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Oklahoma football: Is Mike Stoops simplifying the Sooner defense?

There's a mounting belief that Mike Stoops will simplify the Sooner scheme. According to Stoops, “We're simplifying things, but you can only simplify things to a point.”
by Berry Tramel Published: August 19, 2012

But there's no doubt that in the past, OU played a complicated defense. Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham, in his 31st season coaching in the NFL, raved to Michigan media the other day about rookie linebacker Travis Lewis and the coaching he got at OU.

“Travis Lewis, I can't get over him," Cunningham said, saying Lewis already was one of the best middle linebackers he's ever had at calling defenses. “He handles things like I've never seen a kid handle.”

Lions head coach Jim Schwartz echoed Cunningham, saying, “He's never once had any kind of problems. He's adjusted very, very quickly to a complex scheme. That says a lot about him and it says a lot about his coaches and experience at Oklahoma.”

Lewis credited Venables: “What he put on me allows me to pick this up so much faster.”

And maybe that's the point. Lewis was not the most talented defender, but he was sharp. And maybe he was in the minority. Maybe the Sooners have been playing with fast, tough guys who can't always pick up changes on the fly.

This much we know. The 2012 Sooners need to do less thinking.

“As you could see at times a year ago, there was a lot of thinking going on,” Mike Stoops said. “We got the short end of that stick.”

Mike Stoops wants to see the Sooners adjust quickly and play fast. Not just run fast. Play fast.

It's that simple.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at 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