OU 'D' has swagger back, plan to beat Baylor

Sooners will emulate WVU's aggressive defense against Bears

The Oklahoma defense looked different last week to freshman running back Samaje Perine.

With an old scheme put back into place, Perine saw a revamped defense – one with bit of swagger.

“They just felt free,” he said. ‘They looked like they were ready to play. It looked like they were ready to play all out.”

Behind the early-season aggressive game plan, Oklahoma turned out another great defensive performance against Iowa State. Defensive coordinator Mike Stoops still wants more confidence from his group, but that’s not something that can be easily achieve.

It starts with the leaders on defense being more vocal and the rest of the team following suit.

“That’s something that comes from them,” Stoops said. “There’s an intensity and a passion that I think comes from your leaders and your players that I think we can get stronger at and need to get stronger at, especially on defense. That takes maturity and toughness and attitude and leadership. That takes a lot of things.”

Finding that cockiness might take a little bit of the time. Stoops pointed out that Oklahoma still isn’t a very experienced team. They have some games played, but on defense, there are only four seniors in the starting lineup.

Oklahoma (6-2, 3-2 Big 12) got a little bit of that back against Iowa State, but it starts with more confidence – the kind that Perine saw on the practice field.

With a game plan laid out by West Virginia, the Sooners defense has a chance to build on that momentum, even against Baylor, the best offense in the Big 12 Conference.

“You have try to keep any offense off balance and try to be as multiple as you can and still be effective,” Stoops said. “What it gets down to is being as multiple as we can be and still be effective and being able to challenge the run game and not give them easy plays.

“When you play Baylor, you can’t give up a bunch of big plays. You have to make them work the field.”

Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops never rambles, but based on how much he says about a topic, it’s easy to gauge the importance in his mind.

Not in a pompous way, but he tends to pontificate about topics that don’t have any bearing to the game. When it comes to key strategic points about the Sooners upcoming matchup, he goes quite hush hush.

When asked about West Virginia’s success blitzing Baylor in the Mountaineers’ victory in mid-October, he was poignant.

“We’ve seen the game,” he said.

There were a few more words exchanged, but his brevity made it very clear.

West Virginia, whose defensive coordinator said the Mountaineers blitzed almost 60 percent of the time against Baylor, set the template, and Oklahoma intends to follow it, at least in some way.

“Yeah, to a degree,” Stoops said. Short, but hopefully for the Sooners, it’s sweet.

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