I wrote about the OU defense for my column in the Wednesday Oklahoman. You can read that here. But as you might expect, Bob Stoops had plenty more to say on the subject. Here are some excerpts.
* Stoops seems to genuinely believe he’s got some quality players coming up.
“A lot of inexperience,” Stoops said. “But again, I feel a lot of good, quality players. The defensive line, the secondary. Through spring ball, they played in a pretty good and consistent way.”
Left unsaid was anything about the linebackers. I assume Stoops didn’t mean much by it. Aaron Franklin and Eric Striker still could blossom, behind Corey Nelson and Frank Shannon.
* Stoops talked about the West Virginia fiasco, when Tavon Austin moved to tailback for that game only and rushed for 344 yards on 21 carries.
“Their other running backs ran the ball 26 times and got 26 yards.” Stoops said. “The other guy ran the ball 26 times and got eight million yards.”
Actually, the other running backs ran 21 times for 62 yards, but the point is well taken.
“A little bit of that, they hadn’t played him at running back, they got us, with him,” Stoops said. “The other guys, we handled pretty well, being stronger in the pass coverage against an excellent quarterback and receivers.”
* On Year 2 with Mike Stoops as defensive coordinator:“I felt more consistency in the spring in everything that we were doing, in what we wanted ‘em to do, and what we were asking ’em to do. Some of it we needed to make some adjustments. Some of it, players needed to make adjustments. Hopefully that keeps happening.”
The issue of Mike Stoops adjusting to Big 12 offenses is silly. But Stoops and his players adjusting to each other? I can buy that as a possible squishy situation.
* On the lack of experience on defense, with just four starters returning: “You always wish you had 22 starters back. But this is college football. This isn’t the New England Patriots, who get to keep all their players every year (well, not all their players). We’re used to this. Just natural progression. It’s always going to be that way.”
There is little reason to believe that 2013 can be 2000, when the Sooners suddenly developed a ferocious defense, and no one saw that coming. OU returned one all-Big 12 defender from 1999, Rocky Calmus, but ended up with five in 2000 – linebackers Calmus and Torrance Marshall, tackle Ryan Fisher and safeties J.T. Thatcher and Roy Williams.