Setting the stage: OU at KU
OU wide receiver Jalen Saunders
OU wide receiver Jalen Saunders
Sooners Illustrated
Posted Oct 18, 2013


Coming off its first loss of the season, how will OU bounce back this week at Kansas?

SoonersIllustrated.com is going to set the stage every week breaking down Oklahoma’s game during the 2013 season.

No. 18 OU (5-1, 2-1) at Kansas (2-3, 0-2)

When: 2:30 p.m. CST

OU’s biggest question going into the game

Will the little things get corrected? Heard it repeatedly from quarterback Blake Bell and coaches Bob Stoops, Jay Norvell and Josh Heupel that the Sooners were this close to executing the way they needed to against Texas.

A lot of extra time was spent with Bell and his wide receivers this week in trying to improve the passing game, which was a disaster against the Longhorns.

“We’re just going to keep working,” Norvell said. “Those kids played really hard last week. They did a great job of blocking the perimeter. Sometimes that effort doesn’t correlate to production in the passing game, but it’s got to start producing production in the passing game.”

Norvell said he was pleased with the efforts of receivers like Sterling Shepard and Jalen Saunders despite the limited amount of touches.

Heupel said Bell has to do a better job of going through his progressions and keeping his poise in the pocket, but he said the staff has not lost any faith in Bell at this point.

KU’s biggest question going into the game

How is the new look KU offense going to impact things? KU coach Charlie Weis announced earlier this week he was going to stop being so hands on when it comes to the offensive game planning. Weis had been spending a lot of time in that area the first five games of the season.

Now he’s switching the responsibilities to quarterbacks coach Ron Powlus for the passing game and tight ends coach Jeff Blasko will oversee the run game. Weis will continue to call the plays.

“It’s going to be more guys getting to interject ways of how can we improve the offense,” Weis said. “I felt like I had to back off a little bit, or we weren’t going to get any better.

“I’m doing it because I think Kansas football needs it. I don’t care about my ego.”

However it breaks down you can be assured running back James Sims is going to be a huge part of KU’s plan Saturday. With the Sooners unable to stop the run against Texas, the Jayhawks will make OU prove they can stop it.

Sims has rushed for 390 yards with two touchdowns and is averaging more than 17 carries per game. KU has only scored more than 20 points once this season.

Quotable

“I’ve talked to our guys about playing this week against Kansas. Everybody wants to project the end of year and we’ve been doing it for the last couple of weeks and you can’t do it. All we can do is be as prepared as we can be and as good as we can be for Kansas and that’s it. And then take it the following week.”– OU coach Bob Stoops on team’s mindset

Breakout player

It wasn’t the best game for Aaron Colvin against Texas so we’re going to move to somebody who is desperate to make an impact. The last couple of weeks have been rough for wide receiver Jalen Saunders, who might be remembered more for his body language after Blake Bell’s second interception more than anything else right now. Saunders and Bell get their issues solved and connect for more than five grabs and a touchdown.

Prediction

OU 30, KU 17. The Jayhawk defense is much improved, but KU is still struggling to score points. The Sooners won’t have any trouble moving it down the field but will stumble once in the red zone, giving Michael Hunnicutt chances to come through as usual. Eventually the OU offense finds its footing in the second half and puts this one away to give OU its first road conference win of the season.



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