The Norman Transcript

Sports

January 14, 2013

Plenty of holes for Sooners to fix next season

NORMAN — After a second straight 10-3 season, Oklahoma appears to be in a holding pattern. Yes, it shared the Big 12 Conference title with Kansas State this past season — OU’s eighth conference title since 2000. But did it elevate its play from the previous year?

Some key personnel will change as the Sooners prepare for the 2013 season. Key players from the last three seasons — Landry Jones, Kenny Stills, Tony Jefferson and Tom Wort — are gone. OU’s coordinators — Josh Heupel and Mike Stoops — remain in place, but how well they handle a league where offenses continue to put up record-setting totals, while defenses seemingly fall farther behind.

The Sooners are in a rebuilding mode. They need to come up with a plan that not only keeps as the perennial team to beat in the Big 12, but one capable of staying in the national championship hunt and winning it.

“We’re gonna do all we can to improve and compete for the Big 12 and hopefully the national (championship),” he said. “That’s what we try and do every year.”

Here’s five things OU must improve on for it to happen in 2013:

Improved production from the defensive line: The Sooners were 112th in tackles for loss with 55. The total was the lowest about half of what OU averaged the previous five seasons (102.2).

Stoops said some of decrease was due to OU blitzing less under Mike Stoops than it did under previous defensive coordinator Brent Venables.

The defensive line struggled to come up with negative plays. Less than half of the tackles for loss were made by linemen. The Sooners must create more pressure on offenses than it did this season and starts up front.

“Can we find a better balance? Hopefully,” Stoops said. “We can blitz more and do some things stun wise to get more tackles for loss and still not give up big plays.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
  • OU V Texas Casey sparks Sooners at the plate against Longhorns

    Oklahoma put runners in scoring position all night, but midway through Thursday’s series opener against Texas, the Sooners couldn’t do much with them. Heading into the bottom of the fifth, they had stranded a handful of runners, including ...

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tigers take series with Timberwolves

    Heather Jones made her final Crosstown Clash contest a game to remember....

    April 18, 2014

  • Shannon won’t face criminal charges

    Oklahoma linebacker Frank Shannon will not face criminal charges for an alleged sexual assault. Any punishment he receives will be through the University....

    April 18, 2014

  • Offense disappears in shutout loss to Mountaineers

    Everything Oklahoma did Thursday night looked rushed. It fell behind quickly, hacked at pitches early in counts and even recorded outs in a time-efficient manner....

    April 18, 2014

  • Sooners eager for title shot

    After fighting all season long to stay near the top of the women’s gymnastics rankings, the time has come for Oklahoma to show it belongs there. The NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships kick-off at 1 p.m. today and the second ranked ...

    April 18, 2014

  • North girls escape with win over ESF

    EDMOND — Ranked No. 5 in the state and the winners of six straight games, three of them over top 10 teams, the Norman North girls looked every bit the dominant team Thursday night at Edmond Santa Fe … right up until they flirted with ...

    April 18, 2014

  • Fieger leads Senior PGA

    PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Gene Fieger shot a 3-under 69 in windy conditions Thursday to take a four-stroke lead in the Senior PGA Professional National Championship....

    April 18, 2014

  • Kuchar builds on momentum

    HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. — There were no major letdowns for Masters contenders Matt Kuchar and Jordan Spieth at the RBC Heritage on Thursday. Kuchar, who tied for fifth at Augusta National, shot a bogey-free 5-under 66 to share the ...

    April 18, 2014

  • Angel Jimenez set for Champions Tour debut

    DULUTH, Ga. — Miguel Angel Jimenez’s starring role in the best Masters ever for players 50 and over was the perfect lead-in for his Champions Tour debut....

    April 18, 2014

  • Puig focuses on baseball despite issues

    SAN FRANCISCO — Yasiel Puig believes he has the support from his Los Angeles Dodgers teammates and the club to help him keep his focus on baseball despite challenges off the field....

    April 18, 2014

Facebook