OU pass defense vs. Tech passing attack
The best pass defense in the nation will face the No. 2 passing offense Saturday at 2:30 p.m. when Texas Tech travels to Norman to take on Oklahoma is a critical Big 12 game.
Oklahoma is entering a two-game stretch against undefeated, Top-10 ranked opponents that will determine if the Sooners can repeat at Big 12 champions.
“The next two weeks we have Texas Tech and Baylor coming up and it’s important that we control the time of possession and we keep their offenses off the field,” said OU center Gabe Ikard. “Both those teams have been doing really special things on offense, especially Baylor with all the points they are putting up. Right now though, our complete focus is on Texas Tech, preparing for a tough defense that moves around a lot and gives you a bunch of different looks. We are going to need to get in the film room a lot for them. They show you a lot of different things and there is really no rhyme or reason; they just sprinkle things in here and there. We are completely aware that they’re undefeated coming in here, but we are excited to be home, playing a top-ten team. It will be a great challenge. We are very excited to be in front of a home crowd because we have been on the road for the past couple weeks.”
No. 9 Texas Tech is 7-0 under first-year coach Kliff Kingsbury – a former standout quarterback for the Red Raiders. Next up is a rare Thursday night game against No. 5 Baylor at Waco on Nov. 7. A loss versus Tech or Baylor would probably knock the Sooners out of the conference title race and a chance for an at-large bid for a BCS bowl.
OU coach Bob Stoops said it is still too early to call the Big 12 race.
“We’re only midway through the year,” Stoops said Monday. “You have five games left you have to try and win and hopefully a bowl game from there.”
The BCS rankings were released Sunday (see chart) and Oklahoma is No. 15 (but ranked No. 12 in the USA Today/coaches poll). The BCS does not count the Associated Press poll. Six of the top 11 teams lost last Saturday and there are 19 games left among teams ranked in the Top 20 of the BCS rankings.
After a sluggish start, OU pulled away from Kansas Saturday for a 34-19 victory.
After digging a hole with a 13-0 deficit in the first quarter, the OU defense pretty much shut down Kansas in the last three quarters.
“Give Kansas credit,” Stoops said. “They gave us some different formations but to be honest, we had practiced those and we were anticipating them but we didn’t react well to them. Sometimes our guys just need to do a better job of recognizing some things and getting adjusted. As much as we talk to them about it we still have to do it. Eventually we did, we settled down somewhere there kind of mid second quarter and at halftime we made sure we went through it again and then we came out in the second half with all the same plays and formations and gave up, I think, 28 or 29 yards the whole second half. It’s just recognizing it and getting it handled.”
Ikard said the slow start against Kansas is puzzling but corrections will be made.
“You come out and you go three-and-out and you wonder what happened,” Ikard said. “In Kansas, we ran a couple plays where we knew there would be an unblocked guy and that guy made a good play on defense. We just need to be more efficient in the run game. We need to give Coach [Josh] Heupel more trust in us and the offensive line. That comes with moving the ball down the field and having the run game rather than throwing the ball everywhere. We need to keep working on that in practice, the run game, and build more confidence. When it comes down to it, it’s about confidence and executing well, but there have been one or two guys that are off and you don’t have good plays. That’s something we cannot do against Texas Tech. We know how explosive they are and that they traditionally put up a lot of points.”
OU leads the nation in pass defense, allowing only 149 yards per game. OU is fourth in team passing efficiency defense.
The Sooners are No. 9 in total defense, giving up 293 yards per game and tied for ninth in scoring defense, surrendering 17 points per game. The smothering Sooner defense is ranked eighth in the country in first downs defense.
In a switch from the last 10 years, OU is ranked No. 97 in passing offense with only 194 yards per game. The Sooners are No. 17 in rushing (227 yards per game) and No. 60 in total offense at 422 yards per game. The scoring offense is No. 63 at 30 points per game.
Texas Tech is No. 2 in passing offense with 416 yards per game and No. 6 in total offense at 548 yards per contest. The Red Raiders come in a No. 98 in rushing with only 131 yards per game. Tech is No. 30 in total defense (358 yards per game) and No. 16 in scoring defense, allowing 18.7 points per game.
With a 7-0 record, the Red Raiders have soared to a No. 9 ranking (USA Today/coaches poll) and the No. 10 spot in the inaugural BCS poll.
Kingsbury has installed a high-octane offense, similar to what he used last year as offensive coordinator at Texas A&M.
Stoops said Kingsbury’s offense at Texas Tech is similar to what the Sooners faced against Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl last year.
“I think as much as anything we are very familiar with this type of offense because its roots are with Mike Leach, Hal Mumme and all those guys and we still have elements of it in our offense,” Stoops said. ” It’s that same system that Tech has had for a good number of years now. Kliff has his wrinkles to it and all but again, all those principles you can see, you know, Kliff was taught by Mike Leach. So we recognize it. It’s still difficult to stop though.”
Stoops praised the play of the Tech quarterbacks.
“Both their quarterbacks have done well and you can tell they are really disciplined in how they work it,” Stoops said.
The Red Raiders have had little difficulty with injuries to their quarterbacks. “They’ve dealt with it very well and again I credit it to Kliff and their staff,” Stoops said. “They run their offense with a lot of discipline and all those guys have been able to throw the ball well. They’ve done a good job of being able to handle it.”
Ikard is ready for the challenge. “Our first goal is to run the football efficiently,” he said. “We have been doing that; you take the yards out from the sacks and we are running for a good clip. We have run the ball for over five yards a carry these past weeks and that has been good for us. But we need our first goal to be starting quicker. We are starting too slow these last two games and that has got to change. We need to come out, play fast and get points on the board early so that we are not putting our defense in a bad spot..”