OU analysis: Sooners need to begin troubleshooting, and quickly
BY JOHN E. HOOVER World Sports Writer
Monday, September 27, 2010
9/27/10 at 7:04 AM
Here's the bottom line with Oklahoma: the Sooners are being whipped up front.
Coaches and analysts have said for decades that the game of football is won in the trenches. That's not necessarily true. OU won all four of its nonconference games this season and only once has walked away playing better on the offensive and defensive lines.
"I know it might be hard to believe, but we still feel like we have a chance to be a great defense," said defensive coordinator Brent Venables. "Obviously we haven't displayed that but in one outing (against Florida State). It's disappointing."
- OU is 89th in the nation in rushing offense, averaging just 120.8 yards per game. OU is 105th in yards per carry, just 2.96 yards per rush. That's well behind such programs as Ohio, Louisiana-Lafayette, Akron and Buffalo. In their last three games, the Sooners have run for 93, 113 and 82 yards.
- OU is 93rd in the nation in rushing defense, allowing 177.5 yards per game. Florida International, Baylor, Temple and Idaho have been better. The Sooners have allowed yardage totals of 421, 458 and 461 in tight wins over Utah State, Air Force and Cincinnati, with much of those totals also coming via the pass.
Here are some stark numbers: Among the 25 teams who remain undefeated, OU ranks 23rd in rushing offense (only Arizona and Indiana are worse) and 24th in rushing defense (ahead of only Kansas State). OU's season total of 43 net yards (1,728 gained, 1,685 allowed) is far and away the lowest among unbeaten teams.
Going into this week's Big 12 opener with rival Texas, the Sooners need to work quickly to identify what's gone wrong, what needs the most attention, what works, what doesn't, and then streamline the game plan on both offense and defense.
Texas may be reeling after a 34-12 sucker-punch home loss to UCLA, but this would be no time for OU players to feel pleased with their house of cards.
vs. Texas (in Dallas)
2:30 p.m. Saturday
Radio: KMOD fm97.5, KTBZ am1430
Original Print Headline: OU needs to begin problem solving
John E. Hoover 581-8384
DeMarco Murray and the Sooners' rushing attack is averaging just 120.8 yards per game. MIKE SIMONS / Tulsa World