We'll have to wait to see what Sooners are made of after easy test vs. Akron

BY foxsports • September 6, 2015

NORMAN, Okla. - It didn't show for much of the first half Saturday night at Owen Field, but we all knew it.

Oklahoma is just a lot better than Akron.

So, even fully armed with this knowledge before, during and after the Sooners finished off the Zips 41-3 in the season opener for both teams, it's hard to say with any real conviction how good this Oklahoma team is.

We can't say it, because we don't know. 

Sorry, Akron, your ability to be any sort of barometer to Oklahoma is insufficient. Let's see what Tennessee can do first.

We're going to have to wait until at least next week to find out about the Sooners because we really don't know if what we saw is really what the Sooners are all about or if what we saw was made possible by a generous grant from Akron to do as told – show up, shut it down and collect a check. 

K. Thanks. Bye.

Akron was so pathetic, pitching away a first half where the Sooners went nearly 20 game minutes without a touchdown, so it's probably a bit premature to say quarterback Baker Mayfield is on his way to New York for Heisman festivities. 

Mayfield set an Oklahoma season-opening record by throwing for 388 yards in his debut in the unveiling of new offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley's Air Raid passing game. It took about a half to get going, but it looked sufficient and efficient as Oklahoma found a way to wipe out Akron. Ten receivers caught passes. Joe Mixon dazzled in his debut. Lots went right. But we knew that was going to happen, right?

What we don't know is what's going to happen next week in Knoxville, Tenn., because Akron wasn't much interested in competing. The Zips took 70 plays to get their 226 yards.

A season ago, Oklahoma wound up 8-5 after heading into September as a favorite to make college football's Final Four. Instead the season unraveled with home losses before a season-ended bowl collapse. As much as anything, Akron was a chance to put some of that behind.

"Last year is gone," coach Bob Stoops said. "It has nothing to do with now."

Gone, maybe, but certainly not forgotten. Last year is still close enough to taste and to feel that Stoops first ditched a huge part of his offensive coaching staff in the offseason and then tossed his headset aside Saturday night. 

"I got to feel the pulse of the team a little better," Stoops said. "I didn't hear all the chatter." 

Now, Stoops was talking about his staff going over calls, signals and plays, but really, there's been chatter constantly since December when OU came undone in a home loss to Oklahoma State and then against Clemson in the Russell Athletic Bowl. And there will be plenty all week as the Sooners head to Tennessee.

Saturday against Akron was a first screening, a chance to get a peek into what Oklahoma is all about this year – whether they are closer to that 8-5 bunch of 2014 or edging toward the kind of team that was good enough to win a BCS Sugar Bowl against Alabama in 2013.

Hard to say what we saw, though. Akron provided a decent defensive line, but no interest in doing anything offensively other than running the clock. They completed just 6-of-26 passes for 88 yards, electing to run run sideways than play vertically, despite being behind throughout.

"It was good to get some points on the board and realize our potential," Mayfield said of the offense that put up 539 yards against Akron's defense. "It's (Tennessee) a good opportunity. It will be a big one for us to get on the big stage. We're still playing football. Just settle in and play your opponent."

Akron was the opponent Saturday, but that's about all the Zips were. There was a big stage here in Norman, too, but the performance was more community theater than Broadway.

"We need to make a big jump from now to next Saturday going to Tennessee," Stoops said. "Much as anything, need to start better."

The season started Saturday against Akron, but really it begins next week at Tennessee. Maybe then we'll learn a thing or two about Oklahoma.

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