooners put on the field. It played one safety deep and kept at least seven players in the box at all times.

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