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OU football: Offense giving defense time to rest

The defense got worn down last year as the Sooners' offense played at a frenetic pace and the defense allowed plenty of long drives.
by Ryan Aber Modified: September 13, 2013 at 12:00 pm •  Published: September 13, 2013

NORMAN — Earlier this week, safety Gabe Lynn said last season's Oklahoma defense was soft.

Julian Wilson said the defense got worn down last year as the Sooners' offense played at a frenetic pace and the defense allowed plenty of long drives.

“People got gassed, just being on the field a lot,” Wilson said, “I feel like coming into this season they're doing a way better job controlling the clock.”

Through two games, Oklahoma's offense has had the ball for nearly 2:30 per game more than it did last season. The Sooners have run the ball 30 more times through two games this season while throwing just five fewer times.

“It's a little different style than people are used to seeing from us,” Sooners coach Bob Stoops said.

It certainly is. In the past two weeks, Oklahoma has two of its top 10 team rushing performances since 2003.

The defense is drawing plenty of praise for its play so far, having given up just seven points total through two games. The offense, though, even with the issues at quarterback, is providing plenty of help.

“At times here when we've had some of the poor defensive performances, people don't look at the offensive performance right next to it, it wasn't very good either,” Stoops said. “It magnifies, especially if you're tempo and throwing the ball, you're out there for three plays, go three-and-out and use 30 seconds on the clock and the defense is right back out there. It's not real healthy.”

It's not that the Sooners have slowed things down offensively, although they have been able to pick and choose spots to crank up the speed.

“The tempo's still there of course,” wide receiver Jalen Saunders said. “But the rushing, stretching out the time of possession on our offense and giving some rest to the defense has definitely helped.

“We're still a tempo team, though. We're not trying to slow down our tempo. We're still trying to get the ball, get as many plays in as possible.”

In the wins over Louisiana-Monroe and West Virginia, the Sooners had nine drives lasting eight or more plays, with all but one of them taking at least 3:50 off the clock.

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by Ryan Aber
OU Athletics Reporter
Ryan Aber has worked for The Oklahoman since 2006, covering high schools, the Oklahoma City RedHawks, the Oklahoma City Barons and OU football recruiting. An Oklahoma City native, Aber graduated from Northeastern State. Before joining The...
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