Oklahoma vs Tulane Preview
This may be the most anticipated college football season in recent history. It seems everyone is ready to get back to full stadiums and a near-normal college football season. By this time teams are tired of practice and hitting each other. To be sure teams are ready to unleash on an opponent. With this being said, due to mother nature in South Louisiana, this game almost didn’t happen. Be that as it may, let us dive into the Oklahoma vs Tulane preview.
The Green Wave has traditionally been an offensive-minded team. As an illustration, in 2020 Tulane averaged 34.7 points a game while allowing 28.1. As a result, Tulane finished the 2020 campaign with a 6-6 record. Despite an average record and poor defense, the Green Wave has been to three consecutive bowl games.
You know what you’re getting with the Tulane offense. Head coach Willie Fritz likes to run the ball. The Green Wave led the AAC in rushing in 2020. But this year they’re likely going to try opening it up a little more under new offensive coordinator Chip Long. The offensive line struggled in pass protection and in particular keeping defenses out of the backfield. This doesn’t bode well facing an Oklahoma defense with a strong defensive line.
While the Green Wave defense did allow 28 points a game, they excelled at getting behind the line. They cranked up 101 tackles for loss and 37 sacks – finishing sixth and 13th in the nation, respectively, and led the AAC in both – but now the top linemen have to be replaced.
The Sooners are coming off a sixth consecutive Big 12 championship and a Cotton bowl thumping of Florida. Furthermore, Oklahoma looks ready to challenge for an eighth national championship. Unlike previous seasons the Sooners are equally strong on both sides of the ball.
The Sooner offense appears set for a championship run. Oklahoma finished the 2020 season as the top offense in the Big 12. Heisman trophy front runner Spencer Rattler is poised for a stellar season.
Over the final seven games, Rattler tossed 15 touchdowns with just two interceptions. Overall, he finished with 3,031 yards and 28 TDs and was voted Big 12 Newcomer of the Year.
Running back Kennedy Brooks returns after opting out a year ago, then considering a jump to the NFL. It’s a good thing, too, with Oklahoma lacking other proven options. In addition to Brooks, Tennessee transfer Eric Gray should carry a lion’s share of the running game. The running game may be the only area of concern for the Sooners. Oklahoma is limited to two scholarship backs due to transfers and ineligibility.
The receiving group is loaded with talent. Marvin Mims figures to have a prominent role after leading the team with 37 receptions. Mike Woods, an Arkansas transfer presents a proven premium option. Not to mention Jadon Haselwood is back after missing much of last season to injury. The Sooners are set at tight end with Austin Stogner and Brayden Willis. Although there is plenty of talent, there will be a little shuffling to do on the offensive line. Starters Tyrese Robinson, Marquis Hayes, and Erik Swenson return. Anton Harrison is coming off a standout freshman year. Wanya Morris, another Tennessee transfer, should step in at left tackle.
LaRon Stokes, Perrion Winfrey, and Isaiah Thomas are leaders on a dominant defensive front. Linebacker Nik Bonitto, a second-team AP All-American, dominates off the edge. Bonitto totaled 10.5 tackles for loss, eight sacks and 10 quarterback hurries. Joining Bonitto is a solid linebacker group that includes David Ugwoegbu and Brian Asamoah. The Sooners also return Caleb Kelly from injuries that limited him to just four games the past two seasons.
Delarrin Turner-Yell and Pat Fields are veteran safeties who ranked second and third, respectively, in tackles a year ago.
The Sooners need to solidify the cornerback spots. D.J. Graham and Woodi Washington and are the favorites to win jobs. Jaden Davis has starting experience and is also in the mix. Don’t be surprised to see incoming freshman Billy Bowman starting at one corner or at least the nickel position by mid-season.
Depth is a strength in the Sooner secondary. Defensive Coordinator Alex Grinch wants competition in order for this defense to thrive.
The Last Word
To sum up, it has been over a decade since the focus has been on defense at Oklahoma. Although this may be true the Sooners have a top 10 national offense. Not to mention stellar offense and defense Oklahoma has excellent special team play. All things considered; this does not bode well for a successful visit to Norman for the Tulane Green Wave.