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What happened during OU's lack of clock management in Bedlam?

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Jeff Lebby embraces Dillon Gabriel after Bedlam win

Oklahoma offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby, shown hugging quarterback Dillon Gabriel after Saturday’s Bedlam win, is looking for vast improvement heading into the regular-season finale.

NORMAN — Oklahoma fans probably didn’t know how much to celebrate last Saturday’s Bedlam victory.

Balancing the joy of a 28-13 victory over Oklahoma State versus watching a second half filled with offensive struggles could have been a struggle.

OU offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby understands the questions after the team went scoreless with only one completion, two first downs and 69 total yards after intermission.

“After those first two series (of the second half), the rest of it is on me getting too conservative,” Lebby said. “Everybody wants to point fingers, it’s me being too conservative. I mean, 16 of the last 18 plays, we run the football. You know, the first quarter, we scored a bunch of points (28) because we were able to throw the football and make some plays.

“Should have stuck to that a little more and stayed aggressive, instead of what we did. I think we would have had a little different outcome. Thankfully, defensively, we were lights out.”

The OU defense deserved a game ball, especially with the time of possession heavily swayed toward OSU. The Cowboys had 59 snaps and owned a 19:52 to 10:08 time of possession advantage over the Sooners in the second half.

That led to a taxed defense that only allowed 10 points.

Oklahoma also didn’t make things easy with a continued fast-paced attack. During the Sooners’ final eight possessions — which included six consecutive three-and-outs — the offense never had the ball longer than one minute, 27 seconds.

During the fourth quarter, when OSU was trying to put together a comeback, the Sooners often snapped the ball with plenty of time on the play clock. Instead of shortening the game, it allowed the Cowboys with more time to work.

“The last two series is where we had the ability probably to huddle and to truly slow down and go run the football. We ran the football — not effectively, but we did run it,” Lebby said. “But again, to me, I think the biggest thing that I learned was staying aggressive. That’s how we’re gonna play. That’s how we’re gonna operate. That’s on me. We’re gonna throw the football. They got one more in the box than we can block. We’re not built to go run the QB 25 times. We’ve gotta throw the football and make plays, and that way you’ve got a chance to get away from them and it’s totally different.”

Lebby was asked if quarterback Dillon Gabriel had all responsibility with clock management.

“That’s 100% on me. That should really show up in the last three to four series of the game,” the OU coordinator said. “Those last four series of the fourth quarter, that’s when you have the ability to truly shorten the game. You look at it, in the first two series we get a first down and have a 15-yard carry. Then we have a drop on second and 5. Obviously in the second series, we got the drop on first and 10. We were not able to overcome that. That’s when Dillon actually slips on the QB draw where he’s got the ability to have this huge chunk play that nobody ever sees because it’s just part of playing the game and stepping in the arena.

“Way too conservative. Then it’s my job to shorten the game there in the fourth quarter with how we’re operating.”

The drops were at inopportune times. Jalil Farooq had a 30-yard touchdown reception early in the game, but also had some untimely misses.

“We had five drops on the day, all at critical times because you’re just trying not to waste a play but we did make some plays and we played really good early on and that’s what ultimately gave us the chance to win,” Lebby said, before turning toward Farooq.

“He’ll be able to bounce back because he’s had production. He knows what he’s capable of. I think he knows he left some big yards out there. Two of the touch drops that were inside five, six yards from the line of scrimmage, those were actually had the ability to be really big plays and then obviously the scramble on third down, Dillon makes an unbelievable play for us there. We’ve got to make that play.”

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