“We got beat here last year, and we definitely want to come out here and show up.”
So far this season, the secondary has — for the most part — done just that. The unit has without question been the strongest of the Sooner defense through three games.
But Saturday in Lubbock, the Oklahoma secondary faces a dynamic passing attack led by Doege, who is perfectly capable of shaming it again.
“You make one simple mistake, they can gash you because they have the players to do that,” Jefferson said.
For defensive coordinator Mike Stoops, Saturday's game represents the first real test of the effect he's had in his return to Oklahoma.
The man who's been hailed as the Sooners' savior has made some schematic changes, but like so many things in football, success Saturday will come down to the little things.
“We're going to need all 11 guys to play well and play fast and be in the right spots,” Mike Stoops said. “If you're not, you're going to get exposed.”
That OU's first battle — of many — against an air-raid attack comes against Texas Tech seems fitting, given that last year's loss ultimately was seen as a precursor for secondary struggles in OU's two later losses.
Sooners coach Bob Stoops was asked if he thinks his secondary has something to prove Saturday in Lubbock.
“I would think they would have something to prove,” Stoops said.
“How could you not?”
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SAME PLAYERS, DIFFERENT RESULT?
Oklahoma's starting five defensive backs are the same — albeit shuffled — as the five players who started in last year's 41-38 home loss to Texas Tech.
Here's a look at each of OU's starters in the secondary:
AARON COLVIN, JR., CB
* Last year vs. Tech: Started at strong safety, but shifted to corner in the second half after Tech repeatedly — and successfully — picked on Gabe Lynn.
* So far this year: The move to corner was made permanent in the offseason; he's recorded 14 tackles and five pass break-ups so far.
JAVON HARRIS, SR., SS
* Last year vs. Tech: Started at free safety and was briefly injured in the third quarter, although he quickly returned. Recorded two tackles all night.
* So far this year: Moved to strong safety and has been one of the hardest hitters on OU's defense. His interception against Florida A&M is the Sooner defense's only takeaway all year.
DEMONTRE HURST, SR., CB
* Last year vs. Tech: Recorded seven tackles and broke up two passes from his cornerback spot.
* So far this year: Has, along with Colvin, played extremely well from his cornerback spot. Has 11 tackles and two break-ups so far.
TONY JEFFERSON, JR., FS
* Last year vs. Tech: Made eight tackles from the nickelback position.
* So far this year: Has moved back to free safety, but still plays close to the line sometimes. Was injured against Florida A&M, and his absense was felt when backup Jesse Paulsen blew coverage on a 75-yard Rattlers touchdown pass.
GABE LYNN, JR., NB
* Last year vs. Tech: Tech coach Tommy Tuberville fully admits to picking on Lynn, who started at corner in place of the injured Jamell Fleming. He was pulled from the game after a miserable third quarter.
* So far this year: Shifted to nickel in the offseason and still seems to be adjusting to the new role. Was responsible for some of the wide open receivers in the second half of the Kansas State loss.