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Oklahoma football: Sooners must get better on defense

COMMENTARY — Last season's late run of subpar defensive performances has to change if the Sooners want to contend in 2013.
by Berry Tramel Published: July 23, 2013

“But there are times guys needed to be physically in a better position and make the play. So it's always a combination of all of it.”

Good news on that front. If the Sooners want to fortify against the run — and I'd recommend it; OU allowed 271.2 yards rushing a game after October — this is a good year to do it. Big 12 quarterback expertise figures to drop off dramatically.

Of course, some of this is semantics. Robert Griffin and Seth Doege lit up the 2011 Sooners in the air before the Land Run of last autumn. So both need to be stymied to some degree.

“It galls me when that happens, as an old defensive coordinator,” Stoops said of the video-game numbers allowed. “Sure.

“I have a big problem as a coach with mental mistakes. To me, that's something that it takes no talent to be correct. That doesn't mean you're going to make the play … if someone beats you, they beat you. But it shouldn't happen by you not doing what you're supposed to do.”

Here's the crazy part. The Sooners still had one of the Big 12's better defenses. In conference games only, OU ranked first in pass defense, second in scoring defense, third in total defense and sixth in run defense. The Sooners, for instance, ranked ahead of Texas in all four categories and ahead of OSU in all but run defense.

So it wasn't that the Sooners were all that bad on defense. It's just that when they were bad, they were really bad. Historically bad. What-in-the-name-of-Granville Liggins-is-going-on bad.

“I feel like we have a chip on our shoulders,” Colvin said. “I feel like it is a little insulting, because we are Oklahoma, and we have the talent to step up every year and fill those holes. I know we'll do it this year. Guys have been working to do that. We're going to shock a lot of people.”

The OU defense doesn't have to shock us. Just surprise us a little, and this Sooner season could end with a championship.

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