Oklahoma has had a difficult go of it on offense this season compared to their high standards. While the benching of Spencer Rattler during the Red River Rivalry win for the second season in a row grabs the headlines, the offensive line’s lack of production has left a lot to be desired and is another reason for their struggles. The Sooners lost star center Creed Humphrey to the NFL Draft, and had something of a center competition going in the early part of the season which Andrew Raym seems to have won.
That’s why, if you’re an Oklahoma fan, seeing the Sooners' run game get going by playing the hits against Texas should be a promising step in the right direction to the tune of 355 sack-adjusted yards at 9.1 yards per carry.
Oklahoma is no stranger to a staple running play called counter. It’s their bread and butter run with deep roots as the slobberknocking key to successful ground attacks with both Nebraska and the Washington Football Team back in the 70s and 80s.
It was on display on Kennedy Brooks’s long run initially ruled a fumble before being overturned.
The play is simple, and classically executed with a pulling guard and a fullback, while Oklahoma often runs what’s referred to as G/T Counter (the G/T stands for guard and tackle) which involves two linemen pulling from the backside of the formation to the front.
In Rattler’s absence, the Sooners ran a tweaked version. When Caleb Williams came into the game, Oklahoma’s run game got an added dimension of the quarterback as a running threat, starting with his 66-yard touchdown on fourth-and-1. But simply the running threat of Williams combined with Brooks’s skill and window dressing came together on top of Oklahoma’s counter base to make magic for the Sooners.
Oklahoma brings Drake Stoops in motion, which is one piece to the puzzle. They also had Brayden Willis (No. 9) in at tight end to run what we can call G/Y Counter.
They then snapped the ball directly to Brooks, who faked a pitch to Williams for all that movement to occur in front so blocks could get in place. All Brooks had to do was run to paydirt.
The result? The two biggest plays of the game. Oklahoma’s go-ahead score as well as its game-winner.
The plays are carbon copies of each other, but Texas was powerless to stop them. The problem? Eye discipline.
“The direct snap, they did a nice job,” Texas head coach Sarkisian told reporters after the game. “They had kind of a little window dressing with the motion. We lost our eyes a little bit at linebacker with the motion. The timing is a little bit different from a traditional counter play. … I don’t think it was necessarily a surprise that it was coming. We just didn’t fit the run right, and then he had the explosiveness to crease it and find the end zone.”
Texas may want to close their eyes when they watch the film of this game. A Red River Showdown for the ages could have gone their way.
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