Can anyone stop Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield?

— -- Opposing coaches say Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield has Brett Favre's gunslinger mentality and plays with a swagger that is contagious and a key to the Sooners' success. Some even say he's the closest thing to Johnny Manziel (the Heisman-winning college version, not the NFL one) they've seen.

So the big question is can he be stopped? We asked coaches from around the country and the answers might make the Big 12 cringe a little bit.

The elements of Mayfield's game that concern coaches the most are the same things that make him so much fun to watch. Although the field borders technically apply to him, he always colors outside the lines.

"He's just got that Brett Favre mentality," said a defensive coordinator who faced Mayfield last season. "Kind of a gunslinger, can extend plays, those kinds of things. He's quicker than he is fast and he's got really good instincts in the pocket, too. He knows how to maneuver, how to slip things."

A Big 12 coach said Mayfield "just plays the game like it's the only thing that matters to him." Whether it's cockiness or enthusiasm, coaches see Mayfield's swagger impacting his Sooner teammates.

"Just a ferocious competitor," said a defensive coordinator who will face Oklahoma this season. "He can rally guys, energetic, so he's always pumping juice into his team. And then he can run the show. It's his second year, so there's a major comfort level in him.

"I know he feels extremely confident about his game right now."

The debate for those facing Mayfield is whether to focus on keeping him in the pocket or let him move around. Last season, he led the Power 5 in touchdown passes thrown outside the pocket (10) and threw only one interception in 83 outside-the-pocket attempts. He also ranked third in the Power 5 in action plays outside the pocket, trailing Texas Tech's Patrick Mahomes and NC State's Jacoby Brissett. But Mayfield also was the most accurate Power 5 quarterback on passes in the pocket last season, completing 73.7 percent of his attempts. He also led the Power 5 in passing efficiency (179.4) within the pocket.

Despite those numbers, several opposing coaches said they could live with Mayfield beating them as a pocket passer rather than an improviser.

"When he gets out on the move is when he's kind of most dangerous," a Big 12 coach said.

"He reminds me a lot, production-wise, of Johnny," another Big 12 coach said, referring to 2012 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel. "He does such a good job creating."

The first step toward slowing down Mayfield, coaches say, is combating his creativity with your own, before the ball is even snapped.

"The thing you notice is he's always got a great pre-snap awareness of where the ball should go, so the ball's coming out quick a lot of times," a Big 12 coach said. "You can change looks. You can't give him easy throws pre-snap."

Sitting back in a base scheme might not be wise against Mayfield, but, as Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops noted, it's "hard to set the trap" against him. Another Big 12 coach noted that junking up a scheme before the snap likely won't faze Mayfield, who "can see the rotation" and waits to see if the middle of the field will open up or not.

"All he needs is just a little bit of crease," said a defensive coordinator facing Mayfield this season. "He's always looking downfield, but he's a legitimate runner, too. People don't give him enough credit for his escapability and his running talent."

Mayfield can be sacked - only Tulsa's Dane Evans (40) was sacked more often than Mayfield (39) last season. But because of his quickness and ability to slip tackles, he requires rushers to be extremely disciplined and, at times, limit their aggressiveness.

"It's really, really hard to get a clean shot on him," a defensive coordinator said.

Another defensive coordinator who had some success against Mayfield last season said bull rushing is a more effective approach than twisting or attacking the pocket from wider angles. Defenders, he said, must respect Mayfield's lateral movement at all times.

"You have to be careful as a pass rusher or a blitzer," the coordinator said. "Just don't run by him. Keep him in front of you, what we call keep your points on the quarterback. Don't run up the field and let him escape underneath [into] your rush lane.

"We had free runners to him in some of our pressures, but he just avoided the tackles. He's got really good balance."

Coaches also downplayed Mayfield's height (he's listed at 6-foot-1) working against him. While some shorter quarterbacks must overcome obstructed views in the passing game, Mayfield can usually create space for himself.

He's also a perfect fit for Lincoln Riley's offense, the same system he chose to play in at Texas Tech before transferring to Oklahoma.

"Huge advantage," a Big 12 coach said. "He knows that offense so well, and he's had two of the finest quarterback coaches in Kliff [Kingsbury] and Lincoln."

Mayfield also shares the backfield with two talented running backs, compounding the challenge of stopping him. Samaje Perine is big (235 pounds) and productive (3,062 yards and 37 touchdowns in two seasons), while Joe Mixon brings explosiveness (6.7 yards per carry in 2015) and versatility (28 receptions). One Big 12 coach said Mayfield, who had seven rushing touchdowns last season, is like a third running back.

Coaches are realistic about the challenge of facing Mayfield this season, especially with so much talent surrounding him.

"You're never going to stop him," a Big 12 coach said. "You've just got to slow him down."