Oklahoma football: Defense will be a focus during spring ball

Coach Mike Stoops and staff are experimenting with new ideas to make their unit more flexible and aggressive in a league full of high-powered spread offenses.
by Jason Kersey Published: March 7, 2013

NORMAN — Mike Stoops is still trying to make sense of what happened to Oklahoma's defense down the stretch last season.

“It was like no other season that I've ever seen,” the Sooners' defensive coordinator said Thursday.

The Sooners begin spring practices Saturday with lots changing — coaching- and personnel-wise — on the defensive side of the ball.

Stoops and his staff are also experimenting with new ideas to make their unit more flexible and aggressive in a league full of high-powered spread offenses.

Lots of evidence surfaced over the past few months suggesting Oklahoma coaches are planning a shift to a 3-4 defense.

Thursday, Bob and Mike Stoops confirmed such a system is being considered, but also said they want an adaptable defense, capable of shifting schemes as needed.

“We'll still be in our four-man front as well, and we'll work some different guys in the rotation there inside,” Bob Stoops said. “We'll also experiment because I think it's a positive to be able to jump into a 50 (three-man defensive front) and do some of that stuff like we had in the past.”

Last season, as Oklahoma came up against high-octane offenses like Baylor, West Virginia, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M, the Sooners pulled their linebackers from the game in favor of more defensive backs.

Offenses responded with record-setting performances, including West Virginia's 778 total yards of offense — the most Oklahoma's defense has ever allowed — in the Sooners' 50-49 shootout victory.

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by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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