Keep momentum going
Oklahoma’s defense enters the open date with momentum.
The No. 5 Sooners (3-0) only allowed 14 points each to South Dakota and UCLA as they begin preparations for the Sept. 28 game against Texas Tech.
“The biggest thing with a bye week is you tell these guys all the time that it’s not about your opponent, it’s about us. It’s our defense, it’s our reps, it’s our preparation for our performance each and every week,” defensive coordinator Alex Grinch said about his message to his unit. “Obviously, with all due respect to your opponent, the focus has to be on us … the opponent this week is called bye.”
OU held physical practices Monday and Tuesday, with Grinch saying that expectations don’t change in terms of how the Sooners practice.
“I think we’re becoming a good-to-borderline-great practice team,” Grinch said. “I say that, and the minute I say that, I cringe a little bit because I hate to oversell that. But again that’s one step to this thing. It’s been fun to go to practice with these guys. You earn the right to play well on Saturday. We’ll take every bit of work this week to get better.”
Drawing more attention
Wide receiver CeeDee Lamb often drew double-team coverage, including a safety over the top, during OU’s 48-14 victory at UCLA last weekend.
“It wasn’t really nothing new to me,” Lamb said about the Bruins’ defense against him. “I just looked it over and talked with (coach Lincoln) Riley. Just me and him.”
Lamb admitted that the first series were frustrating because of the coverage. He quickly adjusted.
“When you have a lot of playmakers on your team that can score and also do the things that you can do, you can’t do nothing but be grateful,” Lamb said. “A lot of people are just wishing to be in the position I’m in. I’m grateful and I’m just trying to put a win in the column.”
Lamb said he was prepared for different looks from defenses after seeing how opponents prepared for former teammates Dede Westbrook and Marquise Brown, who are now starring in the NFL.
“That’s kind of something I expected. But then again that is kind of something that will help me elevate my game,” Lamb said. “Just help me find different ways to get open, just different variations of coverages, understanding coverages and it’s just a learning (process). And I did kind of expect this going into this season.”
Lamb has nine catches for 229 yards this season. He only had two touches against UCLA, but the plays were a 39-yard touchdown reception and a 1-yard TD run.
Ronnie Perkins keeps tabs on big plays that fellow defensive end Jalen Redmond makes in games. If Redmond gets a sack, Perkins wants to match. It’s the same with tackles for loss.
“We try to one-up each other in a good way and turn it into a competition to see who can get the most sacks and the most (tackles for loss),” Perkins said. “I can say that about Neville (Gallimore), too. If he goes and gets a sack, I want to make a play, too.
“It can definitely turn into a friendly competition.”
Back on the field soon?
Running back T.J. Pledger had surgery for an arm injury prior to the start of the season. Asked about a return date for the redshirt sophomore, Riley said, “It’s a little open-ended right now. Kind of a week-to-week deal.”
“We’ll see how he progresses through the bye week,” he said. “I would say Texas Tech’s maybe a long shot, but we’re getting pretty close.”