The Norman Transcript

OU Football

September 22, 2013

Flexibility on offense, improvement on defense has Sooners unbeaten

NORMAN — Record-wise, Oklahoma is right where it wants to be. It had the weekend off after getting in some extra preparation for next Saturday’s meeting with No. 22 Notre Dame.

But how much have the 14th-ranked Sooners really displayed in victories over Louisiana-Monroe, West Virginia and Tulsa?

Well, they have displayed a willingness to run the ball that’s been absent for the last two years. OU has run 242 plays and kept it on the ground 62.4 percent of the time. Needing to run clock in the fourth quarter helped push the running stats up. But the Sooners are averaging 5.4 yards per carry as well.

Clearly, this was an offseason emphasis that has paid dividends.

And it stood up even when Blake Bell became the starting quarterback against Tulsa Sept. 14. OU may have rushed for a season-low 194 yards in that game, but it still averaged 4.4 yards per carry.

The move to Bell invigorated the passing game against Tulsa. Bell’s 413-yard, four-touchdown performance adding a missing ingredient from the first two games.

“We have the potential to do anything — run, pass, whatever,” offensive tackle Daryl Williams said. “I don’t think we’ve reached our potential yet. It’s really not surprising to me, or anybody on the offense or the team, what we did on Saturday, or last week or a couple weeks ago, with rushing and with passing.”

Defensively, it’s hard to raise any serious issues with how OU has played in the first three games. The defense has faced 41 drives and given up three touchdowns, one field goal, forced six turnovers and, perhaps most impressively, forced 22 punts.

A strong case has been made that the Sooners are a much better defensive team because — outside of 75-yard touchdown run given up against West Virginia — they’ve allowed few long plays.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
OU Football
  • Stoops doesn’t view athletes as employees

    College sports’ shifting landscape could receive a major jolt Friday when Northwestern’s football players vote on whether or not to form a union....

    April 23, 2014

  • Shannon won’t face criminal charges

    Oklahoma linebacker Frank Shannon will not face criminal charges for an alleged sexual assault. Any punishment he receives will be through the University....

    April 18, 2014

  • OU looking into sexual assault complaint against linebacker

    The “personal issues” that kept Oklahoma linebacker Frank Shannon out of last Saturday’s Red-White Game are serious.
    The Oklahoman reported Wednesday night that Shannon has been accused of violating the University of Oklahoma’s Sexual Misconduct, Discrimination and Harassment Policy.

    April 16, 2014

  • Red White Transfer QB Baker Mayfield shows promise in Red-White Game

    Individual awards were not handed out after Saturday’s Red-White Game. If they had, quarterback Baker Mayfield wouldn’t have left Owen Field empty handed. He only played against defensive backups, but going 9 for 9 for 125 yards and two ...

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Red-White Game more of a treat for the fans

    Oklahoma didn’t play a game as much as it put on a show Saturday at Owen Field. At least, that was the intent....

    April 14, 2014

  • Red White Defense rules the day at spring game

    Fans want to see offense in spring games, and there were a lot of devotees at Oklahoma’s Red-White Game on Saturday. If 43,500 in attendance were hoping for a big day from quarterback Trevor Knight, they walked out of Owen Field ...

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sooner faithful best barometer for progress

    The headline, already up at Oklahoma’s athletic website by 6 p.m. Saturday, read “White Team Prevails in Annual Spring Game,” and if there’s a more meaningless summary of Sooner fortunes, in any sport, before next year’s spring game, I ...

    April 13, 2014

  • A couple of scares

    By his own estimation, Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops thought 16 returning or projected starters were not in uniform for Saturday’s Red-White Game....

    April 13, 2014

  • Red-White Game won’t showcase all the starters

    It has been a bit over four months since Oklahoma played in front of a real audience. That will change at 2 p.m. today when the Sooners take the field for the Red-White game....

    April 12, 2014

  • Grissom trying to make move to linebacker

    The next evolution for Oklahoma’s defense is under way. It’s spent two seasons tinkering to get as much speed on the field as possible....

    April 10, 2014