By John Shinn
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Play defense in the Big 12 Conference and you’re going to see a little bit of everything. Kansas State will try to hammer at teams with a heavy dose of the quarterback run game. Texas Tech has no problem throwing the ball 60 times.
The one thing you don’t see very often is the pro style attack Oklahoma will face in the Sugar Bowl against No. 3 Alabama.
“It’s going to be a little different. We kind of got that feel a little bit against Texas, you know, going against pro-style type of plays and offensive schemes. But we don’t necessarily see offenses like this too much in the Big 12. It’s going to be different,” OU cornerback Aaron Colvin said. “But this is what’s good about this little period of time off, is we get to practice it and constantly repetition it, basically. I feel like it’s going to be OK. It’s going to be different, but we just have to adjust.”
The adjustments OU has to make aren’t centered on being able to line up two seconds after the ball is put in play. The Crimson Tide does not run an up-tempo offense. They do motion a lot and make defenses react to it.
“They’re just very well-coached. They execute. They understand schemes very well and how to attack coverage well and attack weaknesses of certain coverages. You have to be aware of what’s going on,” OU defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said. “There’s a lot of movement in their offense, and understanding where we need to be and why we need to be there, I think, is critical in being able to match up with these guys.”
Better safe than sorry: Trevor Knight’s running ability is an element OU cannot do without. The problem has been keeping him on the field. He’s started four games and suffered injuries in two (West Virginia and Oklahoma State).
Knight took the blame for shoulder injury he suffered against the Cowboys. He said he should’ve gotten out of bounds instead extending the third-and-goal play when nothing was there.
The coaching staff told him the same thing.
“They told me I needed to protect myself and protect my body,” Knight said. “That was totally self enforced on my part. I was trying to make a play. That’s football and things are going to happen. But I have to try to protect myself a little bit more.”
Special teams improvement: OU would not be preparing to play in the Sugar Bowl without the play of its special teams. After all, it only scored one touchdown with its offense on the field against Oklahoma State.
Jalen Saunders had a punt return for a touchdown in that game and has returned two for touchdowns in the last three games. But OU went out and hired Jay Boulware as its special teams coordinator in February. Clearly, the hiring has paid off.
“Jay’s done a great job. I think it’s like anything. Sometimes your guys hitting the ball are a little bit better or more experienced. You get caught and some years you’re not,” OU coach Bob Stoops said … “Jay has come in and Jay has a lot of experience with it and has done a really good job with them.”
All-star game invites: Saunders and Colvin received invites to the Senior Bowl (Jan. 25 in Mobile (Ala.) earlier this week. Brennan Clay and Gabe Ikard were invited and accepted invitations to the East-West Shrine Game Tuesday. The East-West Shrine Game will be played on Jan. 18, 2014 in St. Petersburg (Fla.).
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