Bowl Season

BCS vs. BCS Glendale, Ariz.
U. of Phoenix Stadium
Jan. 1
8:30 p.m.
Matt Hofeld, of was nice enough to answer some questions about the Sooners.

BS: The Sooners finished 11-2 with a Big 12 championship. However, the Oklahoma has lost 5 straight BCS games. Why do the Sooners struggle so much in BCS games, and what can they do to change that this year?

Matt Hofeld: Part of the problem is that three of those losses came to the best teams in the nation as Oklahoma was playing in the BCS championship game. The other two losses came in the Fiesta Bowl against Boise State and West Virginia, both of which are unexplainable but not as unreasonable as you'd think.

We could throw out talking points like injuries, suspensions and academics issues that always seem to plague the Sooners when they play in BCS games but that would really just be making excuses and I'd rather not go down that road. The truth is, Oklahoma needed to make changes in the way they prepare for bowl games and hopefully what we saw last year in last year's Sun Bowl victory over Stanford was the beginning of that.

BS: The offense has really gotten going towards the end of the season. Talk about the 4th ranked passing game led by QB Landry Jones and the versatility of RB DeMarco Murray.

Matt Hofeld: The offense has really been going all season long. Oklahoma's primary struggles have been on defense. The emergence of freshman receive Kenny Stills in the passing game as a deep threat has been huge for Landry Jones in that it gives him a solid compliment to All American receiver Ryan Broyles.

Tight end James Hanna and senior receiver Cameron Kenney also made some huge plays against Oklahoma State to put the Sooners in the Big 12 Championship and then against Nebraska to win the title. However, the catalysts of this offense is DeMarco Murray. He leads the team in rushing (1,090 yards/14 TDs) and is third in receiving (595 yards/5 TDs). He's also averaging 24.9 yards per return on kickoffs. His versatility allows him to line up at tailback on one play and in the slot on the next and be equally as dangerous from both spots.  
BS: The defense had their problems at times, but looked dominant in the second half of the Big 12 championship against a running team Nebraska. How can they continue their success against a running team Connecticut and who are the key players?

Matt Hofeld: I think the key is going to be keeping the Huskies one dimensional like the Sooners did against Nebraska. Against one dimensional offenses Brent Venables' defenses have thrived. The key is going to be Oklahoma's corners providing lock down coverage in a man scheme which will allow the Sooners to load the box against Jordan Todman. That would allow Oklahoma's defensive line to occupy blockers while linebackers Travis Lewis, Austin Box and Ronnell Lewis fill gaps and hopefully stuff the run.

BS: If you could choose one player to have a breakout performance in the bowl game, who would it be?

Matt Hofeld: Last year it was linebacker Ronnell Lewis who had the breakout performance in Oklahoma's bowl game and this year I think it'll be tight end James Hanna. He's had some clutch catches this season but has yet to establish himself as a vital part of the Sooner offensive attack like his predecessor Jermaine Gresham was. I'm predicting he starts that on January 1st.

Thanks a lot to Matt. Check him out at

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