The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Sports

November 4, 2013

Baylor biggest test for OU defense

NORMAN, Okla. —  When Oklahoma revamped its defense during the offseason, it was because the Sooners knew they’d face games similar to the one they’ll play Thursday.

Hurt by spread offenses run by West Virginia, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M during the final stretch of 2012, No. 12 OU (7-1, 4-1 Big 12 Conference) switched to an alignment with three defensive linemen and five defensive backs.  

It’s worked well for most of the season, as the Sooners rank 10th in the Football Bowl Subdivision in total defense, allowing 314.3 yards per game.

But No. 5 Baylor (7-0, 4-0) will present the most difficult challenge so far this season for the Sooners.

The Bears’ offensive numbers are eye-popping — they lead the FBS in scoring average (63.9 points), passing offense (417.3 yards) and total offense (718.4 yards) and are seventh nationally in rushing offense (301.1 yards).

OU did get a bit of a preview of what they might see Thursday when the Sooners beat Texas Tech and its high-powered offense 38-30 on Oct. 26.

“We did it for most of the teams we see in our league,” OUcoach Bob Stoops said Monday of the Sooners’ change in defensive schemes.

“We just saw it with Tech and Baylor is also a part of that, you know, on and on. We felt it gave us more versatility. It played to our strengths better and it put more speed on the field. Hopefully, it will continue to help us.”

OU is 21-1 all-time against Baylor, but the one was memorable, as then-Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III made a huge impression in the Heisman Trophy race on his way toward winning that honor in 2011.

The Bears’ offensive juggernaut continued through last season with Nick Florence and Bryce Petty is Baylor’s quarterback and he’s fourth nationally in passing yards per game (350.4).

Stoops said the Bears like to spread defenses out with Petty and their speedy wide receivers, then attack in the middle of the field with running back Lache Seastrunk, who has rushed for 869 yards and 11 touchdowns. That combination limits the number of things an opposing defense can do, Stoops said.

“You can only do so much, in that ... when they line two guys up all the way out there,” he said, pointing one way, “and all the way out there,” pointing the other way, “you’ve got to go out and cover them, so there’s only so many left.

“At the end of the day, there’s only so much you can do. You have to be able to play. You’ve got to be able to cover them out there and you’ve got to be able to stop the run game with what’s left in here.”

OU defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said the Bears’ ability to effectively run the football with Seastrunk is what makes their up-tempo offense click.

But it isn’t necessarily Baylor’s style that causes opposing defenses so many problems, Mike Stoops said.

“They have great speed on the perimeter and they use it and they isolate you,” he said.

“That, to me, is what is stressful about it. They run the football. They create so much room on the football field that most people can’t or don’t do.

“It’s hard to get underneath help because the splits are so wide. It’s hard to get people underneath. Everything is isolated and it’s hard to buy help for corners and safeties and all of that. Again, they know what they are doing and they are very effective.”

It’s a system that places a premium on winning one-on-one matchups and this season, Baylor’s offensive players have excelled in doing that and making big plays.

“You just have to challenge them,” OU cornerback Aaron Colvin said. “What you’re trying to do as a defensive back and what we’re trying to do as a defense is you’re trying to make every play a challenging play.

“They’ve been able to get easy plays at times because of their athleticism and defensive guys not really staying on their assignment or whatever the case may be. As a defense, we have to stay locked in.”

Mike Stoops said if OU is to win, the Sooners must keep the Baylor offense off the field — whether that means long offensive drives or stopping the Bears on third down.

“If we play 90-100 snaps (on defense), it’s not good,” he said. “You can’t win a game, I don’t believe, playing Baylor if we have to play 90-100 snaps. That’s not a game that you want to be in. You hope your offense can control the football and you can control the tempo of the game.’’

“If they are running in those numbers, it means they have the ball and they are running very efficiently and that’s going to stress your defense more than the D-line. It’s going to stress your players covering those guys for 100 snaps. Covering them for 100 snaps is virtually impossible.”

1
Text Only
Sports
  • Moving In? Indoor football coming back to Enid?

    Oklahoma City businessman Antwone Taulton and Enid Enforcers manager Mark Timberlake are in the early stages of a plan they hope will see the return of arena football in 2015 to Enid after an absence of more than 10 years. And if things progress as one league executive expects, an official announcement could be forthcoming in the near future.

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • Morris Claiborne Claiborne wants to prove worth to Dallas

    Morris Claiborne had already told reporters he was ready to prove he was worthy of Dallas’ dramatic move up the draft board to get him with the sixth overall pick in 2012. He didn’t waste any time showing some urgency.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tim Tebow NCAA settles head-injury suit, will change rules

    The NCAA agreed on Tuesday to help athletes with head injuries in a proposed settlement of a class-action lawsuit that college sports’ governing body touted as a major step forward but that critics say doesn’t go nearly far enough.

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • Attorney: OU's Mixon acted in self defense

    The attorney for Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon said the incident that left a 20-year-old female OU student with multiple facial fractures was a case of self-defense.

    July 29, 2014

  • OSU no longer faces APR restrictions

    NCAA officials say Oklahoma State’s football program no longer faces restrictions for the upcoming school year because its Academic Progress Rate has been amended.

    July 29, 2014

  • Radio-TV for 7-30-14

    July 29, 2014

  • Jeff Mullin mug 2012.jpg Rice's punishment hardly fit the crime

    Two games, just over 12 percent of the 16-game regular season. Two games for hitting a woman hard enough to knock her out cold.
    Rice said Monday he will not appeal his suspension, which could wind up costing him $529,411 in fines and salary. And why wouldn’t he? He must feel like he got off scot-free.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • SamBradfordpicturejpeg Bradford used to being at 'career crossroads'

    It’s become a rite of training camp for Sam Bradford.
    Every summer, he deals with the oversized burden of living up to getting picked first overall in 2010. The St. Louis Rams quarterback is not surprised that once again, he’s supposedly at a career crossroads.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • TU wins C-USA academic honor

    The University of Tulsa earned the 2013-14 Conference USA Institutional Excellence award by posting the highest grade point average during the 2013-14 academic year for all student athletes in conference-sponsored athletes, the school announced on Monday.

    July 28, 2014

  • Hixon added to West All-State football team

    July 28, 2014

Click here for NASCAR headlines
Sports Photos


Enid News & Eagle sports photos from the month of February 2014. Enjoy all the ENE photos with full access at http://enidnews.smugmug.com.