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Rohde: Even in victory, OU defense has fans in despair

By John Rohde Modified: October 26, 2008 at 10:46 am •  Published: October 25, 2008
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photo - OU's DeMarco Murray leaps over Ray Cheatham of Kansas State during the college football game between the University of Oklahoma and Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas, Saturday, October 25, 2008.  BY BRYAN TERRY, THE OKLAHOMAN
OU's DeMarco Murray leaps over Ray Cheatham of Kansas State during the college football game between the University of Oklahoma and Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas, Saturday, October 25, 2008. BY BRYAN TERRY, THE OKLAHOMAN
MANHATTAN, Kan. — For three weeks, Oklahoma football fans ranted about the Sooners not being able to run the ball.

With OU now able to gain ground yardage, offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson and his linemen have been granted a stay of execution.

The bull's-eye of criticism is now focused squarely on the forehead of Sooners defensive coordinator Brent Venables.

Some want Venables lined up against a brick wall and given no blindfold, no cigarette and no last request.

Ready, aim, fire him.

Sadly, such are the high-stakes demands of OU football, and they always will be.

Despite all their horrifyingly unacceptable tribulations this season, the Sooners are 7-1 and were holding steady at No. 4 in the national rankings heading into the weekend.

And yet, certain fanatics are in despair.

They no doubt viewed OU's 58-35 victory over Kansas State at Bill Snyder Family Stadium on Saturday as an eyesore.

Both teams combined for almost 1,100 total yards and nearly 100 points.

The Wildcats couldn't stop OU.

The Sooners couldn't stop KSU.

Such is the state of college football.

As nauseated as some OU fans are with the defense, no one is more nauseous than Venables.

"It's disgusting football," Venables said. "You hate it. It's not what we're about. It's not acceptable. It definitely isn’t going to be a culture that we allow.

"I've seen us play a lot better. Our first four or five games we played pretty good. The big plays have just killed us ... crazy stuff has happened. It's just inconsistent, bad football at times."

Here's the oddity: You can blame the Sooners' defense for giving up nearly one-third of a mile to KSU, but that defense caused five turnovers that allowed the OU offense to tie a school-record with 55 points in one half.

Give both teams zero turnovers on Saturday, and this game was a tossup.

"Those turnovers flipped that game over for us," Wilson said.

The OU defense gaveth and tooketh away, and this game of give and take figures to continue all season.

"Maybe we didn’t play great in some phases," Wilson said, "but when you go on the road and you win by more than three touchdowns, and you put a bunch of points on the board, and you have some good plays on the special teams, to me that means there was a lot of good football out there."

Coaches get frustrated, just like players and fans get frustrated.

A few weeks back, OU's defensive side wanted more from its offensive side.

Now it's vice versa.

"You know, each week's different," Wilson said.

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