Austin Kendall doesn’t figure to play this Saturday when No. 14 Oklahoma (1-1) hosts No. 3 Ohio State (2-0), but he sure does like his team’s chances of winning. Kendall called Ohio State’s defense “basic” and said that Baker Mayfield is going to “light them up” this weekend.
Will these comments have any impact on the game?
“No, (they won’t),” Fox Sports college football analyst Joel Klatt said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “It’s better for us as bulletin-board material. Even the Ohio State players are going to be like, ‘Oh, man, dumb freshman.’ It’s not like it’s Baker Mayfield himself, which then, I think, could provide some extra level of focus, even though I always shy away from that because you should always be 100 percent focused. But I think this is going to be kind of a joke inside the locker room than anything else.”
Kendall is just two games into his college career – and he proved it with those comments.
“What he doesn’t understand is Ohio State hasn’t had to do anything deep into their defensive playbook because they’ve played Bowling Green and Tulsa and held them to essentially no yards,” Klatt said. “They’ve given up no touchdowns. They’re not a basic defense. They’re very aggressive. They’ve gotten seven interceptions, which leads the country. They’ve scored three touchdowns and haven’t given up one. I get it. He’s confident, he’s got his buddy, (he thinks) his boy, Baker Mayfield, is going to light them up. But somebody don’t let that kid do an interview. I’m certain that he won’t do anymore moving forward.”
Oklahoma lost its season-opener, 33-23, to Houston – a game in which Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine had just six carries apiece. Klatt believes the Sooners must commit to their power running game going forward and that Baker Mayfield needs to make smarter, more conventional decisions with the football.
“He can be a little Manziel-like in that he loves to play outside of the structure of the offense,” Klatt said. “So at times, he (will hold the ball even when he sees an open receiver). Sometimes he’s wide open and he kind of holds it (and looks around) to see (what else he can get). I grew up in an offense where you never go broke taking a profit. If he’s open, he gets the ball. So it’s odd for me to watch a guy like that play because he’s always looking for something bigger.”
Ohio State, meanwhile, will lean on J.T. Barrett, Curtis Samuel and a ball-hawking defense in what could be a playoff preview. Win or lose, a night game in Norman will be good for an Ohio State squad loaded with talent but light on experience.
Just how good of an atmosphere is Norman on game day?
“It’s hard to know because when I played here, I just heard Boomer Sooner about 50,000 times because we couldn’t stop them,” said Klatt, who played quarterback at Colorado in the early 2000s. “It’s a very difficult environment to play in. I know that it’s not one of the 100,000-seat (venues), but they are passionate and they love Oklahoma football here. It’s packed and it’s loud and it’s one of the better environments in all of college football. I’m very excited to be here. This game has been anticipated for years now, and it’s already palpable (from both fan bases). I’m like, ‘Guys, it’s Thursday.’ This is crazy, but there’s already a little electricity in the air. That’s something that you can’t recreate just anywhere or with any other matchup.”