Oklahoma football: OU defense increasing focus on defending tight ends

While tight ends are certainly a concern for Oklahoma’s offense, they’re also drawing plenty of attention from the defensive side.
by Ryan Aber Published: April 6, 2014


photo - Defensive coordinator Mike Stoops is surrounded by players on the sideline during a timeout during first half action of the NCAA college football game between the University of Oklahoman (OU) Sooners and the Baylor Bears at Floyd Casey Stadium in Waco, Texas, Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman
Defensive coordinator Mike Stoops is surrounded by players on the sideline during a timeout during first half action of the NCAA college football game between the University of Oklahoman (OU) Sooners and the Baylor Bears at Floyd Casey Stadium in Waco, Texas, Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman

NORMAN — While tight ends are certainly a concern for Oklahoma’s offense, they’re also drawing plenty of attention from the defensive side.

“We never saw them two years ago,” Sooners defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said. “Last year, we saw a tight end 80 percent of the time.

“It’s a new evolution learning how to play some of this power run game in this defense.”

Part of that was the emergence of several good options at tight end on teams the Sooners played. Another part was the 50 defense, which uses rushing linebackers or defensive ends on the outside, that the Sooners used much of last season.

“Those edges get a little exposed if you don’t (use a tight end),” coach Bob Stoops said. “That’s why teams, against us, might play them more than they do against other people.”

That’s a tradeoff the Sooners are willing to accept.

“You have a tight end in there now instead of a 4.3 receiver,” Bob Stoops said.

The defense showed the ability to adjust last season with the second-best scoring defense and the second-best rushing defense in the Big 12, a season after being ninth in rushing defense in the league.

“This defense gives you versatility and angles and different ways you can bring pressure,” Mike Stoops said.


by Ryan Aber
Reporter
Ryan Aber has worked for The Oklahoman since 2006, covering high schools, the Oklahoma City RedHawks, the Oklahoma City Barons and OU football recruiting. An Oklahoma City native, Aber graduated from Northeastern State. Before joining The...
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