OU football notebook: Sooners coach Bob Stoops defends OU kickoff coverage

BY TRAVIS HANEY, Staff Writer, thaney@opubco.com Published: October 13, 2011

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.

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