The Oklahoma Sooners find themselves in a chasing position in the Big 12 title race with some of the teams ahead of them coming up on their schedule. Their quest to regain conference supremacy starts this weekend in Norman when the Texas Tech Red Raiders bring the No. 2 passing attack in college football into town. The Sooners will be tested in a major way by the Tech attack but must refrain from getting into an aerial shootout. If Blake Bell tries to pass the Sooners to victory, Oklahoma is at a distinct disadvantage.
For all of the skills and talents of Bell as a quarterback, there are clear deficiencies in his ability to be a prolific passer. Since setting a career-mark in his first start this season against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane with 413 yards passing and four touchdowns, Bell has seen his production in the passing game drop each week. In three conference games so far, Bell is averaging just 138 yards passing per game with two touchdowns and three interceptions. Not surprisingly, the Sooners offense has not looked great in those three games.
Historically, Oklahoma has been a drop-back quarterback offense that has been prolific through the air, leading to some record-breaking performances and even a Heisman Trophy or two. But that was with a different style of quarterback than Bell, no matter how much offensive coordinator Josh Heupel wants him to be. The Sooners developed an entire offensive package last season for Bell based around his ability to run the football, not because of his arm.
This weekend, however, he’ll be going up against a team filled with fantastic arms. Texas Tech has started two different freshmen under center this season (in place of their expected starter who was lost to injury) and haven’t missed a beat in the passing game. The Red Raiders are averaging over 416 yards passing every game and will be testing the Oklahoma secondary, currently ranked No. 1 in pass defense in the Big 12, by pushing the pace on Saturday.
Oklahoma will be tempted to try and keep pace, especially if Texas Tech gets on a roll early. If Bell tries to go throw-for-throw with Kliff Kingsbury‘s offense, Oklahoma doesn’t have a shot at keeping up. The Sooners must play to their strength to counter Tech’s high-powered passing offense by running the football effectively. That means more Bell-dozer and fewer seven-step drops.
Join Kris Hughes and Tyler Brett for even more analysis of the Oklahoma/Texas Tech matchup live on the Google + College Football Pregame Rant this Saturday at 10:00 am PST/1:00 EST live online! Join us!