To help us get ready for this weekend's matchup with the Oklahoma Sooners, Matt from SB Nation's Crimson and Cream Machine was kind enough to answer some questions about the Sooners. I did the same for him, so check out CCM for my answers. Also, I joined their podcast last night to talk K-State, so check that out too.
BOTC: As an outsider, I'm curious about Oklahoma's health coming into this game. It didn't help that the Sooners didn't have several key players against Texas Tech. Who will be back and who's still out?
CCM: We're pretty sure that starting middle linebacker Tom Wort and defensive tackle Casey Walker will be back. They for sure will be needed against the KSU rushing attack. Boundary corner Jamell Fleming most likely won't be back which is a huge concern because his replacement, Gabe Lynn, was torched last week.
On the offensive side of the ball starting Ben Habern could be back but it isn't likely. Leading rusher Dominique Whaley was out last week with the flu and should be close to being back to 100% this week.
BOTC: Landry Jones is still putting up big numbers, but his completion percentage and yards-per-attempt have been below his average in the last two games. What's been his problem from your perspective?
CCM: Part of the problem last week was dropped passes. Oklahoma's receivers dropped at least eight passes that I can remember which would have brought his completion percentage back up to nearly 70% which is a lot more acceptable. The other part of the problem has either been bad throws or bad decisions.
Jones seems to be throwing high and has missed some open targets at crucial moments of the game. I don't fault him as much for that as I do the bad decisions because I know that there just isn't a quarterback out there that makes every throw. However, the bad decisions is something that he still struggles with but is also outgrowing. He has a tendency to not go all the way through his progressions under pressure and force a throw that's just not there.
BOTC: I've noticed a lot of frustration with the Oklahoma coaching staff this week. What is the primary issue that can be addressed during the season to get OU back on track?
CCM: I wrote a post on this Wednesday basically saying that there are five things Stoops needs to do to pick his team up after the Texas Tech loss. I think the two keys ones are coaching with reckless abandon and not being gentile.
What I mean by that is bring out the riverboat gambler persona and taking as many chances and risks as needed. He's got nothing to lose and possibly everything to gain by it. I believe that this is a year when a one loss team will play for the BCS championship. For there to be any chance of that team being Oklahoma then the Sooners have to earn some "style points" with a few crushing wins, even if that means running up the score.
BOTC: As K-State fans, we're naturally curious about our former coaches. In particular, I look at a guy like Brent Venables and wonder "why has that guy never had a chance to be a head coach?" Any theories?
CCM: I think the consensus is that Venables is happy to be where he is. He makes good money as the DC at one of the country's premier programs and has the ability to bide his time and wait for just the right opportunity to move on.
Another "knock" against him has been his age. He's just now 41 and reaching what should be the prime of his coaching career. I think until now he was viewed as somewhat of a risk higher simply because of his youth.
On a side note...We really thought he was heading to Kansas State before the Ron Prince hire.
BOTC: What do you expect out of Oklahoma on Saturday? Do the Sooners bounce back and start a late-season run Saturday, or can K-State make it two in a row?
CCM: As an Oklahoma fan I gotta say that the Sooners bounce back, right? Last week was the perfect storm for OU. They lacked focus, had a ton of injuries and were playing a team with a massive chip on their shoulder.
The injuries may still be there to an extent but I'm banking on the focus to also be there this go around. I don't think that this makes the game easy for Oklahoma though. The Sooners have certainly made a believer out of me. I've got OU winning 34-28 in a slug fest.