Alabama Football: ‘Bama Hammer’ goes behind the lines on the Sooners


With the help of counterparts in Norman, Bama Hammer goes behind the lines for Alabama football versus the Oklahoma Sooners.

Alabama football fans want to learn as much as possible about the Oklahoma Sooners. Bama Hammer is glad to help by presenting some expert opinion from our counterparts, Chip Rouse and Christopher Dukes at  Stormin in Norman.

For any interested Crimson Tide fans, we did the same for the guys in Norman. Our observations are scheduled to be published on Thursday.

The question most on the minds of Alabama football fans is the injury recovery status of dynamic Sooners’ receiver Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown. Brown sustained an injury to his lower leg against Texas in the Big 12 Championship game. Marquise injured the same left leg earlier in the season against TCU. Brown is the leading receiver for Oklahoma with over 1.300 yards on the season.

What we learned about Brown,

"Lincoln Riley and the OU coaching staff are being very quiet about “Hollywood” Brown’s status for the College Football Playoff game with Alabama. His availability will be very important for the Sooners. I believe he will do everything he can to play in the game, but I would rate his health status at 70-80 percent at best."

The Sooners need Brown but Oklahoma has another explosive receiver. CeeDee Lamb has over 1,000 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns.

Our guys in Norman reminded us the Sooners’ offense is not all passing or Kyler Murray’s legs. The Sooners have a pair of running backs who have excelled in replacing Rodney Anderson.

"Trey Sermon and Kennedy Brooks have carried the running back duties for the Sooners. Both are right at 1,000 yards rushing for OU’s 11th-ranked rushing offense (averaging 254 yards per game). The Sooner run game plays a big role in unleashing OU’s Air Raid passing game."

We were particularly interested in more insight into the much-maligned Oklahoma defense.

"The OU defense is definitely the Sooners’ Achilles heel. The strength lies in the linebacker corps and defensive ends. That group has been responsible for the majority of the big plays made by the Sooner “D” this season."

As we wrote a few days ago, we are not convinced the mid-season change in defensive coordinators from Mike Stoops to Ruffin McNeil made much improvement in the Oklahoma defense. Our Oklahoma guys said,

"The main thing Ruffin McNeill did in taking over for Mike Stoops is simplify the defensive play calls and assignments to cut down players being out of position and slow to react. /the defense played very well immediately after the coordinator changeover, but then took some steps backward for several games before coming up with big defensive plays in the final two games with the Big 12 championship on the line."

The other point made by the guys from Norman is the confidence felt by Sooners fans and players. Among Oklahoma fans, there is respect for the Alabama football program. Still, they compare the upcoming game to the one last season against Georgia. If for no other reason than Kyler Murray, Oklahoma fans know the Sooners can score on anyone, including an Alabama football defense.

Our cohorts in Oklahoma surprised us with a game prediction that cannot be qualified as a shootout.

"The game will ultimately come down to defensive stops and turnovers and whether the suspect Sooner defense can get enough stops on “D” to outscore the Crimson Tide.The game will be close for a while, but Alabama will gain separation late but not cover, winning 42-30."

All of us Alabama football fans would love such an outcome. Holding the mighty Sooners offense to 30 points would be a sensational performance by the Alabama Crimson Tide defense. Much thanks to our Oklahoma counterparts for providing us with such valuable insight.

Next. What happens if Tua is injured in Orange Bowl. dark

Alabama football fans, Bama Hammer is doing our game predictions differently for the Playoff. Instead of combining shorter summaries in a multi-page slideshow, we will publish each one as a stand-alone post, starting with the first one Wednesday night and continuing with the others on Thursday and Friday.