A Conversation With Larry Fedora - Week 12

For Larry Fedora and his offensive players it is not a situation that they haven't experienced before this season. In fact, it is one they have been through and conquered just a couple of weeks ago when they came off a loss and frustrating performance against Texas and bounced back with a season best day against Baylor. Monday was correction day at practice, and reports are it went well.

Many of the corrections were the same, just catching the ball. Drops were a big problem for the offense on Saturday in the 30-24 loss at Texas Tech. They made it tough on the whole offense including quarterback Bobby Reid.

"I think it is always tough on quarterback, especially to have that many passes dropped," Fedora said of the eight drops at Texas Tech. "I think it is tough to get into a rhythm. I think you start pressing sometimes and think you have to do something out of the ordinary when you really don't. You just have to keep doing what you are doing."

To bounce back this week will mean to kick the offense into high gear against what is statistically the best defense in the Big 12. The Sooners are number one in scoring defense, total defense and pass defense. They are second in rushing defense.

"It seems like it has gone this way the entire year with the exception of one or two teams. But this will be the best defense that we've faced," Fedora said of the Sooners defense. "I think they are better than any defense that we've faced and I don't even think it is close. Looking at film throughout the year they are playing better and better. They are playing with more confidence. They are very aggressive, quite a bit of blitzing from all over the place, a lot of zone blitzing more than man. It will be a challenge for us."

On the encouraging side is the aggressive nature of the Oklahoma defense. The Cowboys have had success against aggressive defenses that take chances. Seeing a successful defense means seeing a defense that stays fairly consistent.

"They are either cover two and they will zone blitz out of that or into a three-deep-type of deal," said Fedora. "If you were to say there number one coverage it would be two and then right after that some sort of zone blitz coverage."

Surprisingly, Oklahoma is not among the league leaders in sacks, tackles for losses, or turnover margin. However, Fedora says you have to have success up front against an improving defensive line that did have six sacks and a safety last week against the weakest offensive line in the Big 12 in Baylor.

"Handling the entire defensive front, I know early on a lot of people said their defensive tackles weren't (Dusty) Dvorcek, but I think throughout the season they have become better," explained Fedora. "Yes, I think if you don't handle those ends on the edge then it will be a long day for us."

So, does Fedora feel lucky or good for Saturday? "You ask me every week, so you might as well ask me now," zinged Fedora. "The answer is yes, I believe we can move the ball on them and we can put some points on the board. I think we have the talent to be able to do it. I think our scheme is very sound and gives us the opportunity, and when we get the ball in the hands of the guys that need to make plays for us they will need to make those plays."

The key is to stay balanced and have success on the ground and through the air. "We are going to have to make plays in the running game and have to make plays in the passing game," said Fedora. "If they make it a one-dimensional game for us it will be tough for us to be successful. That's one of the reasons we have been successful is that we have been able to do it with both the run and the pass. You can still be successful with one, but it makes it a lot more difficult when you put the entire game plan on the passing game or on the running game."

Another plus would be for the offense to do one thing it has not all season. That one thing is to play a complete game, four quarters where the offense is able to move the football effectively.

"I'd love for it to happen in this game and playing it here at home is a definite advantage for us," said Fedora. "Winning on the road in this conference is very difficult, but even playing at home we will have to play a complete game to be successful on Saturday."

Every member of the "Sea of Orange" will be hoping to see Bedlam 2006 play out that way for Fedora and the Cowboy offense.

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