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Big 12's offensive explosion means one thing: The league isn't ready to play big-boy football

The conference has a problem. You can win in the Big 12 with offense alone. Six Big 12 games this season have been won by teams that allowed 45 points in regulation. But such football is going to end in heartache for the Big 12. It's always going to end in heartache.
by Berry Tramel Published: November 25, 2012

Even an old defensive guy like Bob Stoops has allowed the pendulum to swing out of balance. The Sooners lose a ton of receivers to graduation and knuckleheadedness, and presto, a few months later they've got more now and they're better than ever.

And yet the OU coaches can't find a linebacker they want to put on the field and are about to run out of defensive linemen.

The hurryup offense has been effective for five years. But it comes at a cost. It pads the opponent's opportunity, too, and chips away at defensive confidence.

And it's not just the Sooners. Look at OSU on Saturday. Tied at 17-17 late in the first half, the Cowboys drove inside the OU 20-yard line — and then sped up the no-huddle offense. Two quick runs by Joe Randle, 10 and four yards, produced a touchdown. But 1:23 remained on the clock.

Landry needed 1:10 of it to take the Sooners 75 yards in seven plays for the tying touchdown. What was the hurry? First-and-goal at the 4-yard line, give your defense a break. Take your time.

The Sooners ran 103 plays in Bedlam, including 101 in regulation. And that's with a punt return for a touchdown, which took away a possession.

OU ran 76 plays against Notre Dame; 70 against Kansas State. The Sooners had 44 first downs in Bedlam.

Big 12 coaches have to prioritize defense. Prioritize in recruiting, in strategy, in emphasis.

Else we're going to keep seeing these instant classics that lead to heartbreak.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at btramel@opubco.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
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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