Oklahoma has a clear test ahead of it named Kenneth Dixon.
“Really a great player,” Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. “He’s powerful, strong, … makes people miss him, run through arm tackles, really a good player.”
Bulldogs’ running back Dixon isn’t a giant at 5-foot-10, but his 212-pound frame will be a lot to handle. He has more than 2,000 yards in the past two seasons and 31 touchdowns.
With a running back like that, Louisiana Tech can be dangerous if the offensive line can create holes and keep the Sooner’s front three stars out of the backfield.
“He’s a pretty big guy but size doesn’t matter to me,” safety Hatari Byrd said. “I’m just trying to go out there and play ball.”
Oklahoma safety Ahmad Thomas said that he’s seen a bunch of screens on film, meaning the secondary will have to be ready to spread out sideline-to-sideline. One wrong move and Dixon, who averaged more than six yards per carry in his career, could have a gashing hole.
“We have been able to stay healthy and those guys have been able to get a lot of work done together,” Louisiana Tech coach Skip Holtz said of the offensive line. “I think that has been invaluable.”
Holtz is in his second year with the program after successful stints at South Florida and East Carolina. Bulldogs’ defensive coordinator Manny Diaz, who coached at Texas, will be coaching in his first game at Louisiana Tech.
A talented running back that can keep the ball away from Oklahoma’s defense and a talented coaching staff could be a recipe for a big scare for the Sooners. “You can’t overlook any opponent because you can go out there Saturday and get beat at any time,” Oklahoma cornerback Julian Wilson said. “We have to go out there Saturday with the same focus we had against Alabama.” Louisiana Tech decided on Cody Sokol, a transfer from Iowa, as its quarterback but Stoops said that preparing for either quarterback didn’t make a difference because the two were so similar.
Holtz had the same opinion.
“The two quarterbacks we have are very equal from their talent sets and what they can do,” Holtz said. If we had made the decision to maybe take an athletic quarterback, then maybe I would get into a two quarterback system. I am not trying to do that right now.
“I think it is important for this team offensively with all the unknowns that we identify a quarterback to be our quarterback going into this season.”