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OU defense goes back to basics, dominates Texas

by Michael Baldwin Published: October 8, 2011

Texas offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin's vaunted trick plays were stuffed all day like the majority of plays the Longhorns ran Saturday afternoon in the Cotton Bowl.

Oklahoma defensive coordinator Brent Venables' basic game plan, spiced with timely blitzes, made the Texas backfield look like a crowded State Fair corny dog line.

Romping to a 55-17 win, the Sooners harassed the Longhorns' two young quarterbacks the entire game.

“We went old school, played more 4-3,” Venables said. “I was really pleased to see our guys up front play really good.”

The Sooners recorded five turnovers, eight sacks, seven quarterback hurries and broke up six passes.

The stat that had OU defenders buzzing was their defensive touchdowns outscoring the Longhorns 18-17.

“It doesn't get much better than that,” said defensive tackle Casey Walker. “We had a good week of preparation and executed. We practiced hard last week. We practiced harder than Florida State week.”

OU's defense was so dominant it looked as if the Sooners were given Harsin's game plan.

“The biggest thing was preparation, not getting caught up in all the different shifts and movement,” said defensive end Frank Alexander. “No quarterback wants to get hit. We wanted to get pressure on them and did that for the most part all day.”

The Sooners blitzed frequently, but Venables said the timing of the blitzes was the biggest factor.

“Everything we did was very calculated,” Venables said. “We looked at tendencies, what they like to do in certain situations. We actually were pretty simple in some of the pressures. It wasn't really anything exotic.”

A good example was the first of OU's three defensive scores.

Late in the first half, Aaron Colvin charged off the corner on a safety blitz, forcing Texas freshman quarterback David Ash to sidestep to avoid a sack. Ash hurried his throw. Cornerback Demontre Hurst read the play perfectly and returned an interception 55 yards for a touchdown.

“When we blitz I know the ball is going to come out quick,” Hurst said. “When the quarterback scrambles he has to think twice about where he's going to throw it. It's great when it leads to a sack or an interception.”

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by Michael Baldwin
Redhawks, Barons, MLB, NFL Reporter
Mike Baldwin has been a sports reporter for The Oklahoman since 1982. Mike graduated from Okmulgee High School in 1974 and attended Oklahoma Christian University, graduating with a journalism degree in 1978. Mike's first job was sports editor...
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