A lot went right for Oklahoma in its 55-17 demolition of Texas, but Fozzy Whittaker's 100-yard kick return for a score was a reminder of a recent black eye for the Sooners.
Since 2008, the Sooners have had 10 kickoffs returned for touchdowns against them – or 3.4 percent of their 293 kicks in that period. That places OU among the worst in the nation in the category.
OU coach Bob Stoops has contended that the Sooners, led by Ronnell Lewis and Trey Millard, have covered much, much better this season. Until that return, opponents were averaging less than 20 yards a return.
“That's pretty positive,” Stoops said. “Whatever's happened other years, I don't much care, because those guys aren't playing on this team.”
Stoops noted on his TV show that many of the players involved in that particular coverage were on the field for the preceding interception return for a score by cornerback Demontre Hurst.
In fact, on replay, it appeared Hurst, more than any other Sooner, took a poor angle on Whittaker. Several others ran into blocks and fell down. Whittaker had a gigantic alley in the middle of the field, and then he accelerated past OU players who were out of position.
“It's pretty obvious on tape that our positioning on blocks was pretty poor,” Stoops said. “They hit it.”
SNAPS AVAILABLE FOR EVEN MORE DEFENSIVE ENDS
As well as OU's defensive ends have played, there's still room for more bodies in the rotation, position coach Bobby Jack Wright said.
Redshirt freshmen Geneo Grissom and Chuka Ndulue have received a few snaps in the first five games, but Wright wants to get them in more, even with Frank Alexander, David King, Lewis and R.J. Washington playing so well.
“I'd like to play them more, but they're not making me, if that makes sense,” Wright said. “They look at those guys ahead of them and say, ‘Oh, we're not in the equation.' But that's not true.”
WILLIAMS' BALL-SECURITY ISSUES CONTINUE
Saturday's game could present another opportunity for playing time for freshman running back Brandon Williams, who would want to atone for his fumble lost late against Texas. It was the Sooners' only turnover against the Longhorns.
Youth is no excuse for losing the ball, his coach said.
“I don't expect that, young or old,” Stoops said. “But that's some of why he doesn't play more than he does, as well as being assignment-responsible. There's a lot he needs to keep improving on.”
After debuting against Ball State, Williams rushed three times for 7 yards against Texas.
NO PRACTICE LETDOWN THIS WEEK FOR OU
Following their last big win, against Florida State, the Sooners had a poor week of practice
Stoops said he's seen no evidence of that this week, after the Texas win.
“I believe we're past that,” he said. “We understand it takes a really sound, businesslike approach. Really good teams – championship-type teams – get better throughout the year.”