Oklahoma’s offense and defense didn’t always play off each other during the 2013 season.
Most notably, the Sooner defense played exceptionally well throughout most of the first half of Oklahoma’s 41-12 loss at Baylor, but eventually ran out of steam because its offense couldn’t stay on the field and score points.
The offense and defense worked much better together, though, in Oklahoma’s 45-31 Sugar Bowl upset of Alabama, defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said last week.
“We get confidence from our offense,” Stoops said. “Scoring points gives us confidence to be more aggressive on defense. I think our team kinda came together in that last game and we really needed our offense, and that let us play with more confidence and swagger in the second half.
“Even though when things got tough, I think our players felt very in control. But that's why it's so important to have a complete team. We like playing from ahead.”
SANCHEZ TAKING ON LEADERSHIP ROLE
With the departure of two-time All-Big 12 cornerback Aaron Colvin, sophomore Zack Sanchez has assumed the leadership role among Oklahoma’s cornerback group.
Sanchez started all 13 games last season for the Sooners as a redshirt freshman, intercepting two passes and recording 46 tackles.
“Being the oldest guy or the most experienced guy at corner, I kind of had to take the leadership role through winter workouts,” Sanchez said. “I have to be more vocal to the younger guys and lead by example, make plays so they see that I’m doing it right and not just talking about it.”
Junior Cortez Johnson and sophomores Stanvon Taylor and Dakota Austin are competing for the starting spot opposite Sanchez next fall.
Co-offensive coordinator Jay Norvell, on his wide receiver group’s mentality last season carrying over to 2014:
“We’ve got a fabulous attitude with this group. There’s a reason we played so well at the end of the year last year, because we had a great attitude and great character. That’s carried over to the offseason. It’s really carried over this spring.”
BY JASON KERSEY