The Norman Transcript

September 9, 2013

OU moves up in the polls

By John Shinn
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — The victory over West Virginia gave Oklahoma a boost in the polls. It rose two spots in the latest Associated Press Top 25 to No. 14 on Sunday. The Sooners also hopped two spots in the USA Today coaches poll to No. 13.

The Sooners are one of four Big 12 Conference teams currently ranked in the AP poll. Oklahoma State jumped to No. 12. Baylor also nudged up a spot to No. 22. TCU remained at No. 24 for the second straight week.

There were five ranked Big 12 teams a week ago, but Texas plummeted out of them after its 40-21 loss to BYU, a loss which cost defensive coordinator Manny Diaz his job.

Calling out the receivers: The quarterback play hasn’t been great, but OU coach Bob Stoops called out the receivers after the West Virginia game for spotty play.

Three plays really stood out. In the first quarter, Knight threw an accurate ball on a third-and-9 from the West Virginia 27 that could have converted a first down, but receiver Jaz Reynolds slipped to the turf.

Early in the second quarter, wide receiver LaColtan caught a 32-yard pass, but fumbled it away at the West Virginia 18.

On the next drive, an audible was called on a third-and-four from West Virginia 25. Wide receiver Sterling Shepard was supposed to run a fade route, but blocked instead. Knight was sacked and fumbled for another turnover.

“I understand some of it’s on Trevor,” Stoops said, “but some of it is the guys around him not playing as well as they’re capable either — in particular at the receiver positions.”

Feeling it: OU running back Brennan Clay set a career high with 170 rushing yards Saturday night. He and running back Damien Williams were the offensive workhorses. OU ran 78 plays and 43 were handoffs to Clay (22 carries) or Williams (21) carries.

Clay said the workload allowed to get into the flow of the game

“It feels a lot better when you get 20 carries like this. You really get a feel for the defense, and you’re able to get in a rhythm,” he said. “It helps with the no-huddle, too, because you just get going and you’re able to be productive.”

Leading the league: Through two games, the Sooners lead the Big 12 in the two most important defensive categories: scoring defense (3.5 points per game) and total defense (276.5 yards per game).

“Everyone is just buying in to what the coaches are teaching us, and everyone is just buying in to each other,” linebacker Corey Nelson said. “A lot of people are being selfless out there, and when you’re selfless on defense you can make big plays happen. That’s how defenses are formed.”

The last time OU gave up seven points or less in a two-game span was in 2009. That was also the last year the Sooners finished in the top 10 in total defense.

John Shinn

Follow me @john_shinn