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In A Word . . . Explosive

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On Thursday night, I asked Butch Jones to describe the 8th-ranked Oklahoma Sooners in one word.

 

"Explosive," Jones said.  "They are an extremely explosive football team and very deserving of their Top 10 ranking.  Every Monday I watch about seven different games to see what teams are doing and they're the best team I've seen on film.  They have weapons everywhere."

 

And few coaches use their weapons as well as Oklahoma's Bob Stoops.  When Butch Jones was an assistant at West Virginia, the Mountaineers' coaching staff spent several days at Oklahoma one off-season studying the Sooners offensive system.

 

"The big thing that stood out was their tempo on offense," Jones said.  "They're going to test you.  They played an Air Force team that controlled the ball last week and they still managed to run 80 plays on offense.  That's a lot of plays.  The other big thing is the way they distribute the ball to their playmakers."

 

Oklahoma has a running back averaging 123 yards in DeMarco Murray, and a wide receiver averaging 127 yards in Ryan Broyles.  Quarterback Landry Jones is only a sophomore, but he threw 26 touchdowns passes last year when he was pressed into service due to a shoulder injury suffered by 2008 Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford. 

 

"The lead scout for the St. Louis Rams was in my office two days ago and he said he had never seen a quarterback that had as much poise, arm strength, and ability as Sam Bradford," Jones said.  "Then they bring in Landry Jones and they don't miss a beat."

 

The Bearcats, on the other hand, have skipped a beat on offense this year - largely due to their inability to protect Zach Collaros who has been sacked 15 times.

 

"The problems on the offensive line are very fixable," Jones told me.  "We have to have some individuals step up.  Football is a game of winning your one-on-one matchups and we've done some different things schematically to try to help them.  They're a very prideful group and they made strides against NC State.  I expect them to make great strides again this week.  They've come every day with a workmanlike mentality and our team has really supported them.  Our inconsistency on offense is not because of the line - it's a combination of a lot of little things."

 

Cincinnati will not have tight end Ben Guidugli this week due to an ankle injury, but running back Isaiah Pead is back to full strength.

 

"We have to do a great job of getting Isaiah the ball in space," Jones said.  "He's a very explosive player and does a great job of making the first tackler miss.  He's had a good week of practice and I'm excited to watch him play on Saturday night."

 

As I mentioned in my last column, when Butch Jones replaced Brian Kelly at Central Michigan in 2007, the Chippewas got off to a slow start before rallying to win a MAC Championship.  Jones says he's sees several parallels in his first year at Cincinnati, and expects the Bearcats to turn things around too. 

 

"I like our players, I like their work ethic, and it's our job to keep demanding what we expect on a daily basis," Jones said.  "We are not wavering in what we believe in, and we're not panicking, we're just going to keep doing what we're doing and getting better.  We've been through this before and proved that we can do it."

 

* * * * *

 

Here are a couple of nuggets from Thursday's practice at Paul Brown Stadium.

 

Look for true freshman Roney Lozano to make his debut on the defensive line against Oklahoma.  The starting front four of Brandon Mills, Derek Wolfe, John Hughes, and Dan Giordano is simply playing too many snaps.  The coaches have decided to give up Lozano's redshirt year to add him to the rotation.

 

And while it might not happen this week, don't be surprised to see freshman quarterback Munchie Legaux line up at wide receiver in the near future.  The Bearcats are thin at the position due to the season-ending injury to Vidal Hazelton and the ineligibility of Kenbrell Thompkins and Dyjuan Lewis, so Legaux volunteered to switch positions.  He could give the Bearcats another big target at 6'5".

 

This week's game captains are Dan Giordano, Alex Hoffman, and Tom De Temple.

 

The endzones will still say "Bengals" on Saturday, but Paul Brown Stadium will have a UC look this week.

 

UC look at PBS.jpg 

It should look great on TV.

 

Finally, due to a conflict with the Reds game on Saturday, our radio broadcast will be heard locally on 102.7 FM WEBN.  It can also be heard on Sirius 126 and XM 203.

 

I'd love to hear from you.  Please take a moment to tell me who you are and where you're from in the comments section or you can e-mail me at dhoard@pawsox.com.

 

And if you Twitter, you can follow my tweets at http://twitter.com/Dan_Hoard

 

Enjoy this week's photo of the handsome lad. 

 

Sam rounds third.jpg    

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