Anyway, OU missed way more tackles on receiver Steadman Bailey than on Austin. With Austin, the Sooners were playing tag. Looked like the backyard when the 8-year-olds try to catch their 11-year-old cousin.
“We're aware in some instances we can do some things better technique wise,” Bob Stoops said, “as well as the positioning of our defenders.”
Here's what he means. The Sooners weren't in position to corral Austin. Modern offenses are designed to get playmakers the ball in open space, usually via short passes. With no linebackers on the field, and seven DBs in pass coverage, West Virginia got Austin the ball in open space merely by handing him the ball. The nearest Sooner defenders were several yards away.
Don't believe it? ESPN Stats & Info estimated that Austin had 22 yards after contact. That means he ran 320 yards before a Sooner laid a hand on him. That's not a tackling problem. That's not a fight-off-your-block problem. That's an alignment problem.
“Our position and leverage on the football was awful,” Mike Stoops said. “It was criminal, the positions we put a lot of those guys in. That's our fault. Just wasn't coached right.”
That's actually refreshing. Good to hear that the responsibility falls where it belongs.
Mike Stoops pointed out that the better Big 12 offenses are on the back end of the OU schedule.
“Sometimes you can get lulled to sleep,” he said. “It's about making adjustments. And certainly West Virginia made a great adjustment getting their best player in space.
“That's something, just feel bad for our players, we didn't have a better answer.”
To paraphrase Sam the Lion, some teams have had some luck with linebackers. Sometimes, the first step to a better answer is admitting your mistake.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.