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OU Football 2013 | Sooners vs. Cowboys | Film Study

One of those games that is pure bliss to review over and over.

Richard Rowe-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to those of you who probably forgot that Colorado even fields a football team. I wanted to provide Jordan with an outlet to post his final film study because I love these features and I wanted to read it and I'm sure many of you do too. I'm going to leave the comments open for now but we need to keep them solely about this story and the Bedlam game or I'll close them very quickly. Boomer Sooner, let's beat the hell out of Alabama. - Jon Woods

By Jordan Ecso

It's Bedlam, you don't need any intro.

* Very first play of the game and when you watch this on replay (I and many others pointed it out live) it makes the OSU fans whining about the hold call look even dumber than they were when it happened live.

The call is on Charlie Moore holding Zack Sanchez, but there are at least three other blatant holds that could have just as easily been called. Charles Tapper is held on the edge, Dom Alexander is held in the middle, and Frank Shannon is literally spun around by a hold as he's trying to get out and fill the lane Desmond Roland ultimately runs through.

They literally could not have made the decision any easier for the refs, which is REALLY saying something considering some of the calls we're about to see later.

* With all due respect to Ron Burgandy, OSU's Jeremy Smith is the one with two tickets to the gun show.

* This hold on Jordan Wade (who destroys his man) is just as blatant as the previous four already mentioned and yet somehow, despite taking place just feet from the official is not called.

It's so blatant in fact you can ever hear the tv broadcast pick up OU fans (I'm just assuming) in the crowd screaming for the hold call, as well as basically everyone on the OU sideline.

But, yeah, OSU fans the refs were what cost you the game.

* The Big 12 or whoever really needs to get a handle on this pick plays with wide receivers on the outside. On this early 3rd & 15 for OSU, they have a guy put his shoulder right into Sanchez's chest to free up Moore. It couldn't have been more of a basketball pick if they were on a court. That can't possibly be legal, regardless of it's OU or anyone else doing it.

* Man, the more he's run it the better Trevor Knight has become at pulling that ball out at the last second on the read option and completely baffling defenders. You're seeing guys routinely get completely turned around because they don't know who has the football.  Have to think if he can stay on the field, that kind of progression only continues and this offense becomes all the more effective.

* 1st Qtr, 12: 53 - 1st & 10 OU from the OSU 37. We can all have fun ripping Josh Heupel, but when he deserves credit I'm not going to hesitate to give it to him. And on this play, I absolutely love the little wrinkle they installed for this game with Sterling Shepard motioning into the backfield with both he and Knight running the option.

You can see OSU's Shaun Lewis, who is a very talented player, is not ready for this and does the exact opposite of what you're taught to do when defending the option, he hesitates. He gets completely hung out in space and Knight could actually keep it or pitch it and get yards, but here he decides to keep it and picks up an easy first down.

OU ran this a couple more times in the game and I hope it is something they continue to try and build off of for the bowl game and into next season.

* I don't want to waste a ton of time on it, but this offensive pass interference call on Brennan Clay was pretty stupid in my opinion. He clearly got the play mixed up and blocks the OSU defender instead of running the route Knight thought he'd run. But his "interference" had no effect on the play and in no way prevented the OSU defender from making a play on the ball. To me that's a flag you confer on and simply pick up as it's not really what I understand offensive pass interference to be.

* I know a lot of eyes were on Derek Farniok for his struggles at times and somewhat deservedly so (although I don't think he played as bad as some might claim), but from what I've seen so far it's Nila Kasitati at right guard who is really struggling. Which, to be fair, is somewhat to be expected as OSU has the best pair of defensive tackles in the league, but still he's been abused multiple times so far in the early going.

* OSU running right at Eric Striker quite a bit here in the first quarter and not surprisingly having a ton of success. Not sure why more teams don't do this. As we all know, it's a give and take with him being somewhat of a liability in the run game with the tradeoff of his ability to rush the passer.

* I think we can all agree that Alexander should have a very bright future as a linebacker at OU, but he needs to live in the weight room this spring/summer.

* If this doesn't warrant a penalty flag, I don't know what does.

* Just want to point something out on this play. I'm far from an expert on how to play the offensive line, but my assumption here is that many would see this play on its face and say "See, I told you Farniok isn't any good!" But I'm just not sure that's entirely fair, on this play.

If you focus towards the bottom of the screen where Farniok is lined up at left tackle, you can see OSU runs a version of a stunt with their down lineman and a linebacker. Actually it's not all that unlike running that pick play with your receivers I was addressing previously.

Anyway, my point here is that this looks like Farniok misses his block and maybe even misses it badly, but I'm not sure there is a left tackle in the country that could have made that block based on how things play out. If anything you have to credit OSU on a nicely timed call and well executed play. Or at least that's how I saw it.

* The Jalen Saunders punt return. What a thing of beauty.

Let's address the whiners again. First, while I do believe Alex Ross pushes OSU's first man down in the back it's really just a one handed push that, unless he's the Incredible Hulk, shouldn't knock the guy down. Which is why I think the refs didn't throw the flag. Generally when you see a block in the back called it's with a two-handed shove or a shoulder to the back.

The second block I assume they're whining about is one I believe from Ahmad Thomas (really hard to make out the number as it blurs across my screen). And while it happens very quickly, it truly does look to me like he got his head out in front so as to avoid the penalty.

Also, you have to love Jay Norvell getting vertical for the body bump (or whatever that's called) celebration.

* I don't know that anyone particularly cares, Keith Ford obviously didn't get any carries in the game but was back on specials teams.

* 2nd Qtr, 14:38 - 1st & 10 OSU from their 41. A couple of problems here for the OU defense.

The first of which being a young guy at linebacker (Alexander) just making a bad read and getting himself caught out of position.

The second being a really weak open field tackle attempt on the part of Gabe Lynn. Granted, there's a lot of space and Roland is no slouch, but still that's a tackle you simply have to make. Or at the very least slow him down and let the pursuit behind the play bring him down.

Ton of credit needs to go to Julian Wilson who is actually up on the line of scrimmage at the snap and is a good five yards behind Roland when he breaks into the open field, but still has enough speed to close that distance and track him down from behind. Which sets up . . .

* . . . the goal line stand.

Whether or not is was as a result of his missed tackle, Lynn makes a number of plays here to redeem himself. The first coming on second down and goal where he cuts inside a block and drills Roland at the line of scrimmage. Now you'd like to see him wrap up here instead of just throw a shoulder because even for as big a hit as it was, Roland still spins off it for a couple yards down to the one.

On third down, Tapper does just a superb job avoiding the cut block attempt, keeping his feet, and standing up a powerful Kye Staley stuffing him for no gain.

On fourth down, you simply have to credit great individual efforts from Lynn, Chuka Ndulue, and even Frank Shannon. Ndulue gets cut but fights his way back to his knees to hit Roland low, while Lynn comes flying in from the left to hit Roland in the midsection. Finally, Shannon comes in late to clean things up.

This was a huge momentum shift in OU's favor when it looked very much like another six points was inevitable for OSU with the Sooners struggles defending their run game.

* At the time, I almost fell off my couch when I saw Taylor McNamara check into the game.


* I will openly concede that OSU fans had a right to be angry about the non-call on Knight here in the second quarter at the 7:35 mark. He's under a bunch of pressure, tries to spin away from it but can't, then heaves the ball out of bounds. He is on the right hash mark, which is very much still in the pocket, and even though he gets the ball back past the line of scrimmage it should have been intentional grounding. Pretty easy call really, but these are Big 12 officials we're talking about.

* 2nd Qtr, 5:39 - 4th & 2 OU from the OSU 45. This is basically the same play from before, where they motion a receiver into the backfield and run this 2013 version of the triple option, but instead of Shepard this time they bring Saunders in motion.

Everything about this play is so clever and so perfect. You can lie and say you're not impressed that Heupel dialed it up at the perfect time. It's okay, we won't judge you.

* Some grown a** man type runs from Brennan Clay on this drive to close out the first half.

* See, now to me on this particular play . . .

. . . I feel like if Knight pulls the ball back and keeps it, he scores. I can't definitively say that because who knows what happens, but if you can see where Lowe (No. 8) is on the play and how he starts to cheat in initially. I think if Knight pulls that ball back out of Clay's belly that with his speed he could be the OSU defense to the corner of the end zone.

I could be wrong and Knight will get better with his reads the more they run this read option, just pointing something out I thought I saw.

* Two plays later I really don't understand the logic of calling a timeout to try and draw up a scoring play just before halftime and the play you go with (that Knight gets hurt on) is a drop back pass, from the pocket, with no play-action. It doesn't play to any of Knight's strengths.

Game tied 10-10 at the half.

* Just as confusing to me is the first play call coming out of the half with Kendal Thompson. In Heupel's defense, many have suggested that Thompson missed two underneath routes -- and he does, both Shepard and Saunders beat their man -- so my best guess is Thompson just got a little amped up and tried to make the big play. Not entirely sure what he thought he saw as Lacoltan Bester does not have a step on his man at all. Kevin Peterson for OSU has fantastic coverage and makes a good play to get his head around, find the ball, and come down with the interception.

* Incredibly weak pass interference call on Sanchez at the 13:38 mark early third quarter. There is some hand-fighting between both guys, but Sanchez gets his hands off before the ball is in the air AND the ball is at least five yards over Charlie Moore's head. Evidently the ball being uncatchable does not negate a PI flag in the minds of Big 12 officials. I'm sure you are stunned by this.

* On the Roland wheel route that makes it a 17-10 game, it looks to me like Alexander just loses him coming out of the backfield and doesn't recognize it until it's much too late for him to recover. Again, young kid with a lot of upside but he's going to make some mistakes like this at times.

* First of two insanely hideous spots from these officials on what should be OU first downs.

How this went to review and wasn't overturned I will never understand. And to make matters even worse, the announcer goes so far as to say something to the effect of "it's so hard to judge where to spot the ball." Is it? Is it really? What the frick is so hard about it? You have a video replay, the yellow line indicating where the first down should be, and Saunders with the ball lying, at worst, on said yellow line. I fail to see what is so hard about that. But that's just me with my two functioning eyeballs, what could I possibly know.

* Pretty easy to tell Thompson doesn't have the same number of reps as Knight in the read-option as he struggles the few times Heupel runs it on whether to hand it off or keep it himself. As I've said here a number of times, the only way to improve at this particular style of offense is to run it over and over and over again.

* 3rd Qtr, 4:56 - 2nd & 5 OSU from the OU 44. I heard the OSU color guy on KREF mention this play as one he thought played a key role in the game and I thought he made a really good point. Moore is matched up on Sanchez and runs a double move which he (Sanchez) bites on, as usual, but OU looks to be in a Cover 2 set here so fortunately he has help over the top from Gabe Lynn. There is a window there for Chelf to deliver the football, but it's one closing quickly with Lynn coming hard to either pick it off or separate Moore from the ball. It's a little bit of both and the ball falls incomplete.

On the very next play, Julian Wilson jumps an out route and picks off Chelf.

The play Lynn makes is a big one because if it's a completion, it puts OSU at a minimum into field goal range and maybe they even turn that into six points. So instead of a 20-10 game, or worse, OU takes over near midfield after Wilson's interception.

* Another absolutely fantastic and well-timed play call from Heupel with the double reverse.

And would you look at Thompson putting his shoulder in their to deliver the big block to spring Saunders.

* 3rd Qtr, 2:53 - 3rd & goal OU from the OSU 8. While it winds up an incompletion, this really is a hell of a play from Blake Bell.

He's almost immediately flushed from the pocket and is rolling out to his left, throws back across his body (a big no-no for any quarterback), and yet still manages to throw an absolutely perfect ball to Brannon Green in the back corner of the end zone.

Credit OSU's Lowe for recovering just in time to break up the pass, otherwise you're looking at an even prettier touchdown than the one that would eventually win the game. Oh, also saw a number of people say they thought Lowe's hit should have been a targeting penalty and I don't see that at all.

* The fake field goal.

I mean, what can I tell you that you don't already know? It's simply a thing of beauty.

* Sterling Shepard has been talking smack for virtually the entire game. And I freaking love it! Oklahoma kid who can appreciate what this game means, love that attitude. He's not being obnoxious about it, but every chance he gets he's letting the OSU defensive backs hear it.

* Honestly, as the game has gone on Farniok has played much better. It's only fair to point out just how little time he's actually seen in live action, so all things considered he could have played much worse.

* Actually, now watching it several more times, I don't think the second 'bad spot' on the part of the officials was as bad as I initially thought. In fact, I might even go so far as to say they got it right. Saunders' knee does hit earlier than I thought and I do believe where the ball is when that occurs is short of the first down.

* Man, talk about your fortunate bounces.

Credit Bell for maintaining his composure despite the bobble and recovering to find a wide open Shepard who quickly turns it up field for a big gain.

Still not sure why the refs picked up the flag as it was clearly sideline interference on the part of Eric Striker.

* Some incredibly poor play from OU's back seven as OSU repeatedly passes their way right down the field inside the OU ten yard line in a matter of mere minutes.

That scoring drive seemed so easy after the OU defense had played so well that is just seemed like OSU was gonna get this one.

* Then Blake Bell went legendary.

Just an absolute dart to Shepard. Hell of a throw.

The non-interception. For all the good that both Heupel and Bell did in this game, this is both a terrible play-call and throw on the part of each, respectively. The fade route, a play that has not worked once this year, against OSU's best corner and a likely 1st round NFL Draft pick? Never mind just how bad of a throw it is on the part of Bell. Nothing about this play made any sense and OU was incredibly fortunate that Bester was able to help break it up to prevent the Gilbert interception.

Then a clutch throw from Bell on 3rd and 10 as he starts to scramble to avoid pressure, but then finds Saunders at the last second for a first down with Bell just barely getting rid of the ball before he crosses the line of scrimmage.

It's a play that likely gets forgotten, but this dump off pass just before the touchdown throw was a key play as Clay not only skips his way past the first down marker but also ducks out of bounds. Very smart play by your senior running back.

All leading up to this . . .

Don't sleep how that throw from Bell. That's not an easy pass to make, but he hits Saunders in stride and gives him just enough space/time to get not just one but both feet in-bounds.



I want to extend my extreme gratitude and thanks to Jon for providing a forum in which people can still enjoy what had become a popular feature on CCM. It's an incredibly cool and unnecessary move on his part, but he's a stand up guy and someone I consider to be a true friend.

I also want to mention again I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Crimson and Cream Machine and I encourage every one to continue visiting the site. I never viewed things there as about me or any particular individual so much as it was about a community of people who could come together out of their affinity for the University of Oklahoma.

And while I appreciate the support many have vocalized, I would never want to deprive anyone from enjoying an opportunity to read about and/or discuss our beloved Sooners.

If you're still interested in reading my work, you can find it on The Football Brainiacs along with the quality work of a number of former football players who provide their unique insight on a number of topics.