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Baylor's high-powered offense rises above all defensive tricks

Mike Stoops' defensive acumen won't help all that much Thursday night in Waco, Texas.
by Berry Tramel Published: November 6, 2013

WACO, Texas — Bob Stoops won't admit it, but the last time his ball team played at Floyd Casey, enough became enough.

The last straw holding Mike Stoops from returning to the Sooner sidelines? It broke a little before 11 p.m. on Nov. 19, 2011. About the time Robert Griffin scrambled around and fired a 34-yard touchdown pass to Terrance Williams with eight seconds left in a game won by Baylor 45-38.

OU's defensive vulnerability was never so exposed as that night in Waco, and soon enough, Mike Stoops was summoned from Arizona exile to help out big brother. Get the band back together.

But Thursday night, as the Sooners return to Floyd Casey Stadium for a top-10 showdown, Mike Stoops' defensive acumen won't help all that much. Baylor has an offense that rises above defensive tricks.

Art Briles' offense splits receivers almost to the sideline on both sides, often with a teammate in the slot nearby. Defenses are stretched thin, creating running lanes for a shifty tailback.

Outsmarting that offense won't work.

“You can only do so much, in that you still, when they line two guys all the way out there,” Stoops said, pointing one way, “and all the way out there (pointing another), you gotta go out and cover ‘em.

“There's only so many guys left. You gotta be able to stop the run game with what's in here.”

See what Stoops is saying? You don't outscheme Baylor. You have to outperform the Bears.

Tackle well. Stick with your man. Stay in your zone in the middle to patch up those running lanes created by Baylor's spread offense.

Briles' offense has transformed the Baptist university that not so long ago was fighting for its conference-affiliation life but now is clamoring to reach the national championship game.

The 2013 Bears remain untested — a 35-25 victory at now 4-4 Kansas State is Baylor's best win — but they have clobbered foes to the extent of 64 points and 718 yards a game.

Bryce Petty has emerged as the lone elite quarterback in the Big 12, Lache Seastrunk leads the league in rushing and the Bears have a battalion of game-breaking receivers.

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by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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