"It was a huge blow.”
Not that Venables is leaning on the loss of Reynolds as an excuse.
He described his unit’s performance at Kansas State on Saturday as "disgusting.”
While the Sooners won by 23 and the defense created five turnovers, the Wildcats struck for 28 first-half points behind a slew of big plays.
"Unsatisfied,” was how Lewis said he felt afterward. "We made a lot of plays, but we gave up a lot of plays.”
Venables assures that he’s committed to getting the defense fixed — and fast.
Still, a true fix might take time.
"We have to do a better job, obviously, of playing more consistently,” Venables said. "That’s part of the maturation process. We’ll hope to grow.
"It’s having a sense of pride, too, not to allow those to happen and be acceptable.”
OU’s defense is hardly a total wreck. A Sooner has been tabbed Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week for three of the past four Saturdays, including Lewis this week.
Enemy offenses haven’t marched all over the Sooners, as much as struck for critical big plays here and there.
They’re on the field more, too, with the OU offense scoring rapidly as a rule.
Scoring is up, especially in the Big 12, where the proliferation of the spread has forced defenses to adjust. For now, they lag behind. Historically, defenses have caught up to trendy offenses.
Will they again?
"I think things will continue to come around,” Venables said. "You certainly hope so. History has a way of repeating itself. So my answer would be yes.
"When that’s going to take place may not be in your or my lifetime.”