Oklahoma-Cincinnati Preview

Here’s how concerned Oklahoma is about giving up 351 yards

rushing in a win against Air Force: The Sooners are going to

pretend it didn’t happen.

After any other game, defensive coordinator Brent Venables would

go back through the game film and assess how his players performed

and look for areas of concern that need to be addressed.

Not this time.

”We’re not even grading this tape,” Venables said. ”It

doesn’t do us any good, so we’re going right on down the

road.”

Indeed, the eighth-ranked Sooners (3-0) will hit the road for

the first time this season to face Cincinnati (1-2) on Saturday

night. Like most other teams in college football, the Bearcats run

an offense that’s nothing like Air Force’s attack that incorporates

the triple option, all kinds of chop-blocking and pretty much any

way imaginable to run the football.

The Falcons came in leading the nation with 423 yards rushing

per game and left with the highest rushing total ever against Bob

Stoops’ Sooners, surpassing by two yards the amount West Virginia

accumulated in a Fiesta Bowl blowout in January 2008.

But if Cincinnati or other future opponents don’t figure to come

after Oklahoma the same way, why waste time revisiting the

past?

”With a team like that and with an offense like that, we’re

never going to see that again,” linebacker Travis Lewis said.

”So, it’s not like teams can watch this film and be like, `Oh, OK,

we’re going to put up 300 yards rushing on Oklahoma.’ It doesn’t

happen like that.

”This is one team where a lot of players have never seen this

kind of offense before and you’ve got a week to prepare for it, and

it’s tough.”

Lewis, a defensive captain, said he was going to ”take a

mulligan” on the Sooners’ performance against the run and not

dwell on it too long.

”Tough team. Tough game. Got the victory. Move on,” he

said.

Venables blamed Air Force’s success running right up the gut on

unique blocking schemes and not on poor play by the Sooners’

interior linemen.

Some of the Falcons’ biggest plays came on the perimeter after

they lined up with a wide receiver between a fullback and tailback

in an I formation. Receiver Jonathan Warzeka had a 39-yard gain on

Air Force’s first play from scrimmage, and quarterback Tim

Jefferson scored on a 38-yard option keeper out of that look.

”If we held them to 30 yards, it doesn’t matter,” Venables

said. ”We already knew that going in. This is just a game that’s

on the schedule, we’ve got to try to find a way to win it and go on

down the road.”

”We won the game,” he added. ”That’s the biggest thing you

take out of it, and that’s about it.”

After ranking fourth in the nation in scoring and going

undefeated through the regular season last year, Cincinnati has

struggled after losing quarterback Tony Pike and receiver Mardy

Gilyard to the NFL draft and receiver Vidal Hazelton to a

season-ending knee injury in Week 1.

The Bearcats are scoring about two touchdowns less per game and

have allowed more sacks than any team in the nation.

The trip still presents a challenge for the Sooners, who have

won 33 straight home games but lost five of their last seven games

away from Owen Field. This game will technically be at a neutral

site at the Bengals’ Paul Brown Stadium.

”We’ve just got to come out and play Oklahoma football. In the

past, we haven’t been a good road team, but that’s the past,”

defensive end Jeremy Beal said.

”This is a new team, and I think we’re going to do well on the

road.”