The Norman Transcript

Sports

December 20, 2013

Hail the Sooner defense

NORMAN — The role Oklahoma been cast in late in the season is becoming comfortable. It is a sizable underdog for its Sugar Bowl meeting with No. 3 Alabama Jan. 2 in New Orleans.

The Sooners are enjoying the spot they’re in.

“I mean, we’ve been the underdog all year, you know, nobody expected us to do what we’ve done this year, as far as making it to the Sugar Bowl and things like that, and beating some of the teams we’ve beaten,” freshman linebacker Dominique Alexander said. “But I mean, it just pushes us harder.”

Better enjoy it for the next two weeks because it isn’t likely to have much of shelf life beyond the initial days of 2014.

The way the Sooners have closed the season, beating Kansas State and Oklahoma State on the road and reaching a BCS bowl game is the energy boost OU will take into next season.

Defensively, the Sooners will benefit from experience of overcoming adversity in the form of so many injuries, as well as the on-the-field experience gained by so many young players forced into action.

They handled it well enough for OU to finish the regular season No. 13 in the country in total defense. OU hadn’t finished inside of the top 50 since 2009.

“We played pretty consistently all year. I don’t know if we overwhelm you anywhere but our kids play hard and they’re well-prepared for the most part,” OU defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said.

There have been some philosophical changes that have helped.

OU has run the ball more than it ever has during head coach Bob Stoops’ tenure. That’s shortened games and left it’s defense on the field for less plays.

But defense is where the Sooners had drifted the furthest from their national title aspirations. It’s virtually impossible to win one without being a complete team. Both Stoopses knew defense is what had to be rebuilt to get back to that level.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
  • No new updates into police probe of Norman assault incident

    There were no updates in the Norman Police investigation into the incident that left a female University of Oklahoma student with multiple facial fractures on Saturday and Sooner freshman running back Joe Mixon as the focus of the probe....

    July 27, 2014

  • Furyk take three shot lead at the Canadian Open

    Associated Press MONTREAL — Jim Furyk moved into position for his third Canadian Open victory, shooting a 5-under 65 on Saturday to take a three-stroke lead at Royal Montreal....

    July 27, 2014

  • Pair from U.S. will play for Junior title

    THE WOODLANDS, Texas — Davis Riley outlasted Sam Horsfield on the 21st hole Friday in the U.S. Junior Amateur to set up an all-American final against William Zalatoris....

    July 27, 2014

  • Gordon an Indy threat in 20 years at the Brickyard

    INDIANAPOLIS — The reminders that Jeff Gordon won here 20 years ago plaster Indianapolis Motor Speedway....

    July 27, 2014

  • Dillon races to first career Nationwide win

    INDIANAPOLIS — For a first time winner, Ty Dillon had the Brickyard’s winning tradition down as cold as the celebratory beer he chugged outside his car. “We get to kiss the bricks, baby!” he radioed as he crossed the finish line....

    July 27, 2014

  • Zac Selmon joins UNC as associate AD

    Zac Selmon, an associate director of athletic development with the Sooner Club since 2012, has been hired by North Carolina as an associate athletic director and special assistant to Tar Heel athletics director Bubba Cunningham....

    July 28, 2014

  • Italy’s Nibali cruises to Tour victory

    PARIS — Vincenzo Nibali put his lungs and legs to work one last time, marching up to the winner’s podium of the Tour de France and sighing deeply before the Italian anthem echoed over the Champs-Elysees....

    July 28, 2014

  • Jeff Gordon wins at Indianapolis for record fifth time

    INDIANAPOLIS — With a tinge of gray hair at his temples, his hat on backward and his two young children by his side, Jeff Gordon celebrated as if he was 23 years old again. Gordon won a NASCAR-record fifth Brickyard 400 on Sunday, eight ...

    July 28, 2014

  • Scott says he will coach Lakers

    LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Lakers have waited nearly three months to hire a new coach, and they’re apparently making Byron Scott wait a few more days....

    July 28, 2014

  • BoSox snap Rays’ streak

    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — David Ortiz hit a three-run homer, and the Boston Red Sox beat Tampa Bay 3-2 Sunday to end a five-game losing streak and stop the Rays’ longest winning streak in 10 years at nine games....

    July 28, 2014

Facebook