Baker Mayfield: Oklahoma has to take care of Auburn's defensive front to win
Oklahoma left tackle Orlando Brown will be one of the players tasked with keeping Carl Lawson out of the backfield in the Sugar Bowl.
From what Brown has seen on film, he knows it won’t be an easy task.
“I haven’t played many true five techniques and guys that are great first-steppers, he’s a great first stepper,” Brown said Friday morning. “I haven’t seen one since Ohio State (Tyquan Lewis).”
Baker mentioned Lawson’s first move when discussing the challenge of blocking the talented lineman multiple times.
The 6-foot-8, 340-pound sophomore might have a significant size advantage over the 6-foot-2, 253-pounder, but that’s not necessarily a recipe for success given Lawson’s speed.
“He’s not as big as the other guys they have on the front line, but he also utilizes that,” Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield said. “His speed rush, he’s quick, he’s got great instincts.”
Brown, who has started 25 straight games going back to last year, has to match Lawson’s quickness at the snap.
“I know the snap count, he doesn’t,” Brown said. “Getting off the ball as quickly as possible (is the key) to put myself in the best position for his first move or second move.”
The other challenge with handling Auburn’s sack leader is recognizing where he’s lining up.
“I think it varies,” Brown said. “I’ll probably see him a lot I would think. Mainly he plays over the right tackle, but I’ll probably see him on third downs and things like that.”
Mayfield expects Auburn to throw some ‘wrinkles’ into the defensive game plan to free him up as well.
“We are going to really have to pay attention to where he’s at,” Mayfield said. “Sometimes he’ll rush on the right, sometimes they will flip him around and do twists and stunts with him. You keep an eye on the good players, you always do.”
The goal for Oklahoma’s offensive line isn’t necessarily to be perfect.
“They are going to make sure he doesn’t make too many big plays,” Mayfield said.
For Brown, the job doesn’t get much easier when L awson lines up on the opposite side of the line.
The unique challenge Auburn’s defensive presents is the deep level of talent it has up front. The Tigers rotate as many as 10 different players without seeing a drop off in execution.
“A lot of these teams where you play a good D-line, there's maybe like one great player and a bunch of other solid players,” Oklahoma offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley said. “They have got two or three great players up front.”
Brown is excited about ending the season with the best defensive line Oklahoma has seen all season.
“Auburn is a bigger team and they did well in the SEC which is a physical conference,” Brown said. “We have to impose our will against a great team. We know they will not back down but we have to do what we have to do.”