NORMAN — Standing next to cornerback Demontre Hurst, free safety Tony Jefferson said the difference in the defense's 22-21 “loss” Saturday in Oklahoma's spring game was Hurst dropped an interception midway through the fourth quarter.
“That's three points,” Jefferson quipped, poking Hurst in the ribs. “If he doesn't drop it we'd have had a two-possession lead.”
Turnovers were worth three points in a unique scoring system that matched OU's offense versus the defense Saturday afternoon at Gaylord Family — Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.
Fourth-string quarterback Kendal Thompson directed an 80-yard touchdown drive in the final minutes against the third-string defense to rally the offense to a “win” in front of 20,509 fans.
But other than struggling against the run at times early in the game, and one long pass play, OU's defense played well Saturday afternoon under returning defensive coordinator Mike Stoops.
The offense's only long play the entire game came late in the first quarter. Quarterback Blake Bell rolled to his right and threw a 60-yard touchdown pass to Jaz Reynolds, who got one step behind Javon Harris.
“I thought for the most part they showed good discipline,” said coach Bob Stoops. “The scramble play that happens once in a while to balls thrown over the opposite shoulder. The receiver can see it and the DB loses it. You don't want it to happen but it's not like it was a clean play.”
It was the only deep ball of the day.
Mike Stoops emphasized it's not just the secondary that plays a role on deep balls. The Sooners must develop a consistent pass rush. Playing without three defensive line starters nursing minor injuries, the defense compiled only two sacks.
“I think we're going to be a very complete defense,” Mike Stoops said. “When we come back in August we'll have some guys that weren't with us today that we desperately need. Our pass rush needs to improve. But we'll need to continue keeping position on the football when it comes to deep balls.”