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July 26, 2013

Beleaguered late last year by Big 12 offenses, Sooners aren’t ready to give in

NORMAN — For the last four years, Big 12 Conference defenses have fought a losing battle. The uptempo offenses throughout the league have chewed them up and spit them out.

Last season seemed to be the low point for the defenses. Even the teams that won the league — Kansas State and Oklahoma — allowed more than 23 points per conference game. Kansas State and TCU were the only squads that didn’t allow more than 400 yards per conference game.

The Sooners, who have traditionally been the league’s best defensive program, are coming off a season where they allowed record totals in yards and points. Seeing West Virginia, Baylor, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl run wild left a unit feeling embarrassed and ridiculed.

“Offenses are explosive and offenses are putting up big numbers now, but you can stop it.” OU cornerback Aaron Colvin said Tuesday at Big 12 Media Days. “I think that 400 yards of offense is never a good defensive performance.”

For several years, Big 12 coaches have cited the litany of NFL caliber quarterbacks going through the league. The 2013 NFL Draft marked the first year since 2008 a Big 12 quarterback wasn’t taken in the first round. From 2009-2012, six were selected in the first round.

However, the talent at quarterback seems to be down. Only Texas and Oklahoma State have their established starting quarterbacks returning from last season.

The only school with an established starting quarterback and coaching willing to say he’s No. 1 on the depth chart is Texas (David Ash).

It points toward defensive coordinators finally having an upper hand against first-year starting quarterbacks. But it takes players as well.

“I think some of it gets down to offensive schemes and being able to adjust defensively. There’s always a coaching element to it, and there’s also a personnel element to it, where sometimes you’re more dominant in the personnel that you have on defense as opposed to offense,” OU coach Bob Stoops said.

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