Turnover troubles

NORMAN, Okla. — There's a reason creating turnovers has been such an emphasis this week for defensive coordinator Mike Stoops and his group.

Throughout the Bob Stoops era, the Sooners have had a positive turnover margin nine out of 13 seasons.

But in those four in which they didn't, the Sooners reached the 10 win plateau only twice--Stoops has done that 10 times in 13 years, meaning two of the three years they haven't are years they lost turnover margin--they played in just one BCS Bowl, the 2006 Fiesta Bowl, and went just 2-2 in their bowl games.

Moreover, OU went just 36-15 in those four years combined for a .706 winning percentage, well off Stoops' .801 career winning percentage at OU.

Two of those seasons featured eight or fewer victories.

So, the obvious correlation of winning the turnover battle to winning games holds perhaps even more true for this regime, indicating they have to find a way defensively to start generating more turnovers.

"Well, you want to force more," Bob said. "So yeah it's something you want to keep working on. But I always think those sort of come in different times, too. So, hopefully we can get more."

As it so often does, creating turnovers boils down to the days during the week and their preparations, which is why Mike has emphasized it even more that way on the idle week.

"Well, we gotta try to concentrate more at that in practice and try to create some drills, getting in rush lanes and getting some tipped balls and getting some deflections," Mike said. "So, you know, that's an issue and we're gonna [work on it]. We're trying to create some turnovers."

Why have they struggled at doing so to this point, though?

Free safety Tony Jefferson suggests they haven't focused on their assignments and read their keys as well as they should have, among other things.

"That's some things that we've lacked in these few games and we haven't got the turnover production we've wanted," Jefferson said.

But it hasn't been for a lack of effort or tenacity or physicality or aggressiveness.

"I mean, we're playing aggressive," Jefferson said. "This past weekend we didn't get as many passes, but we still need to force turnovers. When they run the ball we need to try and strip it. I mean, that's what we're gonna focus on these next two weeks."

The Sooner defense has been solid in other areas, however.

While Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein and co. ran all over the Sooners the other night, OU ranks third in the country in pass defense three games in.

It is allowing just 123.7 passing yards per contest, including only 4.9 yards per throw and one touchdown so far.

The Sooners have been much more sound on the back line in surrendering only one huge passing play, a 75-yard touchdown against Florida A&M.

As a team, they also rank a respectable 21st in the country in scoring defense, giving up 14.67 points per game, including five touchdowns.

So, the positives are there.

But there remains a lot to be desired in the form of game-impacting, momentum type plays.

"You know, we've worked on stuff during the week and it's frustrating not being able to get any turnovers," said linebacker Tom Wort. "Never seen it this low, but hopefully they'll come."

In a week, we'll see.

Just know they've been working on it.

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