Three keys to a bounce back victory for Oklahoma when they take on TCU

For the first time in his very short coaching career, Brent Venables will be tasked with rallying his troops on the heels of a loss.

This Oklahoma team hasn’t reached its full potential, and that’s okay for a football team at the end of September.

However, as they get deeper into conference play, they’ll have to evolve and find a new gear to tap into.

Otherwise, any chance of playing in the Big 12 Championship game could wind up off the table.

The first opponent they’ll see as they try to evolve after a loss is the TCU Horned Frogs.

Last year in Norman, Oklahoma dominated TCU’s defense and put up 52 points en route to a 52-31 win.

TCU no longer employs long-time head coach Gary Patterson, who helped the Horned Frogs to 11 bowl victories in 21 seasons.

New head coach Sonny Dykes has the Horned Frogs off to a 3-0 start. They come into the game feeling great after beating their Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex rival SMU.

It won’t be easy for Oklahoma on Saturday afternoon. TCU has looked pretty solid for the most part.

For a team that comes in with a defense carrying a bruised ego after the rushing clinic the Wildcats put on,

Oklahoma will likely see the opposite end of that this week when they take on a TCU team with the 27th-ranked passing offense in the country.

Here are three keys to a Sooners win on Saturday.

Set the tone early Aside from week one against UTEP, Oklahoma hasn’t had many fast starts this season. Every other game has seen them give up the opening touchdown, or the Sooners won’t score at all on their opening drive.

Set the tone early Against Nebraska, they took a body blow with the early touchdown and then found another gear. They ran off 49 unanswered points in a dominating win.

Set the tone early Last week, Kansas State smacked Oklahoma in the mouth early and went up 14-0 quickly. Can Oklahoma get out to an early lead, or at the very least just stymie TCU early?

Set the tone early Either would go a long way in flushing any lingering doubts after their previous performance.

Let it fly TCU may have a nice passing attack led by quarterback Max Duggan, but their secondary can also be diced up via the passing game. Their defense ranks 107th in passing yards allowed, with teams averaging 12.77 yards per completion vs. TCU.

Let it fly Sooners’ offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby’s identity leads with the run game, but this may be a time to let Dillon Gabriel sling it around the yard. Gabriel has some missed throws, which didn’t help OU’s efforts against Kansas State He’ll be looking for a big opportunity to atone for the mistakes he made.

Let it fly Theo Wease, Marvin Mims, Jalil Farooq, Brayden Willis, and Drake Stoops are the primary playmakers for this Sooners team in the passing game. All five could be huge factors against TCU.

Find the pass rush After a forgettable performance against a strong, veteran Kansas State offensive line, Brent Venables will have to call on his defensive line and his linebackers to generate pressure much more effectively than they did against K-State.

Find the pass rush Duggan hasn’t thrown a pick yet this season but do the Sooners have enough in their bag to generate pressure to heat up Duggan, make him uncomfortable and potentially force him into his first interception?

Find the pass rush Duggan’s been sacked seven times this season, including five against SMU. This could be a good week for the Oklahoma Sooners’ pass rush.

Find the pass rush If the front seven puts together the performance they had in the game against the Wildcats, Oklahoma may get picked worse than a high school biology experiment.

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