OU turnover problem obvious to Stoops
BY GUERIN EMIG World Sports Writer
Monday, September 24, 2012
NORMAN – Of the 120 FBS teams, only four have created just one turnover to this point of the season. Oklahoma is one of the four.
Mississippi State, by comparison, already has created 15. The lowly Kansas Jayhawks have created 13.
Of the 120 FBS teams, OU ranks 105th in turnover margin.
The Sooners coughed it up three times in their 24-19 loss to Kansas State Saturday night, leading directly to 14 Wildcat points, and didn't force a turnover.
So it was no surprise to hear Bob Stoops' response this morning to a question about what requires improvement on his 2-1 team.
"Take care of the football," he said. "When you give up a 14-point swing, it's nearly impossible to win. Then you have to be perfect. That's the one issue."
The swing Stoops referenced encompassed the touchdown lost when Blake Bell fumbled the Belldozer formation snap on second-and-goal from the K-State 1, and the touchdown Landry Jones gave the Wildcats when he was stripped while scrambling near his goal-line.
"He had plenty of time," Stoops said in recapping Jones' fumble Saturday night. "Even when he pulled it down starting to do something with it, he had no immediate pressure.
We've got to get rid of the football and go to the next play. Or punt it. We've got to be more responsible with the football. It's just bad football to play like that."
What Stoops didn't mention in this morning's review was Jones' interception late in the third quarter. That came with OU protecting a 13-10 lead, and it gave K-State possession at the Sooners' 38. Seven plays later, the Wildcats had forged ahead 17-13.
Stoops said the Sooners work ball-security drills "all the time" in practice.
"But when a snap hits you right in the belly," he continued, "or when you try to scramble and you don't put the ball away..."
It's on the players, in other words, to be better aware in game situations.
"I'm not gonna go beat up Landry Jones or our quarterbacks," Stoops said. "But there's only so much you can do."
On the other side of the ledger, OU's only takeaway has come on Javon Harris' interception against Florida A&M Sept. 8. How to improve that?
"Stripping the football," Stoops answered, "or getting more pressure on the quarterback and trying to force some bad plays."
Saturday night, OU never sacked K-State quarterback Collin Klein, and really didn't even bother him the 21 times he dropped back to pass.
Defensive coordinator Mike Stoops and coach Bob Stoops of Oklahoma yell at defensive players during their game against Kansas State on Saturday. MIKE SIMONS/Tulsa World