The Norman Transcript

Sports

March 8, 2013

Practice sessions will be testing ground for new defensive tactics

(Continued)

NORMAN —

Bobby Jack Wright will shift from defensive ends coach to overseeing the cornerbacks. Wright was the secondary coach from 2005-09. Experience won’t be an issue. The move will also allow Mike Stoops to spend more time coordinating the defense and working with the safeties.

The changes come as OU searches for a more effective way to combat offenses that get more prolific every season. The Sooners allowed 398.1 yards per game last season and allowed 25.46 points per game. But the games that stick out were four of the last five. The Sooners allowed a combined 2,325 yards and an average of 43 points in games against Baylor, West Virginia, Oklahoma State and the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic against Texas A&M.

The trait all four shared was the ability to spread the field with four wide receivers and run the ball with the quarterback.

Stopping the run was the major issue. OU often used six defensive backs to combat the receivers. The personnel decisions made them extremely susceptible to the run.

“I think our scheme did a little bit of an injustice to our linebackers a year ago,” Mike Stoops said. “I sound redundant, but I don’t know how else to say it: When you’re going against four wideouts 70 percent of the game, that’s extraordinary and it limits some of the things these guys can do. We’re gonna try to keep two linebackers on the field as much as we can in each situation.”

The next 14 practices and the April 13 spring game will be the time to experiment.

John Shinn

Follow me @john_shinn

jshinn@normantranscript.com

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