The Norman Transcript

OU Football

March 27, 2014

Spring has been smoother ride for Knight

(Continued)

NORMAN —

Getting ahead: Last spring OU was still running a 4-3 defense. The shift to a 3-4 alignment didn’t hit full stride until preseason practice began.

“We’re lightyears ahead of a year ago. A year ago we weren’t even in our system yet at this time. Now we’re not only in it, we’ve expanded it and smoothed and polished it out,” Stoops said.

The ironing process means figuring out ways to better utilize outside linebacker Eric Striker and nickelback Julian Wilson. The goal is to get Striker, who recorded 6 1/2 sacks last season, in more pass rushing situations, and Wilson, one of OU’s best defensive backs, more in pass coverage.

Those are aspects of the scheme defensive coordinator Mike Stoops and the defensive staff have studied in the offseason.

“We’re starting to, I feel with Mike and our defensive coaches, get our guys in the best spots,” Bob Stoops said. “I think it will really help us.”

Numbers game: Knight played in eight games last season. But he only threw for 819 yards, including the 348-yard performance in the Sugar Bowl.

On Tuesday, he said he’d like to throw for more yards in 2014, but he did not have a definite goal.

“This place has been known for their passing game, and that’s what we still want to be known for but with adding the QB run game, it kind of changes the dynamic,” he said. “Last year was the first year we had that in so things changed a little bit. The dynamic’s changing a little bit now that we’ve got some guys that can pull the ball down and run. We still want to get our passing yards but I think it’s just opened it up a little bit more for us.”

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