SOONERS DEFENSE STAYS DIVERSE
Oklahoma still used primarily a three-man front on defense against Notre Dame but used it in different ways than it did the first three games of the season.
The Sooners regularly used four linebackers, with two close to the line of scrimmage on many plays against Notre Dame's offense, which was more traditional than most the Sooners will face.
The defensive scheme allows Oklahoma to change the defense to match the personnel offensively while keeping the same personnel on the field itself.
“To this point, I've liked what I've seen,” OU coach Bob Stoops said. “We have more diversity and more speed on the field, more diversity to blitz, pressure and all those things and different ways to cover to the speed that's on the field.”
Many of the changes were made with Big 12 offenses in mind, Stoops said.
MORNING KICK FOR TEXAS DOESN'T BOTHER STOOPS
Stoops doesn't mind OU-Texas starting at 11 a.m.
“I would take it every time,” Stoops said of the early kickoff. “I think all coaches do. You get tired of waiting around all day. You never mind it when you know you can wake up and go right at it, then get in the easy chair in the afternoon when there's still light out.”
It will be the third consecutive season that the game has started in the morning and the fifth time in six years.
The Sooners have won the last three meetings with the Longhorns, including last year's 63-21 blowout.
Texas (2-2, 1-0) hosts Iowa State this week.
NELSON DOESN'T DROP THE BALL
After dropping a couple of would-be interceptions against Tulsa, Oklahoma linebacker Corey Nelson vowed he wouldn't drop one again if it hit his hands.
“I had to make up for it,” Nelson said. “I told my teammates that I'll make up for it and I did.”
Nelson did it early in Saturday's 35-21 win over Notre Dame when Eric Striker knocked the ball away from Tommy Rees and directly into Nelson's chest. Nelson returned the interception for a touchdown.
“It just came to me. It did,” Nelson said. “I didn't even have to use my hands. But I have been practicing on them and getting better.”
RED-ZONE OFFENSE NOT BIG CONCERN
Stoops wasn't too concerned about his team's red-zone offense after the Sooners failed to come away with a touchdown after having the ball inside the 10, including once with first and goal from the Notre Dame 2.
“A lot of people are going to have problems in the red zone with Notre Dame,” Stoops said. “A lot of people have and a lot of people will. You're not going to be perfect all the time.”
On the first drive, offensive lineman Adam Shead missed a block as Blake Bell was brought down by Stephon Tuitt for a loss of 3 to force a field-goal try.
On the second, running back Damien Williams turned the wrong way, on a second-down play from the Irish 2, resulting in a 6-yard loss for Trevor Knight.
STOOPS REACTS TO KIFFIN FIRING
Stoops said he felt for Lane Kiffin after Kiffin was fired from the USC job after five games this season.
“I always feel for any coach, being a coach, in those situations for sure,” Stoops said. “I'm also very aware administrations and universities also have to do what they feel is right for their own situations. Of course, I think (USC athletic director) Pat Haden is one of the best guys out there. I'm sure it was difficult.”
Stoops isn't surprised at coaches getting fired during the season.
“It's just the way the world is now,” Stoops said. “I don't know what to say about it. I'm not saying it's alarming. People have to do what they feel is right for their programs. It's just how it is.”
BY RYAN ABER AND JASON KERSEY