Oh! You Wanted a Sooners Football Article: Predictionsby Liz Pendergraft August 15, 2022 0 comments
It is time once more for Oklahoma Sooners football to arrive. We are less than a month away from the opening game against UTEP, and we can’t be more excited. The Brent Venables era will officially kick off, and we will all be along for the ride. Venables and the players have a lot to prove to themselves, fans, and teams around the nation.
Venables has already left an indelible mark on the program since arriving, changing the culture and way of thinking. Although it might take a year or two to see the fruits of his labor, there is no doubt that Oklahoma football will be back in a big way. But will it be restored to its former glory? Well, nothing can ever truly be the same; however, it can always be bigger and better.
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What to Look For This Season
The offense has not been too much of a worry the past few years, but concerns about the defense have certainly been abundant. So, in addition to a tuned-up offense, we are expecting to see a new and improved defense. A defense that should be able to keep opponents from making the games as close as they have been in the past few seasons. Will it work? Yes. Will it take time? Certainly.
Also, look for more teamwork on the field. Oklahoma has always had a single player to stand out each season, some more than others. While there is no doubt one or more players will step up to fill that role of visibility and fame on the field, do not forget it takes a team to win. As a result, there will be more of a “we” instead of an “I” feeling in the air and on the field.
No season would be complete without nail-biters. The Sooners have had at least one game give fans ulcers each season. Do not doubt for a second this year will be any different. Last season the other teams could smell the blood in the water as Oklahoma appeared to be done for. However, they have stitched up the wounds, and there is no blood in the water now. What was once the hunted has now become the hunter once more.
Three Games to Watch
It is always good to see our old nemesis from the memorable 1980s. Although they are not quite the Nebraska of old, they are still a formidable foe. The Sooners will be going to see the Cornhuskers in the third game of the season. Although the Sooners have a winning record of 46-38-3, they can never let their guard down against Nebraska. This game is also the last one before the conference games start. How Oklahoma performs in this game will have a lingering effect on the rest of the season.
While Texas Christian has not been too much of a thorn in the side of the Sooners, it will be interesting to note how well Oklahoma plays in this game. It is possible they might hand Oklahoma their first loss of the season if the Sooners are not focused. Why would the Sooners not be focused? They play Texas the following week.
While other Texas teams have dropped a little, Baylor continues to grow and find their place among the top teams in the Big 12. They have given the Sooners problems, but Oklahoma has a 27-4 record against them. Baylor beat the Sooners last year and went on to secure the Big 12 Championship, so there is no doubt the Sooners will be taking this game very seriously.
Three Players to Keep an Eye On
Gabriel will be the starting quarterback, barring any injuries. He has the experience, although he has spent the past three seasons at UCF. It will be good that offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby, who was at UCF with Gabriel, is here at Oklahoma now. He was a proven winner in his three years at UCF, which will need to translate to the Big 12. There will be a lot of pressure and high expectations placed on him, and if he can handle it, then the Sooners will be all the better for it.
While there is no shortage of running backs on the roster for the Sooners, there is no doubt that Gray is the most experienced one heading into the 2022 season. Last season in rushing, he had 78 carries for 412 yards with two touchdowns and caught 23 passes for 229 yards and two touchdowns. Gray also had four kick returns for 72 yards. While there was a difference between his numbers when he was at Tennessee versus last season as a Sooner, he will be utilized more this season and have his explosiveness on full display.
The cornerback started last year but missed seven games due to injury. In the six games he played, he had 27 tackles, two interceptions for 32 yards, and a few pass breakups. In the Alamo Bowl against Oregon, he had a season-high seven tackles. Washington has a chance to finally have a break-out season, which would have happened last year, had he not been sidelined by the injury. He is one of Oklahoma’s best defensemen, and it will be exciting to see him grow as a player and leader.
Three Bold Predictions
The Sooners Will Go 11-1
The loss isn’t going to be to Texas or Oklahoma State. Several teams will give Oklahoma problems during the season; however, they will be able to overcome them. Of course, there is always going to be that one team they either flat out lose to or lose by a margin of a few points.
The Longhorns Will Beat the Sooners This Season
Blasphemy, you scream. However, think about it for a moment. Oklahoma is on a four-game win streak against them, but as we know, all good things must come to an end. At least for a moment. Texas is looking to bring that golden hat back home, and they will do it this time.
The Sooners Will Win the Big 12 Championship
Yes, you heard it here. The Sooners will take back what is rightfully theirs and bring it home to Norman. Oklahoma will ascend back to the throne of greatness atop the Big 12.
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