OU football notebook: Plenty of respect
BY ERIC BAILEY World Sports Writer
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
11/14/12 at 2:24 AM
Jamarkus McFarland will not let West Virginia be defined by the Mountaineers' current four-game losing streak.
The Oklahoma defensive tackle expects a tough battle during Saturday's 6 p.m. road contest.
"They're a great opponent. Their record doesn't show how good they are right now," McFarland said. "They have great talents on offense. We've gotta be ready. They're like any other team we see in this conference."
West Virginia's results don't tell the whole story, McFarland added.
"They've been struggling here and there the last few weeks, but they've been right in every game," McFarland said. "We don't look at it as a loss; we look at how they played that whole game.
"They had spurts and stuff like that and they had a chance to win all those games."
Getting better: West Virginia has lost four consecutive games, which is the program's longest skid since 2001.
Coach Dana Holgorsen said is frustrating to the coaches and players.
"There is only one way to get on track and there is only one way that you can win in college football," Holgorsen said. "I don't care what conference you are in. The only way you win is by hard work. We are going to work hard."
The second-year West Virginia coach was asked during his Tuesday news conference if playing Oklahoma would help the team focus.
"As many challenges that exist with Oklahoma, I don't see how it can't help," Holgorsen said. "... we are playing a challenging team just like we faced a challenge last week at Oklahoma State (a 55-34 loss)."
Heading east: Quarterback Landry Jones said the West Virginia game has been in the back of his mind for weeks.
"I think we've always kind of looked forward to this game because they're new in our conference and I've never really played these guys," Jones said. "I've never been to Morgantown or anything like that. Everybody's real excited to go up there and play them."
No significant changes: West Virginia's spread attack has been slowed by zone coverages during recent weeks.
Does that mean Oklahoma will abandon its man-to-man coverage style that's brought success this season? Not exactly.
"We're not going to change drastically in what we do and our approach week in and week out is going to be systematically very similar," OU defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said. "But techniques need to change and certain ways, we can play things better certainly. But again, they're going to do what they do, we've got to do what we do and see how it all matches up."
OU has only allowed three touchdown passes through nine games this season and ranks second nationally in pass efficiency defense.
Describing Geno: Mike Stoops has been impressed by Mountaineers quarterback Geno Smith this season.
"He's got an arm like Landry (Jones) and can throw it to the field, throw it deep. He can throw it anywhere and he can hit his spots," Stoops said. "That's what makes him unique, his ability to throw the football and get it there quickly. He doesn't give you a lot of time to close on it.
"So, he's very accurate and he's very mobile. He's the real deal, and your coverage has to be tight."