Plain and simple, but for three very questionable games, the 2012 Sooner defense really was better than the 2011 defense. And in two of those three games, against Baylor and West Virginia, Stoops played with his schemes in a way that he would later call “criminal.”
“It was criminal a lot of positions we put those guys in,” he said.
The history lesson comes in service of a very simple point. Though there are many things OU can’t do today, like win a national championship or a BCS bowl trophy, one thing can still happen: Mike Stoops and the Sooner defense can get their redemption.
They can beat an offense guided by the Heisman Trophy winner, Johnny Manziel, who’s averaging 98.4 yards per game on the ground and 284.9 through the air, propelling an offense that’s averaging 552.3 yards per game, that’s picked up at least 600 yards six times and that beat Alabama (even if it only picked up 418 that day).
Can the Sooner defense get to Manziel? Can it rise up against one of the nation’s best offenses?
“I think we can and I know we will have the opportunity to do it,” Sooner safety Tony Jefferson said. “It will come down to us being disciplined in our assignments.”
Could it be that simple?
Might the Sooners just return to something like their base defense and hope to make plays? Or will the wrinkles both sides of the ball have the time to formulate offer a new look to the Aggie offense, one OU hopes fares better than the wrinkes thrown at Baylor and West Virginia?
There’s precedent for Stoops coming up with a fantastic defensive plan against a foe many believe superior. That remains the story of OU’s last national championship, when Florida State scored only on a safety and coach Bobby Bowden had no idea what hit his Seminole offense.