October 15, 2012

HD: Sooner defense gaining confidence week in, week out

Oklahoma fans might have stayed until Oct. 2- the day the State Fair of Texas leaves Big D- had you let them.

Texas fans didn't even have time to finish their concessions stand soft drink with the first mass exodus of Longhorn faithful out of the Cotton Bowl coming at the 6:28 mark of the second quarter.

Monday afternoon the talk remained. Oklahoma's defensive effort Saturday was the type of performance you don't go forgetting.

"Defensively was equally outstanding in that our No. 1 defense doesn't surrender a point the entire game," said head coach Bob Stoops Monday afternoon at his weekly media luncheon. "I think when they left the game they had only given up 139 total yards when they left with about four and a half minutes to go in the game."

The type of performance some Sooner fans would say is exactly why the red carpet was rolled out for the return of Stoops brother, Mike Stoops.

"I think our players are adjusting to things well. We want them to move a bunch and we not have to move a bunch. They're just playing well and are comfortable in the things we are trying to do," said Stoops Monday evening following practice.

"They understand the strengths and weaknesses very well and are starting to show confidence is probably the biggest part of it and that's when you know you are starting to make some strides. So we're starting to get confident at the right time."

Back-to-back dominating performances in Lubbock and last weekend in the Cotton Bowl has vaulted Stoops defense to No. 14 in the country in terms of total defense.

"We're trying to build a defense that can match up with any offense without trying to totally move a bunch of people constantly," said Stoops.

"I was pleased with just our overall position on the football. Thought we were physical at the point of attack thought we got good pressure on the quarterback and came up with some big turnovers at critical times so overall it was a very complete game."

"There's some things we certainly need to do better and correct but overall really pleased with our players efforts and just the way they played."

A style and swagger on the defensive side of the ball that R.J. Washington called the 'Oklahoma standard'.

"I think it's accumulation of a lot of things. I think we are trying to play up to the Oklahoma standard (and) tired of people saying this saying that, you know?," said the always outspoken Sooner senior.

"We all get along as a team so you want to play for each other. You want to play for your coaches and you want to play for your family. You don't want to let anybody down and you all want to be great so I think a lot of us are playing with a chip on our shoulder I feel like."

A trend that will need to continue if Oklahoma is to keep any national title hopes alive.

Walker making calls

Following Saturday's game Washington brought to light the fact that Sooner senior defensive tackle Casey Walker made a pair of calls that lead pressure on Longhorn quarterback David Asch.

"Casey called one of our games where I got free and I got to tee off on Ash. He was like let's run this and I looked at him and said you're sure that's what we want to do? And I stepped down and it parted like the Red Sea," laughed Washington.

Monday evening Walker talked about his new role in the trenches.

"It's something I've got to get into the flow of doing because I'm not really use to doing that but I guess me being a senior coach (Jackie) Shipp kind of gave us a little leeway of knowing the backfield sets and personnel and giving us the freedom to make those calls."

Which could be a product of Walker and McFarland's joint time in the film room Monday thru Thursday.

"This is new. I think he's found more trust in us as seniors because we do get into the playbooks and watch film a lot to make those adjustments," said Walker.

"If you know what they are going to do you know how they are going to block or what kind of set they are going to give you, you can make those calls to defend that."

A positive that should come for everybody involved on a defensive front that has continued to grow with the return of Walker.

"I thought we got better this weekend but it's kind of shown what we've been working on letting us talk a little bit more and freelance and be more vocal with each other reading our keys and growing day by day," said McFarland who ranks on No. 2 on the team in tackles for loss.

"A lot of the guys coming back from last year losing to Tech I feel like we learned the hard way but we got the right mentality right now knowing each week we got to go in and get better and not make the same mistakes and play every play like it's our last."

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