Soon­ers work to fine-tune fourth down

PAY-PER-VIEW IN­FOR­MA­TION

The Oklahoman - - SPORTS - Brooke Pryor bpryor@ oklahoman.com

•Broad­cast crew: Bren­dan Burke (play-by-play), Dave An­der­son (color), Chris­tian Steckel (side­line)

•How to watch on­line: The game can be pur­chased through your cable provider, Ap­pleTV, Roku, Soon­erS­ports.TV or the Soon­erS­port­s2Go app. It will cost $54.99 to pur­chase it through Soon­erS­ports, and it is not in­cluded in other Soon­erS­ports.tv pack­ages. •How to watch on TV: Cox, chan­nel 503/505 HD/661 SD, and can be pur­chased from set-top boxes or by call­ing Cox.

DirecTV, chan­nel 787

Dish, chan­nel 461

AT&T U-Verse, chan­nel 1636 HD/636 SD

More providers will be added to Soon­erS­ports.com as they are fi­nal­ized through­out the game week.

NOR­MAN — At Big 12 Me­dia Days nearly two months ago, Lin­coln Ri­ley jok­ingly — or maybe not so jok­ingly — said the best part about be­ing a head coach was get­ting to make the fourth-down de­ci­sions.

It seemed like the of­fen­sive whiz might gam­ble a bit more of­ten than his pre­de­ces­sor.

Sure enough, through two games, Ri­ley has at­tempted to con­vert five fourth-downs.

But the Soon­ers have been suc­cess­ful just once.

“We’ve been in a bunch of sit­u­a­tions in these games early where we’re right there at the 35- or 40-yard line,” Ri­ley said. “It’s a lit­tle too close to punt it or you are talk­ing about a re­ally, re­ally long field goal.

“Most of them have been early in games. We had one in the other game where we were just run­ning out the clock, which skews it a lit­tle bit. We’ve had a cou­ple of things called where ei­ther we didn’t make the play or it was a bad call by me. We have to do bet­ter there.”

Against UTEP, Baker May­field was sacked for a loss of 10 yards in the first quar­ter, at­tempt­ing to con­vert a fourth-and-3 just 32 yards away from the end zone.

Then, in the fourth quar­ter, walk-on Na­jee Bis­soon was stopped at fourth-and-5 from UTEP’s 26-yard line.

In Colum­bus, Ohio, the Soon­ers’ first pos­ses­sion ended on Ohio State’s 36-yard line as May­field’s deep pass to fresh­man CeeDee Lamb fell in­com­plete. Later in the same quar­ter, May­field again tried to covert a fourth down with a deep pass, this one to Mark An­drews in the end zone. The pass sailed over An­drews’ head, but the Soon­ers were bailed out by a pass in­ter­fer­ence call.

“I think for me it’s about do­ing my job,” May­field said. “You have to treat it like any other down, just get the ball out my hands and into the play­mak­ers’ hands and give them an op­por­tu­nity.

“There’s cer­tain things, sit­u­a­tion­ally, on fourth down that are dif­fer­ent than oth­ers. I think for me, it’s about get­ting the ball in their hands. I need to be bet­ter at that. I’ll treat it a lit­tle dif­fer­ently when I get the op­por­tu­nity again.”

It wasn’t un­til the fourth quar­ter that OU fi­nally con­verted its first fourth down of the sea­son as fresh­man run­ning back Trey Ser­mon picked up four yards on a fourth-and-3, but the drive ended a cou­ple plays later when May­field’s pass on fourth-and-8 to Dim­itri Flow­ers only picked up a yard. But like Bis­soon’s failed con­ver­sion, that play didn’t mat­ter too much with the Soon­ers ahead 31-16 with a 1:23 left in the game.

Film re­veals ar­eas that need im­prove­ment

OU’s win against Ohio State cer­tainly looked im­pres­sive in real time on Satur­day night.

But af­ter re­view­ing the film, Ri­ley found more than a cou­ple ar­eas that needed im­me­di­ate at­ten­tion.

“The film al­ways tells a dif­fer­ent story,” Ri­ley said. “Ev­ery­body, when they left the game, you’d think we’d played the most per­fect foot­ball game in the his­tory of or­ga­nized foot­ball. When you turn on the film, you see it was way, way, way, far from that. There’s a lot to get bet­ter at.

“They re­al­ize that we have a lot of sea­son left. We’re not even to con­fer­ence play yet. But we’ll see Satur­day how we re­spond.”

Fobbs re­turns to fa­mil­iar ter­ri­tory

Don’t be too sur­prised if one face looks fa­mil­iar on Tu­lane’s side­line Satur­day af­ter­noon.

The Green Wave’s run­ning backs coach, Ja­maal Fobbs, is plenty fa­mil­iar with the Soon­ers as a for­mer Ok­la­homa State run­ning back, earn­ing All-Big 12 honors as se­nior in 2000 as an all-pur­pose player.

Fobbs joined Tu­lane’s staff when head coach Wil­lie Fritz was hired be­fore last sea­son. Be­fore that, Fobbs was at Lib­erty, Ten­nessee, North Carolina A&T, Southestern Louisiana, LSU and Chat­tanooga.

Ex­tra point

OU will host the first stop on the Dol­lar Gen­eral Big 12 Cham­pi­onship Tail­gate Tour this week­end. It will be set up in the Sooner Fast Fest along Jenk­ins Av­enue and Page Street from 1-4:30 p.m. For­mer OU line­backer Ru­fus Alexan­der and de­fen­sive back/ punt re­turner An­to­nio Perkins will be there along with chef Ashely Davis of Big­guns BBQ.

[PHOTO BY NATE BILLINGS, THE OKLAHOMAN]

Lin­coln Ri­ley hasn’t con­verted many fourth downs yet, but it’s some­thing the team is work­ing on ahead of fac­ing Tu­lane on Satur­day.

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