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OU football: Foes' big plays a big concern for defense

By Jake Trotter Modified: October 29, 2008 at 12:38 pm •  Published: October 29, 2008
NORMAN — Big plays, which defensive coordinator Brent Venables considers a 15-yard run or 25-yard pass or more, have razed Oklahoma’s defense in the last three games.

No unit is without blame.

Against Texas, it was the linebackers.

Against Kansas, it was the secondary.

Against Kansas State, it was the defensive line’s inability to bring down quarterback Josh Freeman, who launched passes downfield almost at will.

"What’s consistent in the last three games is the big plays,” Venables said. "We can’t give away stuff like that. You can’t be Jekyll and Hyde and be any good on defense. It’s momentum, it’s field position, it’s points.

"We have to eliminate those big plays, which we’re certainly capable of doing.”

The big plays have also come in spurts, which have led to frenetic rallies by the opposition.

Texas produced 25 points in 20 minutes. Kansas scored 24 points in 22 minutes. Kansas State put up three touchdowns in just over a quarter.

"The big plays that got us really put us on our heels,” Venables said. "We start to play on our heels a little bit and that takes away some of our aggression.

"It gets you in a funk pretty quick.”

Going forward, OU needs to get out of the funk, at least before late November when back-to-back showdowns against Texas Tech and Oklahoma State will determine whether the Sooners are BCS destined or Cotton Bowl bound.

"The way to fix it is constantly doing our job,” said middle linebacker Austin Box, who made his first career start at K-State.

Nebraska at OU
→When: 7 p.m. Saturday

→Where: Gaylord Family — Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, Norman

→TV: ESPN (Cox 29)

→Radio: KOKC-AM 1520, KRXO-FM 107.7


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