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Midseason Q&A with Kegan Reneau

Get a free look at the first VIP chat hosted by our expert Kegan Reneau. Subscribe to Sooners360 to read more!

Each and every week, our data expert Kegan Reneau will join the VIP board for two exclusive chats for VIP members to talk the Sooners, OU’s opponents, and the stats behind the box score. Kegan will be breaking down the X’s and O’s, diving into advanced analytics, and reviewing some All-22 film so we can dive deep into the game and answer your questions about what has happened and what is expected to happen.

In a preview of what is to come, here is a FREE look behind the curtain at our very first VIP chat hosted by Kegan from yesterday.

3 or 4 down for you? Who would be your starting 11 on defense? I’m not a film guy…I am either in the stadium or in the recliner watching live and never do any rewatches. But to me it seems like lebby is determined to work towards the end zone by going side line to side line or laterally. Am I an idiot, or am I right? If I’m right then what’s he doing?

4-down alignment: They do not have the size or strength to win at the point of attack with < 300 LBS defensive tackles and < 280 LBS defensive ends in an odd front. Add in the depth you have at defensive tackle, the least it does for you is make life tough to run in between the tackles.

The veer-and-shoot is built to stretch you wide and then attack north-and-south. I’ve been super impressed with Lebby. My video tomorrow is on the offense.

Piggy backing on Burt – what’s the sweet spot with this defense? Is it 4-3-4 or 3-3-5? I’m guessing it’s based on matchups week-to-week but even running a 4 down front last week I feel like our DL just couldn’t get consistent pressure. Even though I do think it was better than weeks previous but to your point, Kansas’ OL isn’t a world beater. What’s your opinion? Do we run the 4-3 and expose the secondary a bit more or do we run a 3-3-5 and risk letting the opposing QB have all day to find windows? It seems like such a fine line with the type of players we have.

I do not think it depends on matchups. The personnel they have is built for the even front. The sacks will eventually start showing up because the pressure out of the 4-man (when they aren’t dropping 8 into coverage) is adequate enough for this year. The run defense is better out of it. It’s a no-brainer until they have the horses up front.

Could you take a look at OU’s run blocking schemes? I often hear the terminology, but not having played, don’t really understand what it means I.e. split zone etc. I’d really like to better understand what they’re trying to do. I just joined so if this has already happened just point me in the right direction.

An introduction to Jeff Lebby’s run game that I made at my stop prior:

Final score predictions for the remainder of the season if DG is healthy

  • Iowa State: 37-27
  • Baylor: 34-31
  • West Virginia: 45-31
  • Oklahoma State: 48-45
  • Texas Tech: 41-34

Oklahoma should be favored in every game down the stretch pending what happens in Ames this weekend. This doesn’t mean I think Oklahoma is going 5-0 down the stretch here, just using my power ratings and other advanced statistics.

What is the starting 11 you are rolling out vs ISU based off previous play and trying to finish the season out strong?

Starting 11 on defense—

DL: Grimes, Redmond, Coe, Downs
ILB: White, Stutsman
DB: Colden, Kanak, Robert Spears-Jennings, Lawrence, Washington

Have you seen anything in the film to explain Gray taking off? seeing the holes better? doing a better job at making a man miss? blocking better?

It’s his vision and understanding of the run schemes. That’s all that was missing from his game. He’s starting to become a complete back. I think DeMarco gets credit.

What makes BV’s defense so effective, when ran with appropriate personnel? Why is it tough to be effective with the current roster, when comparing other rosters with more competent defense, at this point?

The amount of disruption the DL causes in the run game and in pass-rush makes life easier for everyone.

When Venables was hired and I started to study his defense, I sent a text to someone I respect:

“You gotta give BV credit, he figured out if you have the best players he can have the best defense”

It’s tough for the current roster because:

1) They do not have the safeties capable of defending the run
2) They do not have the linebackers capable of defending the run
3) They do not have elite DL across the board

BV has brought up players missing basic things, especially when being in Zone Coverage.

Can you describe some of the zone concepts OU has deployed on defense, compared to last year, and where those struggles may stem from in coverage?

The thing with Grinch is that the defense wasn’t “simple” but it was simple for each position. They would have one or two responsibilities. At corner, it was either bail into Cover 3 or quarters or press man. Venables is going to ask these guys to play press man, he’s going to ask them to bail, he’s going to ask them to play palms (man to 10-yards, zone defender against the flats), he’s going to ask them to play quarters and Cover 4. There’s just more in the playbook for the roster to learn and understand.

Oklahoma has played some of the most zone coverage in the country. The problem is Venables doesn’t have a front-6 that can generate what he had at Clemson and the more time the offense to drop back, the more time there is to beat zone coverage. My biggest complaint is not necessarily the coverages themselves, but the lack of trust in the players to tighten the zone coverage up and be more aggressive.

What stats do you like to use the most? Give an example, please.

Success rates and EPA… I can break all this down in a post.

There is too much information regarding their correlation to team success. Though I have complaints about success rate, those two alone capture more context regarding how a team performed against any other stat out there.

I cite SP+ and beta_rank only:

  1. The way SP+ is built, it maintains preseason and historic priors throughout the season so we know it should always find the mean eventually
  2. Beta_rank is built on only in-season data, allowing us to see how a team is performing on only a year-by-year basis

As always, data is about allowing you to make your own conclusions. I look at both of those to get a good sense of where the betting markets will evaluate a team.

You can follow Kegan on Twitter here. Subscribe to his YouTube channel here. Kegan will continue providing his video breakdowns on YouTube in addition to his work on Sooners360.

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