The Norman Transcript

OU Sports

November 9, 2012

Defense to learn how far it has come

(Continued)

NORMAN —

Last season’s game against Baylor displayed the Sooners’ defensive problems for the entire world to see. The Bears scored three touchdowns on plays of 34 yards or longer, including Robert Griffin III’s 34-yard touchdown pass to Terrance Williams with eight seconds left in the 45-38 loss.

Eliminating the long gains will be the key as OU enters this critical three-game stretch. The Bears, Moutaineers and Cowboys all stretch teams out and force them to defend the entire field. One guy loses focus for one play, and the scoreboard starts flickering.

“We need to keep them honest. They’re a big-play team — a home run waiting to happen,” OU safety Javon Harris said of Baylor. “We have to play our defense and continue what we’ve been doing.”

The Sooners have been adept at making all their opponents settle for short gains. There have been errors. The loss to Notre Dame was kick-started when OU gave up a 62-yard touchdown run midway through the first quarter. However, they’ve been rare.

If Baylor’s scoring plays come at the end of 10- or 12-play drives, the Sooners can live with the outcome. Thus far, they’ve been proficient at forcing those drives this season. The next three games, however, will define if the Sooners’ defense has truly turned things around.

John ShinnFollow me @john_shinnjshinn@normantranscript.com

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