Oklahoma football: Sooners' defense has a new attitude

Mike Stoops has helped reestablish the Sooners as a defensive football team.
Oklahoman Published: April 8, 2014

Stoops switched to a 3-3-5 defensive scheme, and the results were impressive for most of the 2013 season. Even in OU’s 41-12 loss at Baylor last November, the defense was hardly to blame. It held the Bears’ high-powered offense in check for most of the first half, but the Sooner defenders never had much of a chance to catch their breath because of offensive struggles.

“From doing extra after workouts to studying in the film room to just buying into what the coaches were trying to tell us,” defensive end Chuka Ndulue said when asked what changed after the Cotton Bowl embarrassment. “There were a few years when we didn’t finish strong, and lost when we came toward the end of the season. This year, it was just preached over and over again and we bought into that.”

Oklahoma certainly finished strong in 2013. After the Baylor game, the Sooners ended the season on a four-game winning streak that culminated in a 45-31 Sugar Bowl upset of Alabama.

Senior defensive end Geneo Grissom said he’s rewatched the Sugar Bowl twice since he played in it, recording 2.5 sacks and returning a late fumble for a touchdown.

“Don’t ever let that happen again,” Grissom said when asked what he thinks today about the 2013 Cotton Bowl.

“It's just for me a matter of realizing that I don't have much time left here, and if I want to do what I came here to do, I’ve just got to start making plays and making sure that the coaches see that.”

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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