NORMAN – A cornerback can build confidence in practice, especially at Oklahoma by going against receivers like Mark Andrews and Dede Westbrook. During the off week, the Sooners worked extensively on back-shoulder fades – a exponentially growing fad even away from the end zone – and deep balls to test their young trio of first-year cornerbacks.
It doesn’t seem to inspire a lot of confidence for defensive coordinator Mike Stoops.
“We’re just losing every battle right now, and that’s the frustrating part,” Stoops said. “We’re not winning any. Our PBU’s are down. Our interceptions are down, and we’re not winning any battles, or nearly enough. To compete at this level you’ve got to win some battles or nearly enough to compete. The people we play, you’ve gotta win some battles.
“. . . That’s the bad part. We’re at the opposite end of the spectrum right now where there’s not a lot of balance. It’s a very lopsided situation. We’ve got to find a way to get our hands on some balls.”
Oklahoma’s veteran cornerbacks are almost not heard from. Senior Dakota Austin hasn’t seen much of the field since he was torched in the season opener against Houston. Stanvon Taylor has been relegated to special teams after playing as a freshman. P.J. Mbanasor doesn’t fit Kerry Cooks' ideal mold for a cornerback and hasn’t played much at all after filling in a cornerback last year as a true freshman.
Jordan Thomas is set on one side of the field, but even he’s frustrated that he can’t do more to help the other side. He tries to teach in the film room, but there’s only so much he can do to help show the trio live positioning skills.
“There’s nothing else you can say because myself, like I said, I’ve been beat,” Thomas said. “. . . At those times, you have to tell them just to relax and just be a technician. You can’t lose these plays at the line and then expect to win down the field just magically. It’s all about technique.”null