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OU football: Mike Stoops' defense passes early test

The defense lost the spring game Saturday, but the unit held its own against a high-powered offense.
BY MIKE BALDWIN, Staff Writer, mbaldwin@opubco.com Published: April 15, 2012

Returning defensive coordinator Mike Stoops is a secondary specialist. A question entering spring football was whether Stoops could have an immediate impact on an Oklahoma secondary that had meltdowns last season.

Based on interviews the past month, followed by a fairly solid showing in Saturday's spring game, the answer is yes.

The defense gave up only one long pass play in a 22-21 “loss” that most would consider a “win.”

The offense scored only two touchdowns all day, and the final one was with down-the-roster players on the field.

On the other 17 possessions, the offense produced a 60-yard touchdown pass, three field goals, a missed field goal ... and 12 punts.

“I've been encouraged with our guys for all of camp,” Stoops said. “Pass coverage is all 11 guys. It's not just the four guys or the five guys in the back. It's underneath, pressuring the quarterback. It all works together.”

The defense reportedly has held its own much of the spring matched against an offense that should rank among the nation's highest-scoring units.

Stoops started camp by telling his defensive troops they were getting a fresh start. Then, he stripped down the scheme, adding a little at a time.

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