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September 11, 2013

Silver linings in the defense

NORMAN — One thing that may have been lost in the conversation following Norman High’s big win over Norman North last week is that, despite giving up 38 points, there were plenty of bright spots for the Timberwolves’ defense.

It’s a point that coach Wade Standley is emphasizing to his team this week as they prepare to meet Del City on Friday. And it’s one that watching tape of the Crosstown Clash has only reinforced.

“We saw a lot of good things, and we’re going to continue to get better,” he said. “Obviously we can’t give up the big plays like we did, but we also had some guys step up and make some big plays for us.”

The numbers bear that out. While the T-Wolves gave up 352 yards to the Tigers, nearly 150 of those came on a pair of big runs when NHS’ backs were able to break free. Outside of those two plays, North did a reasonable job of slowing down the Tigers’

prolific rushing game.

The T-Wolves were also a victim of poor field position. North struggled with kicking the ball all night, both from the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.

The T-Wolves resorted to having quarterback David Cornwell quick-kick the ball at times — as well as on kickoffs and traditional punts. It backed up a North defense that returned just one starter this year and allowed the Tigers to start with the ball near midfield more often than not.

Not that the T-Wolves are using any of that as an excuse, but it does support the case that North’s young unit is making strides. The Timberwolves looked bad in the preseason’s first scrimmage against Edmond Santa Fe and Oklahoma commit Justice Hansen, but they showed improvement the next week in a scrimmage against Southmoore, where they stopped the SaberCats on three straight fourth downs.

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