Defensive effort against Baylor leaves OU's Mike Stoops seething
BY GUERIN EMIG World Sports Writer
Monday, November 12, 2012
11/12/12 at 5:27 AM
Related Story: OU Football Notebook: Stopping the run
NORMAN - Mike Stoops saw the points and yards that Baylor put on his Oklahoma defense Saturday, and he reacted how any self-respecting defensive coordinator would.
"We need to play better defense if we want to go the places we want to go," Stoops said after OU's 42-34 victory.
The Sooners want to go to a BCS bowl. They still can, regardless of how Big 12 leader Kansas State finishes, if they beat West Virginia, Oklahoma State and TCU the next three weeks.
Beating the Mountaineers and Cowboys the next two Saturdays will require an improved defensive effort, and not just on behalf of OU's players.
"We got out-executed pretty badly in the run game," Stoops said about his team giving up a season-high 252 rushing yards to Baylor, "and that's something we need to evaluate as a staff."
The Sooners were slow to adapt to Nick Florence's quarterback draws, helping explain how Florence rushed for 83 yards. They looked confused while substituting at times and got out of whack.
"Quick subbing and trying to get matchups is a problem. I didn't handle that well all night," Stoops said. "I was late and hesitant."
Other shortcomings were on the players. Lack of playmaking, for instance. The Sooners didn't force a single turnover.
While coach Bob Stoops noted his defensive backs had their hands "on three or four balls," safety Javon Harris said: "Gotta catch 'em."
It is becoming a problem. OU has forced just one turnover over its last three games. They are minus-2 in turnover margin to rank eighth in the Big 12. They have just 11 takeaways in nine games, good for 102nd nationally.
"We didn't get any turnovers. We didn't get any batted balls from the defensive line," defensive end David King said Saturday. "It's hard to win a game when you don't have any turnovers and you go 80 to 90 plays."
The Bears ran 84.
"We couldn't get a deflection ... something," Mike Stoops said. "You've got to make a play at some point, somebody. That kept them in the game."
So did the Sooners' inability to stop Baylor when it counted. The Bears went 5-for-5 on third down during a late first-half touchdown drive that pulled them to within 21-17. They converted three third downs and twice on fourth down during their final scoring drive.
Again, it is a matter of playmaking. Again, it is an issue beyond Saturday's victory. The Sooners are seventh in the Big 12 in third-down defense, and 74th nationally.
The quicker you get your defense off the field against Oklahoma State and West Virginia, the better. The Sooners must bite down harder the next two weeks.
They must be more dynamic. They must be more sound in their game-planning. They must do some of the basics better. Like tackling, something Mike Stoops called "atrocious" Saturday.
"Guys were out there flopping all over the place," King said. "We've done a poorer and poorer job tackling as the season's progressed. Either we've gotta fix it or we're gonna start getting beat."
Original Print Headline: Defense against Baylor leaves Stoops seething
Guerin Emig 918-581-8355
Oklahoma's Trey Millard runs the ball under pressure from Joe Williams of Baylor during their football game. MIKE SIMONS / Tulsa World