By Michael Kinney
After escaping with a victory over Army last weekend, the sixth-ranked Oklahoma Sooners return to Big 12 action this week when they take on the suddenly formidable Baylor Bears. The game is set for 2:30 p.m. at Memorial Stadium.
Baylor comes into the contest with a 3-1 record after beating Kansas 26-7.
“They are a lot better,” co-offensive coordinator Bill Bedenbaugh said of Baylor. “They are playing very physical. They got bigger. You can tell that on tape. They understand the scheme better. Obviously, their numbers are better. It’s going to be a tough challenge. I think it will be across the board, the best d-line, linebackers, secondary wide, I think it will be our toughest challenge. We have to prepare well this week.”
When the Sooners (4-0) were asked about what to expect from the Baylor defense, the same word kept popping up. Physical.
“What stands out is how physical those guys are,” tackle Bobby Evans said. “It’s a pretty well-coached team. They come after the ball pretty hard.”
The Sooners other offensive tackle, Cody Ford, agreed.
“Their physicality. I think that stands out the most. Especially among their d-linemen. I think that will be the best d-line will play at this point. The defensive end, No. 93 (James Lynch). He stands out the most to me. They all have the same physicality I think.”
Bedenbaugh was especially impressed with Bears defensive scheme.
“They play a bunch of guys at a bunch of different positions. Most of the time you have to study one or two guys, maybe three or four,” Bedenbaugh said. “But all of these guys will play all over the place. I’ve never really seen many people do it. Their two d-ends will play a shade, a three, both d-ends. It’s going to be critical they study each guy, know the guys they’re going to face. Prepare.”
Oklahoma owns a 24-3 (.889) all-time record against Baylor and is 12-1 versus the Bears in Norman. In the Big 12 era, the Sooners hold a 19-3 series advantage (9-1 at home).
In Saturday’ win over Army, one of the most exciting sequences of the night was one Oklahoma never wants to see again.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Sooners had two shots at a touchdown from inside the one-yard line. But they were rebuffed twice by a stout Black Knights defense.
The series of plays was still on the minds of the offensive line as they began preparation for Baylor this week.
“It’s very frustrating,” Evans said. “Because it’s on us. We put that on our backs. We took that to heart. We didn’t create enough movement on the goal line. That’s all that was. We take a lot of pride in that, so it doesn’t matter how many people are I the box. We still have to create some type of movement.”
However, Bedenbaugh said the blame for the goal line stand goes on his shoulders.
“The lesson learned is I have to scheme better,” Bedenbaugh said. “That’s the biggest lesson. It’s not on those guys. I have to do a better job of putting them in position to be successful.”
Michael Kinney is a Freelance Content Provider