Using a unique wrinkle that put speedy wideout Tavon Austin at tailback, Dana Holgorsen's West Virginia offense torched Oklahoma in Morgantown last season, piling up 778 yards in what many consider the worst performance of a forgettable defensive season for OU.
But 2013 started off in a positive way for the Sooners, shutting out Louisiana-Monroe's usually effective spread offense this past Saturday.
And Holgorsen, whose offense invades Norman this weekend for the conference opener, noticed a tangible improvement.
“Yeah, they made some changes, unfortunately for us,” Holgorsen said during Monday's Big 12 coaches teleconference. “They have a tremendous amount of speed on the field. They seem to be a lot more aggressive, a lot more attacking. They're blitzing more. They're a little bit more aggressive with their coverage.”
“It's not surprising,” Holgorsen continued. “I understand Coach (Bob) Stoops and what they've been able to accomplish defensively for the last couple of decades. They look fast, they look good and they look aggressive.”
K-STATE TRIES TO REGROUP FROM TOUGH LOSS
From a national perspective, the Big 12 took a reputation hit this past weekend with a trio of nonconference losses.
The most surprising of those defeats came in Manhattan, where Kansas State, the defending Big 12 champ, fell to North Dakota State, an FCS powerhouse that entered the game as a double-digit underdog.
“We've got a lot of improvement to make,” coach Bill Snyder said on Monday. “I think that's pretty obvious. An awful lot of things that took place in the course of the ballgame make that very evident. We're not as efficient as we need to be, so it tells us what direction we need to go.”
Particularly, Kansas State struggled in third-down conversions (2-of-10 on offense, while allowing 10-of-17 on defense) and rushing the football, with do-everything quarterback Collin Klein gone.
“We had 41 yards of rushing offense (on 23 carries),” Snyder said. “That has to improve. It's been a long time since we've been limited to that. North Dakota did an awful nice job in defending us that way.”