By Zach Duncan
Saturday, June 12, 2010

It isn’t often that chain-moving, time-draining drives decide the outcome of the Oil Bowl.

With all the offensive talent spreading the field and the short amount of time defenses have to prepare, coverage breakdowns are likely.

So today’s winner of the 73rd Oil Bowl could be determined by whoever is able to capitalize on those mistakes.  Texas enters the 7:30 p.m. contest at Memorial Stadium with a 44-18-1 record against its northern neighbor.

“Mistakes happen a little bit more in a game like this than they would in the fall, so I think it’s imperative we don’t allow Oklahoma any big plays and make them try to drive the football,” Texas coach Blake Feldt (Pilot Point) said.  “I don’t think there’s going to be a lot of nine- or 10-play drives that go the length of the field.”

Feldt had several options to choose from at quarterback this week, and three will take snaps tonight.  Allen’s Tucker Carter will start the game, while Jacksboro’s Kole Weldon and Lake Highlands’ Ricky Zorn will rotate in.

Blake Smith, who rushed for 1,878 yards and 27 touchdowns at Burleson, will get carries in the spread offense, as will explosive Wylie tailback Nick Knott and Wichita Falls High’s Eddie Aboussie.  Texas’ tp receivers are Keller’s Dillon Farley and Plano East’s Denzelle White.

Oklahoma coach Brad Farrow of Broken Arrow would rather be able to churn out first downs than depend on the big play.

“If we can get a drive going, that’s exactly what we want,” Farrow said.  “First it gasses the defense because the kids aren’t in shape for this.  If you sustain a drive, it will be dangerous for the other team.”

Farrow will rotate quaterbacks Trevon Hartfield (Watonga) and Jack Cameron (Bishop Kelly), although he’s unsure who will start.  Both of those are dual-threat signal-callers, but Farrow noted that Hartfield is the better runner and Cameron has the stronger arm.

Edmond North tailback Joe Aska, and receiversDonovanDan and Chris McjAlister (Del City) and Ronnie Price (Broken Arrow) are Oklahoma’s biggest offensive weapons.  Both defenses believe they have the personnel to keep this Oil Bowl from becoming a shootout.

One of Texas’ strengths is at defensive tackle, where Alvarado’s Brent Bridgewater and Burkburnett’s Lorenzo Barnes reside.  DeSota corners Traun Roberson, Vinvent Eddie Jr. and Coppell safety Nic Johnston will lead the secondary.

Oklahoma has a strong linebacker core of Kale Sawatzky (Weatherford), Ethan Biddy (Tuttle) and Jerico Rogers (Davis).  Cornerbacks Markell Walker (Carl Albert) and Nelson Medeiros II (Edmond Memorial) will be vital to stopping Texas’ aerial attack.

“We think we have a decent team,” Farrow said.  “It looks like we can match up size-wise.  We think we’re pretty athletic, but I guess we’ll find out.”

Oklahoma has won the all-star game three times since the turn of the millennium, including a 17-16 victory in 2008 (last year’s game was canceled).  But it hasn’t won back-to-back Oil Bowls since 1998-1999.

Oklahoma has lots of really good football players over there,” Feldt said.  “We’ve snuck a peek over at their field from time to time, and there’s no doubt it’s going to be a good game Saturday.  Hopefully, we can get Texas back into the win column.”