MIAMI, Fla. - It's been a few weeks since the Sooners and the Crimson Tide took the field to compete in a football game, and now some are wondering how that time away from the sport will affect each team.
During Friday's news conference, OU head coach Lincoln Riley and Alabama head coach Nick Saban were asked who benefited more from the time off.
"Hopefully Oklahoma's offense and defense," Riley said as laughter broke out.
I don't know, it's a good question. I mean, I don't really know what the answer is. I think at the end of the day, you've got your processes again that you go through to game plan like you do every week of the year. This is probably to me more similar to the first game of the year or maybe even after a bye week, just because you do have a little bit of extra time. It's not like you've got the entire month, with the early signing day," Riley added. "You've kind of got two weeks to roll on it, and hopefully you're able to get some guys healthy. Hopefully you're able to get a good feel for what your opponent does and again, what is your formula for winning and what do you need to do better than maybe you did in the previous game, and taking those next steps to continue to be the team that you feel like you can be. Yeah, it's a tough question. Like I said, you hope to just use the time the best you can and get all three sides as ready as possible."
"I think some of the things that we always are concerned about when we have a lot of time between games is I feel like skill guys always come back more quickly maybe than the big guys. They lose less and come back faster. It takes the big
guys a little longer. I'm talking about maybe the O-line, the D-line. I think tackling is always a big concern when players sort of get into a rhythm of the season and you're playing a game every week and then you don't play for a while. It's hard to simulate some of those things in practice like you'd like to. Pace of play in a game is always a concern because you're not used to that rhythm that you have when you're playing games every week. These are all issues that are the same for both teams that are always things that we try to prepare ourselves for as a part of our preparation for a bowl game so that they don't impact the outcome of the game," said Saban.