OU football coach Lincoln Riley knows why Sooners own third quarter: 'Really good pregame and halftime speeches'
OU has been a fast-starting team all year.
After jumping out to a 21-7 lead last week in the win over Oklahoma State, the Sooners have outscored opponents 124-17 in the first quarter this season.
But during its current five-game winning streak, OU is also dominating the third quarter.
The Sooners haven’t allowed a point in the third quarter during the streak, outscoring opponents 41-0. OU has allowed just 148 yards of total offense — 3.2 per play — in the third quarter during that streak, including just 1.8 yards per rush.
“I actually think it’s just really good pregame and halftime speeches,” Sooners coach Lincoln Riley joked.
But, turning serious, Riley said he and his staff revamped halftime procedures a couple years ago and that has helped.
“I’m not going into all the details, and not anything earth-shattering, but a little bit different approach there with just how we schedule it and all that,” Riley said. “It’s gone well. And being able to get out and start halves quickly is a big part of playing great football and certainly helped us, especially with this latest streak going on.”
Brown: Perkins ‘like a strike of lightning’
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After the Bedlam win, OU defensive end Ronnie Perkins was unequivocal in his assessment of the Sooners’ defense.
“We the best defense in the Big 12,” Perkins said. “That’s all.”
This week, cornerback Tre Brown agreed with Perkins’ statement, and said Perkins’ return from suspension is a big reason why.
“He’s a force,” Brown said. “Just to have the whole defense back as a group and him being the leader he is and see him making plays and being like a strike of lightning, we all just feed off of that and keeps everybody going.”
Half of Perkins’ 13 tackles have gone for a loss, with 3.5 sacks. He’s already — even with missing five games — third on the team in sacks behind only Nik Bonitto and Isaiah Thomas.
Freshman cornerback D.J. Graham’s playing time has expanded in recent weeks.
But when Graham was being recruited out of Fort Worth’s Keller Central, he was primarily being recruited as a wide receiver.
Riley said there was no major convincing that had to be done to get Graham on the defensive side.
“We knew that either way it played out, he was going to have a chance to help our program and help our team,” Riley said. “I don’t know that it was ever convincing. We just continually had talks with D.J. and his family as the recruitment process went on. Even after he decided to come to OU we had those talks.”
The Sooners had a more pressing need in the secondary.
“He had a good skill set for both, but it centered around where we thought he had a chance to make an impact quickest,” Riley said. “You’re seeing some of that talent start to show up on the field because of confidence, being able to stay on the practice field improving, and he’s played aggressive in games.”