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Oklahoma State Football

Cowboys Defenders Talk Stopping Sooners' Caleb Williams

November 24, 2021
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STILLWATER – It was the headline of the season in Norman for the Big 12 favorite Oklahoma Sooners. Head coach Lincoln Riley for the second season in a row in the “Red River Rivalry” benches starting quarterback Spencer Rattler and puts in a backup. In 2020 it was Tanner Mordecai for a series and then this season it was Caleb Williams and Rattler bever got back in. I projected it would happen. I know, the Oklahoma State guy or as Sooner fans would say, “that fat Aggie sideline reporter” voted for Caleb Williams in the summer as the All-Big 12 quarterback because I believed Rattler wasn’t the guy. He wasn’t.

Williams has been better, and his teammates believe in him, but he is a freshman and that is something that Riley and Oklahoma haven’t had to deal with. There are ups and downs. This Oklahoma team is different is multiple ways. There are more mistakes because as good and talented as Williams is there is a learning curve.

“He’s very explosive and some of the time he’s kind of sometime hard to take down,” described Cowboys leading tackle and linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez, who doesn’t seem have much of a problem tackling anybody. “He does a kind of spin move, little stiff arm, and he’s one of those kind that’s a big threat to make a big ol play and scramble pretty good.”

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Williams outside the pocket is a major threat.

“Definitely a trending theme in our league as far as a guy that is dual threat and can throw and run the ball and make big plays,” defensive tackle Brendon Evers said. “He has great vision, especially for his age. I think I saw where he has the third best QBR in the nation. He is definitely a kid that is not be taken lightly by any stretch of the imagination.”

Evers and Rodriguez hit on what is so absolutely true about Williams. He can run, really fast and really effective. Check out his numbers since taking over in the Texas game. These are the Pro Football Focus numbers and put next to the Oklahoma team numbers from those games, you can see there are games where Williams brings the OU numbers up and some where he doesn’t. It is that learning curve and the mistakes that come with youth.

Game OU Off. Grade Williams Off. Grade OU Pass Grade Williams Pass Grade OU Run Grade Williams Run Grade
Texas 79.0 91.0 73.8 79.0 88.4 91.1
TCU 93.8 95.0 94.7 94.7 77.3 74.4
Kansas 73.9 77.9 67.3 67.3 72.1 77.4
Texas Tech 89.2 93.7 92.9 93.9 73.6 62.7
Baylor 63.0 52.6 54.6 47.8 71.2 62.7
Iowa State 71.4 65.6 55.7 55.3 81.6 72.7

You can see Williams is up and down. The numbers from PFF illustrate it well.

When Rodriguez was pressed by the media this week to make a comparison with Williams to past OU quarterbacks he had faced, he faced an impossible task as the trio of Mayfield, Murray, and Hurts were all multi-year veterans. Williams is not, so Rodriguez did the only thing he could and went with the physical comparison, which was good.

“Probably a little like Jalen Hurts, you know not the fastest, you know not like Kyler Murray, that boy’s fast,” answered Rodriguez in comparing Williams to past Oklahoma quarterbacks he’s faced. “But he can make big plays out their kind of like Jalen Hurts.”

The difference is Williams doesn’t have that experience and that runs in line with what the veteran Cowboy defense that is ranked third overall in the country has faced. With Kansas’ Bean, TCU’s Morris, and Smith last week from Tech they have faced young, inexperienced dual threat quarterbacks and done very well in defending them.

Bruce Waterfield/OSU Athletics
Clements working with defensive end Tyler Lacy, another defender that helps with chasing quarterbacks.

“It definitely goes back to coaching and we have faced so many dual threats (quarterbacks) this season that it kind of becomes second nature,” Evers added. “You are (pass) rushing knowing that there is a draw or a scramble coming at any moment. Especially this last week that quarterback from Texas Tech (Donovan Smith) was very fast. We were able to contain him really well, but not comparing the two because I think Caleb is a special talent in this league for a while or wherever they go, I guess. Coach (Joe Bob) Clements and coach (Greg) Rich(mond) do a great job of preparing us for these kinds of quarterback and I think the narrative will be the same on Saturday.

Williams is the most talented the Cowboys have seen, but this defense should be prepared for this challenge.

Discussion from...

Cowboys Defenders Talk Stopping Sooners' Caleb Williams

809 Views | 3 Replies | Last: 9 days ago by CaliforniaCowboy
CaliforniaCowboy
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HEY Robert...... (or any of you smart Pokes that are tuned in to the goons)

Last year's Bedlam you warned us about the return of RB Stephenson from injury, personally, I was very skeptical that he would make much difference in their rushing attack, but boy were you spot on.

Stephenson was the difference maker for the goons in Bedlam last year (and their defense)


Is Williams your "look out for" pick this Bedlam game? From the article is sort of sounds like that - or is their somebody else on their roster that could make a difference for them in this game?

Thanks
Orangeheart72
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Not RA, but Williams running ability is my concern......along with our OL's and Jalen's health.
CaliforniaCowboy
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Orangeheart72 said:

Not RA, but Williams running ability is my concern......along with our OL's and Jalen's health.
Definitely.

I have not heard specifically about Warren, but he did go back in the game last week. The announcers made it sound like he had the wind knocked out of him.

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