By keeping at least two linebackers — and usually three — on the field at all times in 2013, the Sooner run defense made drastic improvement, even after senior linebacker and team captain Corey Nelson was lost to injury in the fourth game of the season.
The better system resulted in better play, which obviously created more confidence among Sooner defenders.
Even in Oklahoma’s embarrassing 41-12 loss at Baylor in November, the OU defense hung tough against the Bears’ powerful offense. The Sooners’ lack of offensive production eventually caused the defense to wear down in the second half.
Entering 2014, OU must replace most of its defensive backfield, but Bob Stoops said he’s confident moving forward because his staff has spent the offseason fine-tuning its scheme.
“We made all kinds of different tweaks and adjustments to it throughout the spring that we didn’t have the luxury of doing a year ago,” he said. “We’re definitely much further along in what we want to do and how we want to handle, not only Big 12 offenses, but any offense.”