METAIRIE, La. — Oklahoma defensive coordinator Mike Stoops spent the entire 2013 offseason developing a defense built for speed, specifically designed to counter the Big 12 Conference's high-octane spread offenses.
In the last month, though, Stoops had to retool some things while preparing for No. 3 Alabama, which features a more traditional, prostyle offense that can typically overwhelm opponents with brute force.
“We've had to adjust some personnel for this game and tried to get bigger people in position to defend the things we're going to see with Alabama,” Stoops said.
One of those players whose role will be enhanced is hybrid linebacker/defensive end P.L. Lindley, who played the second half of the season in bigger sets, but will be tasked with the most difficult assignment — by far — of his college career Thursday night, when the Sooners meet the mighty Crimson Tide in the Superdome.
“I'm happy to do whatever needs to be done to help out the team,” said the sophomore from Round Rock, Texas.
“We've definitely gotta come with it. If we take a play off, they can get a big play.”
Oklahoma's new defensive scheme usually includes three down linemen, three linebackers and five defensive backs. Against the Crimson Tide, Oklahoma will likely add another lineman or linebacker in place of the fifth defensive back.
Sophomore linebacker Eric Striker has established himself as one of the Sooners' best defensive players this season as a pass rusher, but he's also a little undersized at 6-foot, 219 pounds.