The Norman Transcript

September 25, 2012

Setting the pace?

By John Shinn
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Oklahoma’s offense has moved at a sporadic pace this season. It hasn’t huddled, but outside of a few series, it hasn’t operated at the rapid pace it had for the previous four years.

The Sooners have seemed to move the ball better when they’ve played at a faster pace.

“For the most part, we’ve done pretty well with it. We have executed better in the hurry-up and we’re aware of it,” Stoops said. “It’s just one of those instances with changing personnel, how fast can you go, or if you feel you need to play and that’s what slows it down sometimes.”

In order to play at a fast pace, OU has to keep 11 players on the field. Any time it substitutes, the defense is given time to do it as well.

Quarterback Landry Jones said the other issue is depth. OU’s offensive line has lost two starters to injry. Also, only five receivers were used against Kansas State.

“You can’t run tempo the entire time. You just get gassed out. We wouldn’t have enough at the end of the game,” Jones said. “That’s why we like to do it in spurts and I think coach (offensive coordinator Josh) Heupel does a good job in doing that whenever we feel like we need to create some momentum.”

Eyes on Jones: Perhaps the most watched player in OU’s locker room for the next two weeks will be Jones. He’s taken a lot of the blame for the loss to Kansas State and has freely accepted it. He’s also the leader of an offensive with only four seniors on the two-deep depth chart.

“I don’t know if ‘look up to me’ is necessarily the right word or anything like that but I guess they’re looking to me just to kind of see where we’re going with this offense and (to) find out what we’re going to be,” Jones said. “We’ve been in this position before and have come out with a whole lot of good seasons. That 2010 season was a really successful year for us and we had two losses on the record and 2008, we go to the national championship, we lost to Texas that year. So this isn’t foreign territory for us.”

More carries needed: OU only ran the ball 27 times against Kansas State. Stoops said running backs Dominique Whaley, who had nine carries for 51 yards, and Damien Williams, who had 10 carries for 38 yards and two catches for 19, need to get the ball more.

“There isn’t an exact number. But you do want guys like Damien and Dom to hopefully get between catching the ball and screens and-or running it, to have their hands on the ball 15 or 20 times, at least,” Stoops said.

The Sooners ran 70 plays against the Wildcats, 10 less than it averaged last season.

Fourth-quarter defense: Statistically OU’s defense was good for three quarters. It kept Kansas State’s offense out of the end zone until the fourth quarter.

“We didn’t play good enough in the fourth quarter. That’s what I know,” defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said. “That’s what’s disappointing to me. We had a chance to win it on defense and we didn’t. We had enough points. We went up 13-10 and let them score two touchdowns. We had our chances to get off the field both times.”

Kansas state scored two touchdowns and ran out the clock on its last three fourth-quarter drives.

“You know, it’s amazing, no one looks at the first three quarters and what you do well. Everyone wants to look at what you do bad in the fourth quarter,” Mike Stoops said. “I know it’s a 60-minute game but we’re not going to disregard what we did well. The media and fans can, that’s OK, that’s what they do. Our players know what we’re doing; what we did good, what we didn’t do well and what we need to get better at.”

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