November 25, 2007

Offense dominates Bedlam Hot 11

It took 12 games but Oklahoma sent off a small group of seniors with its most dominating, and complete, performance of the season. Fans are always excited for the rivalry and emotion of Bedlam, but it was the players who seemed to be the most 'up' as the offense in particular came out and sent a message that they were going to be physical and break the will of a smaller Oklahoma State front seven. The Sooner defense failed to match that explosive start but got things going in the second half, see where everyone falls in this week's Sooner Hot 11!

11. Lewis Baker, Linebacker - Stats: 10 tackles (four solo).
Analysis: First off, congratulations to the latest winner of Oklahoma's most esteemed award, the Don Key. Secondly Baker was one of the most emotional Sooners prior to the game and as Bob Stoops would say carried that emotion into the game in a 'good way'. Baker struggled a bit early but played a huge role in Oklahoma's game-changing goal line stand and again features as prominently in pass defense as he does in the run defense. When the tied turned on Zac Robinson and Dantrell Savage Baker played a big part.Last Week: No. 9


10. Lendy Holmes, Safety - Stats: Eight tackles (five solo), one pass break-up.
Analysis: Quietly Holmes has been one of Oklahoma's most consistently efficient defenders. He isn't always making the big plays, like last week's interception return against Texas Tech, but always seems to have himself in the right spot and rarely leaves the Sooner defense hanging out to dry, which is pretty much the key responsibility of his position. The Oklahoma State passing offense never really got going on Saturday and Holmes was a big part of the reason why.Last Week: No. 4


9. Curtis Lofton, Linebacker - Stats: Eight tackles (four solo), two forced fumbles.
Analysis: Lofton is the only Sooner who I can say, regardless of opponent, location, or any other variable will find his way into the Hot 11. He simply is Oklahoma's most consistent defensive player since the departure of Rocky Calmus. On that note, congratulations to Lofton for breaking the former Butkus winner's school single-season tackle record and with two games left to play it stands to reason that Lofton may eclipse the mindboggling number of 150 tackles this season.Last Week: No. 6


8. Reggie Smith, Cornerback - Stats: Six tackles (four solo), one tackle for loss (one yard), and one quarterback hurry.
Analysis: With Missouri's high-powered passing attack it's clear that Oklahoma will need Smith to keep playing at the level he has been at in the past two weeks. In fairness, the absence of Adarius Bowman made it much easier on the Sooner secondary but Robinson's modest 105 yards passing was less than half of his season average. That stat is even more impressive when considering the Cowboys were deep in the hole in the second half and spent much of the time trying to get the aerial attack going.Last Week: No. 2


7. Duke Robinson, Offensive Guard - Stats: N /A.
Analysis: Honestly, you could give the entire offensive line a spot on the Hot 11 as the group, both as a unit and individually, played their best game of the season against a run defense that has been pretty solid through the year. Robinson isn't the only 'big ugly' on today's list but there is no question that his performance stood out from a group of stellar ones. Most notably Robinson did a better job of picking up his blocks while pulling than he has since late last season.Last Week: Unranked


6. D.J. Wolfe, Safety - Stats: Seven tackles (three solo), one fumble recovery (12-yard return).
Analysis: If Baker wasn't going to win the Key award, it should have been Wolfe. No other player has shown such a dedication to help the team over himself as Wolfe, who played games at running back, and started at both cornerback and safety in his career. In that vein Wolfe ended his career on Owen Field on a positive note helping the Sooners cap off one of the most memorable goal line stands in Sooner history by grabbing Robinson's fumble and returning it to the 12-yard line.Last Week: Unranked


5. Jeremy Beal. Defensive End - Stats: Five tackles (three solo), one tackle for loss (one yard), and one quarterback hurry.
Analysis: Beal's place on this list is a fitting one, just above the halfway mark of the Hot 11 is befitting of a player that seemed to find his feet just before half-time and started reacting much more appropriately to the Cowboys vaunted zone read play. As the game wore on he not only became a solid player but at times a dominating one. As the Cowboys went to more traditional formations and plays, Beal was allowed to show his pass rushing skill and routinely forced the ball from Robinson's hand or flushed him from the pocket.Last Week: Unranked



4. Joe Jon Finley, Tight End - Stats: Three catches for 38 yards and two touchdowns.
Analysis: In his senior year Finley has been the consummate team player watching his sophomore understudy, Jermaine Gresham, emerge as one of Oklahoma's brightest young stars. However, on his final game on Owen Field Finley took the spotlight for himself having perhaps his best day as a Sooner. The Sooners weren't as pass heavy yesterday as they have been through most of the season but didn't hesitate to give Finely the ball as the Cowboys started to cheat their linebackers closer to the line of scrimmage to slow down the overpowering ground game.Last Week: Unranked


3. Phil Loadholt, Offensive Tackle - Stats: N/A.
Analysis: Some have wondered if Loadholt might take his solid junior season to the NFL draft, but his best performance of the season should point to a return rather than a departure. On Saturday Loadholt showed what he is capable of, opening up massive holes and keeping Bradford from getting his jersey dirty. Loadholt on Saturday was a future top half of the first round pick, leaving now Loadholt is simply a first day draft pick. The difference is millions, kind of like the difference between Loadholt most of this season and yesterday.Last Week: Unranked


2. Sam Bradford, Quarterback - Stats: 11-for-15 for 150 yards and four touchdowns.
Analysis: Sam wasn't special, Sam didn't do anything that made you amazed that he was just a freshman. Well, he didn't do anything that you hadn't seen before. Plenty of freshmen would be caught up in yesterday's environment, particularly a freshman quarterback with a in-state understanding of the meaning of Bedlam. 'The Big Easy' just kept things rolling and didn't show any noticeable signs of rust from last week's concussion. If the Sooners can continue running like they did yesterday and Sam continues to play as he has most of the season, the Sooners have every reason to head to San Antonio quite confident.Last Week: Unranked


1. Allen Patrick, Running Back - Stats: 29 carries for 202 yards and two touchdowns along with one catch for an 11-yard touchdown.
Analysis: This was a foregone conclusion at half-time, a point in which Patrick already had 144-yards rushing. As most know by now Patrick has spent most of the season recovering from a devastating personal loss and spent his Senior day exorcising the demons of a senior year that has been, to date, something of a disappointment. If Patrick can keep the level of intensity he showed on Saturday there is no doubt that Missouri's front seven will have their hands full.Last Week: Unranked


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