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OU report card: Sooners defensive preparation was lacking

by Berry Tramel Published: October 23, 2011

A disastrous night for the Sooners. Offense, defense, kicking game. The only solid performance came in pre-game ceremonies.


Texas Tech's game plan constantly flummoxed Brent Venables' defense. An inside screen to flanker Alex Torres produced touchdown plays of 44 and 30 yards, and Seth Doege's quarterback keeper – he rarely runs – twice faked out OU and produced first downs. The Sooners were missing three starters on defense, but even the regulars looked out of sorts.


The atmosphere wasn't bad, post-storm, considering the 94-minute delay. About 60,000 of the original 85,204 in the stadium returned for the game. But during the delay, the Sooners had their indoor facility available to stay loose. Tech remained in its cramped visitors locker room. Now that's an advantage.


Here was the difference in how these teams played and how these coaches coached. Late in the third quarter, with a 31-17 lead, Tech coach Tommy Tuberville ordered a fake punt from his 41-yard line, facing 4th-and-4. It failed when OU's Julian Wilson nailed upback Jackson Richards a half yard shy of a first down. With 11 minutes left in the game, with a 34-24 deficit, facing 4th-and-2 from his 45-yard line, OU coach Bob Stoops punted.


Jones had his good moments, and he was plagued early by some inconsistent hands from his receiving corps, but Jones was not as sharp as usual. He played harried, and Josh Heupel's trust in the passing game withered. Just before the Stoops-ordered punt in the fourth quarter, OU faced 3rd-and-2. Heupel ran 194-pound tailback Brennan Clay up the middle. Clay was stuffed for no gain.


Great tradition at OU, with the grads ranging from the 20s to the 70s marching across Owen Field, playing Boomer Sooner. The best sight? The squadron of drum majors, maybe not bent all the way back like in days of yore, but still reminding not only us, but themselves, that there was a time when the world was young.


The Sooners' kickoff coverage was OK, and their kickoff returns were productive. But Michael Hunnicut hooked wide left a 39-yard field goal try on the first play of the second quarter, setting off a disastrous 15 minutes for OU. Then Hunnicut clanged a 28-yard field goal try off the right upright with 2:52 left in the game, which would have brought the Sooners within a touchdown.

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by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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