The Oklahoma Sooner defense is a
model of what others aspire to. Defensive
Coordinator/Linebackers Coach Brent Venables has
built a consistent system since arriving in
This season, Oklahoma ranks 18th
in the nation in rushing
defense, 37th in passing
defense, 17th in total
defense and 17th in scoring
defense. The Sooners allow just 15.3
points a game.
The hard-hitting Sooners have
forced 12 fumbles and picked off 17 passes, to go with 23 sacks and 134 tackles
for loss this season.
Rufus Alexander is the heart and soul of the Sooner defense. Alexander finished the regular season with 101 tackles and 10 and a half for loss, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, an interception, three pass deflections and three quarterback hurries. He's joined by middle linebacker Zach Latimer (6-1, 234, Sr.) and sophomore Curtis Lofton (6-0, 235) at the Sam position. Latimer also is a "do everything" linebacker. He had 80 tackles, 10 for loss, three interceptions, six pass breakups, two forced fumbles and three quarterback hurries. Lofton has 33 tackles this season with 4.5 for loss.
Free safety Darien Williams (6-0, 197, Jr.) brings a strong aggressive stance to the Sooner secondary. He will be all over the field. Williams is the third-leading tackler with 67 stops, has 4.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, one interception, four pass breakups, two quarterback hurries, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.
Line play is always important,
but especially in a big game.
Senior C.J. Ah You (6-4, 275) is an All-Big 12 selection who will see plenty of action at one defensive end as well. Ah You has 39 tackles, 8.5 for loss, four sacks and seven quarterback hurries this season. He is known for relentless pursuit and crushing hits on opposing quarterbacks. Birdine has 37 stops, 6.5 for loss, two sacks and five hurries. Thibodeaux has 29 tackles, 7.5 for loss with a sack, an interception, a forced fumble a pass breakup and five quarterback hurries. Coleman has 15 tackles, five for loss with three sacks. Bennett has 26 stops with a tackle for loss.
Nic Harris (6-3, 226) is essentially another linebacker that plays in the secondary. Harris has 63 tackles, 7 tackles for loss, two sacks, four interceptions, eight breakups and five quarterback hurries.
Strong safety Reggie Smith (6-1, 197, So.) is a budding star for Coach Stoops. Smith has three interceptions and eight pass breakups this season. The cornerbacks are Marcus Walker (5-11, 192, Jr.), who has nine breakups and Lendy Holmes (6-1, 196, So.), who has seven.
This is the