OU football focuses on Miami quarterback
Merrill Jones, The Oklahoma Daily
The feel-good story this year in college football is about the Miami Hurricanes quarterback Jacory Harris.
He has led the Hurricanes to a 2-1 record with wins over ranked opponents Florida State and Georgia Tech. Harris has been relatively untouched until last week’s loss to Virginia Tech.
With OU going on the road to Miami this week, the Sooners will have to find a way to get pressure on Harris if they want a chance to beat the Hurricanes Saturday.
The Sooners defense has been one of the top defenses in college football for the past couple of years, and this year is no different. The Sooners have held their last two opponents scoreless and have a swagger about them that is hard to deny.
The defense starts with the four linemen up front, and they will be tested when they face the equally impressive Miami Hurricanes offensive line, a line that has let Harris only be sacked four times in three games.
“It is going to be a real test for everybody,” said Brent Venables, OU defensive coordinator. “It’s the best line and best quarterback we have seen up to this point.”
The Sooners are coming off their bye week where they were able to rest and recover and were even able to watch the Hurricanes play against Virginia Tech last Saturday. In that game Virginia Tech was able to pressure Harris and sack him three times.
The Sooners will have to add on to the positives that Virginia Tech was able to force Harris out of his comfort zone. Still, Harris is also known for his running ability and the Sooners secondary will have to be on their toes if the linemen are able to generate pressure and force Harris out of the pocket.
“He is a passing quarterback who likes to scramble,” defensive tackle Adrian Taylor said. “He is very patient, but he can use his feet to extend the play.”
The Sooners will need another big game out of junior defensive end Jeremy Beal. In the Sooners last game against Tulsa Beal had three sacks and a forced fumble; this type of play is going to be a crucial key to the game against Miami. If Beal can generate pressure on the outside and force Harris to step up in the pocket it gives players like junior defensive tackle Gerald McCoy a very good chance to sack him.
“We have good guys across the board. They can’t just double one guy, and having good players at every position allows us a lot of one-on-ones,” said Chris Wilson,OU defensive ends coach. “Especially Jeremy, he does a lot on and off the line of scrimmage.”
It is simple – pressure Harris just like Virginia Tech and the Sooners have a stronger chance of winning even with a mediocre game from the offense, which could happen given that it might be Sam Bradford’s first game back from his shoulder injury or it could be back-up quarterback Landry Jones’ first true away game.
Regardless of the offensive play, if Harris has time in the pocket he could break down our secondary because of smart decision-making and his playmaking ability. The Sooners offense and defense must step up Saturday to continue this momentum that has carried the Sooners back into the top ten.