OU-Arkansas State: The game according to Guerin

OU-Arkansas State: The game according to Guerin

Guerin Emig: If the opener is any indication, Brent Venables’ best offseason decision was hiring wide receiver coach Emmett Jones.

Guerin Emig

By Guerin Emig

| Sep 2, 2023, 5:23pm CDT

Guerin Emig

By Guerin Emig

Sep 2, 2023, 5:23pm CDT

NORMAN — In keeping with Sellout Crowd’s mission to reimagine Oklahoma sports coverage, here is something I’ve never done in 23 years covering the Sooners: presenting their game in something besides a column, game story or notebook.

I’ll still write the column, but now add “The game according to Guerin” beginning with OU’s opener against Arkansas State.
So here’s a different slant on the Sooners’ 73-0 dismantling of the Red Wolves, with analysis, quotes, highlights and maybe even a little humor mixed in

Reason to feel better about the past

We last left the Sooners breaking down in too many critical situations at the line of scrimmage, helping explain their 6-7 2022 record. It would have been a serious problem, and a source of major worry, for Arkansas State to come in and push OU backward. Not even close. The Sooners got pushes on both sides of the ball and converted all six of their third down attempts of four yards or less. OU went 11-of-14 on third down overall and was 9-of-10 at one point. Arkansas State went 2-of-12. That’s taking care of business regardless of the talent disparity. 

Oklahoma’s Drake Stoops (12) left the OU’s 73-0 victory over Arkansas State Saturday early, shortly after scoring a first-half touchdown. (BRYAN TERRY/THE OKLAHOMAN / USA TODAY NETWORK)

Reason to worry about the future

Injuries. Drake Stoops and Dasan McCullough left Saturday’s opener in the first quarter, Stoops clearly favoring his right shoulder. McCullough reportedly returned wearing a boot. That’s OU’s potential leading receiver and the Sooners’ most anticipated defensive newcomer in some doubt heading into what will be a fairer fight next week against SMU. 

Coach who can put up his feet and crack a beer

OU wide receivers coach Emmett Jones. Staff and players raved about the Sooners’ new staff addition all preseason. The performance of wideouts Stoops and Gavin Freeman (intermediate efficiency), Andrel Anthony and Nic Anderson (deeper threats), Jayen Gibson (two acrobatic catches) and Jaquaize Pettaway (OU’s leading receiver with 9 catches) did even more to boost Jones than those preseason plaudits. 

Coached headed straight back to the film room

You won’t find any on Brent Venables’ staff. The whole OU crew earned quality Saturday night time with family, friends and recruits. Arkansas State coach Butch Jones on the other hand? Oh dear. The Red Wolves shouldn’t have expected to win in Norman, but they were abysmal. That’s an indictment on their coaches ultimately. 

SportsCenter highlight

Take your pick between Gibson’s receptions.

 His first was a leaping grab with his back to the goal line, a catch that set up Tawee Walker’s 1-yard touchdown early in the second quarter. 

His second was a juggler in the back corner of the end zone midway through the third quarter, with a defender draped all over him, after more than half the stadium had emptied. Too bad. It was even better than the first. 

Oklahoma running back Tawee Walker (29). (BRYAN TERRY/THE OKLAHOMAN / USA TODAY NETWORK)

Name to remember

Tawee Walker. OU’s walk-on running back had 8 carries for 44 yards in his starting debut. More noticeable was his pair of 1-yard TD plunges. 

The Sooners need to feel better about two things: replacing Eric Gray, their decisive 1,000-yard rusher from last year, and being sturdier in short yardage. Walker looks to be a prime candidate to fill both needs.

Fitting that Walker wears No. 29. He runs a lot like Rhamondre Stevenson, the durable, dependable No. 29 from OU’s 2019 and ‘20 seasons. 

Perfectly put 

I like the hunger and the edge and the toughness we played with in all three phases.” – Venables.

The OU head coach knows bigger and better opponents await, beginning next Saturday against SMU. Still, all he can ask of his players is what he got from them in the season-opening cakewalk. 

Could you repeat that? 

“I used to be really nervous in high school. Today is the first day I’ve actually been pretty calm about a game.” — Jackson Arnold, OU’s 19-year-old freshman backup quarterback. 

No wonder the kid completed all 11 of his passes and accounted for two touchdowns in his college debut at Owen Field.

Share with your crowd
Guerin Emig is a columnist for the Sellout Crowd network. Read his work at selloutcrowd.com and guerinemig.com. Reach out with feedback and/or ideas at [email protected] or (918) 629-6229. Follow him on Twitter at @GuerinEmig and Instagram at @guerin.emig. .

The latest from Sellout Crowd

  • May 9, 2024; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA; The Oklahoma City Thunder bench watch the final minute of their game against the Dallas Mavericks during the second half of game two of the second round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at Paycom Center. Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

    Does OKC need more Aaron Wiggins?

  • May 9, 2024; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder fans cheer as their team scores against the Dallas Mavericks during the second quarter of game two of the second round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at Paycom Center. Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

    Thunder-Mavericks: Why these playoffs might spawn a new OKC rival

  • May 9, 2024; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) drives to the basket beside Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) during the second half of game two of the second round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at Paycom Center. Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

    OKC fans chanted ‘Luka sucks,’ but Doncic’s play said otherwise

  • Tailgating on The Grove on the Ole Miss campus in Oxford, Ms., on Saturday September 15, 2018.

Pre309

    OU’s move to the SEC: Listing the things to look foward to

  • Ireland travelblog: Farewell to the Emerald Isle, which keep Americans coming

The latest from Sellout Crowd

  • May 9, 2024; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA; The Oklahoma City Thunder bench watch the final minute of their game against the Dallas Mavericks during the second half of game two of the second round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at Paycom Center. Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

    Does OKC need more Aaron Wiggins?

  • May 9, 2024; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder fans cheer as their team scores against the Dallas Mavericks during the second quarter of game two of the second round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at Paycom Center. Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

    Thunder-Mavericks: Why these playoffs might spawn a new OKC rival

  • May 9, 2024; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) drives to the basket beside Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) during the second half of game two of the second round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at Paycom Center. Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

    OKC fans chanted ‘Luka sucks,’ but Doncic’s play said otherwise

  • Tailgating on The Grove on the Ole Miss campus in Oxford, Ms., on Saturday September 15, 2018.

Pre309

    OU’s move to the SEC: Listing the things to look foward to

  • Ireland travelblog: Farewell to the Emerald Isle, which keep Americans coming