Last season, it took nearly five games before OU had eight drives that lasted at least 3:50.
So this year's defense is getting plenty of time to catch their breaths — and adjust — between drives.
“For the offense to be able to pound defenses like that, for us to get our rest, we love that as a defense,” cornerback Zack Sanchez said. “We love cheering those guys on, so that helps a lot.”
Lynn felt an immediate difference in the opener, even when the Sooners did struggle offensively early.
Of ULM's 15 drives, 11 lasted four plays or less. Against West Virginia, OU's defense was off the field in three plays or less seven times out of 14.
“We were on defense a lot, but we were getting three-and-outs,” Lynn said. “I didn't feel winded at all. It definitely showed up.”
The Sooners aren't likely to keep up their average of more than 310 rushing yards per game — the most they've averaged since Stoops took over 15 years ago was 208.4 yards per game in 2004. But if the Sooners are able to keep up the improvement in the ground game and the corresponding bump in time of possession, the defense figures to benefit later in the year.
“If you are running the football, you are controlling the line of scrimmage.” Sooners defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said. “At times last year, we weren't able to do that on either side of the ball. That's what we have to get better at and we're making a conscious effort to be more physical on the line of scrimmage on both sides.”
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