Oklahoma run defense must improve

Oklahoma has nearly lost its last two games because of poor run defense. Those mistakes will cost the Sooners in Big 12 play, OU beat writer Jake Trotter writes.
By Jake Trotter Modified: September 26, 2010 at 10:54 pm •  Published: September 26, 2010

After the game, Venables seemed most frustrated with middle linebacker Tom Wort, who was shaky in tackling and allowed Pead to cut back on him for big gains more than once. That explosive ground attack contributed to another big fourth quarter against the Sooners, who seem to be holding on for dear life every game.

"It's been a long time since we've been gashed for that many 10-plus-yard runs," Venables said. "We've got to improve; we've got to evaluate some personnel. It's not real tricky. It's just very basic and fundamental and it's technique and having gap integrity and then tackling. We've got to improve tackling. It was very, very poor interior-wise, particularly at (linebacker). I thought Travis (Lewis) really played well, but we've got to improve at some other positions. I think a lot of guys are doing well. It's really one or two guys for the most part."

While OU hasn't been dominant lately, the Sooners have a lot going for them on both sides of the ball. Quarterback Landry Jones showed he can play well on the road. Ryan Broyles continues to be un-guardable. And while leaky at times, the defense has come up with a boatload of critical turnovers.

OU also survived a tough nonconference schedule and is 4-0 heading into Big 12 play, something the Longhorns can't say.

But to come out on top of the Big 12, too, the Sooner defense needs to be better. Especially against the run.


OU against the run this season:

Opponent, Rushing yards allowed per game

Utah State, 80

Florida State, 123

Air Force, 351

Cincinnati, 156

Sooners against the run in the Bob Stoops era

Year, Rushing yards allowed per game, Run defense ranking

2010, 178, 93

2009, 92, 8

2008, 116, 20

2007, 110, 17

2006, 99, 16

2005, 91, 4

2004, 95, 6

2003, 113, 20

2002, 108, 14

2001, 90, 7

2000, 108, 23

1999, 125, 37

Compiled by Jake Trotter

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