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OU's Brent Venables wins chess match with OSU's Dana Holgorsen

by Michael Baldwin Modified: November 28, 2010 at 8:38 pm •  Published: November 28, 2010

Defensive coordinator Brent Venables won the X's and O's chess match with Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen.

Watching film of Oklahoma's 47-41 win, Venables installing the “50 Defense” the week of Bedlam kept the Cowboys' No. 1-ranked offense out of rhythm other than two long TD drives.

The “50” features three defensive linemen, a tackle and two defensive ends. Jeremy Beal and Tony Jefferson played outside linebacker near the line of scrimmage. Each has the option to play the run or drop into coverage. It also allows Venables to blitz middle linebacker Austin Box or keep him in coverage.

“Any time you're dropping eight in coverage you have to stuff the running game,” said linebacker Travis Lewis. “We pretty much made them one dimensional.”

The Sooners held Doak Walker Award finalist Kendall Hunter to a season-low 55 rushing yards, held the Cowboys to a season-low 19 first downs and 379 yards, OSU's second-lowest total all season.

Four consecutive defensive series after OSU tied the game 24-24 prevented the Cowboys from taking the lead, forcing them play catch-up the entire fourth quarter.

After OSU scored on its opening drive of the second half, on the Cowboys' next four possessions they punted three times, including two three-and-outs. The fourth series made it a two-possession game when Ronnell Lewis tipped Brandon Weeden's pass that Box intercepted.

How difficult was it to install a new-look defense in one week?

“It's different than how we do our long yardage, but it's something we did a lot in the summer,” said OU coach Bob Stoops. “It's something we've been tinkering with. Because of that it's something our players had a familiarity with. They picked it up quickly.”

Mixing in occasional blitzes, the Sooners didn't record a sack but got some pressure. With eight players often in coverage, Weeden didn't have a lot of open receivers.

“The way we covered it made him think more and squeeze it a little more and not be quite as decisive where he was going with it,” Stoops said.

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by Michael Baldwin
Redhawks, Barons, MLB, NFL Reporter
Mike Baldwin has been a sports reporter for The Oklahoman since 1982. Mike graduated from Okmulgee High School in 1974 and attended Oklahoma Christian University, graduating with a journalism degree in 1978. Mike's first job was sports editor...
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