NORMAN — There was no sigh of relief for Oklahoma defensive coordinator Mike Stoops Saturday night. Even though his group held Kansas to 67 yards in the final three quarters of Saturday’s 34-19 victory, that first quarter was still fresh on his mind.
Kansas copied a game plan Texas laid out the previous week and ran the ball down the Sooners’ throat in the first quarter. Much like what happened in the Cotton Bowl a week earlier, the Sooners needed time to adjust.
“We’re not fitting and positioning the run game the way it needs to be positioned. When you don’t position it right, they’re gonna get yards,” he said. “It’s what’s not good with us right now. They’re creating these unbalanced formations and there’s some movement that has to take place within your defense to get guys in position and we’re not in position.
Starting in the middle of the second quarter we adjusted better. Guys had to see what they were doing to us.”
Perhaps the adjustment period wouldn’t be as long if linebacker Corey Nelson were still on the field. But that’s not an option. Nelson’s season ended with the pectoral surgery he underwent last week.
What happened in the second half showed the problem wasn’t physical — at least against Kansas. OU’s defense dominated the final 45 minutes. The only touchdown it gave up was on a 6-yard run set up by a blocked punt.
But the Sooners are about to face some much more explosive teams. They face No. 10 Texas Tech (7-0, 4-0 Big 12) at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Owen Field. No. 5 Baylor follows Nov. 7 in Waco, Texas.
Those teams have the Big 12’s best offenses. Struggle for a quarter against either and the gap gets too big to overcome.