It has been one of the most tumultuous off-seasons in Oklahoma football history. From Lincoln Riley’s departure, to the resignation of Cale Gundy, there has been no shortage of chaos. In spite of this, Oklahoma remains one of the most talented teams in the Big 12, and in a year where it seems like the conference is anybody’s game, they have a great opportunity to make a playoff push. If they can go 12-1 with a conference championship, they can absolutely make the playoffs. Now with it being year one under Brent Venables, a lot would have to go their way. However, anything is possible, and when you’re a team like Oklahoma, you always have a shot at a national title. Here’s what we think needs to happen for the Sooners to win it all in 2022.
Dillon Gabriel Must Stay Healthy
First thing’s first, your QB has to stay healthy. It’s one of the few positions where there isn’t much depth right now. Davis Beville should serve as a solid backup, but he’s not a guy that can go out and win big games for you. Dillon Gabriel will have to stay healthy if OU wants to take a shot at a national title. He has great talent around him, and with him having prior experience with Jeff Lebby, Gabriel should have a great year.
Offensive Line Has to Play Well as a Unit
Another thing that Oklahoma needs to succeed is good offensive line play. The last three or so years, the big boys up front have been rather underwhelming to say the least. Rather than pushing people around, they were the ones being pushed around. They’re going to have to play physical football, as well as play as a unit. They will have to pick up blitzes correctly, and draw less penalties. Discipline has definitely been an issue up front, with countless holding calls, unnecessary roughness penalties, and false starts. Under Brent Venables, I expect the group to cut their penalty yards in half.
The defense has been a weakness for OU for quite some time now. It appeared that Alex Grinch was taking steps in the right direction, before taking multiple steps back last year and ultimately finishing at number 60 in total defense in 2021. The Sooners have struggled to force turnovers in the past, often allowing teams to drive down the field, and dominate the time of possession. This held Oklahoma to less than 10 possessions in a game at times. That cannot happen this year. The defense has to play well, and force turnovers to get off the field quickly, and give the offense good field position. Under Coach Venables, expect a big uptick in turnovers, and a large decrease in points allowed.
This season is quite possibly one of the most anticipated seasons that I’ve been around to see. Even if Oklahoma can’t win it all this year, it should still be a wild ride. The Big 12 is wide open, and all in all, it’s shaping up to be an incredible year of college football. Boomer!