OU's defense playing better than the numbers show

The Sooner defense currently ranks 14th nationally, but their best play is still in front of them.

The Oklahoma defense has taken a lot of criticism this year from media and fans alike. Granted, the defense has had it's bad moments, but as I have been saying for some time the unit has played better than people are giving it credit for. I want to point out a few things that may support my thinking.

1) The Sooners have given up 14 points on interceptions that were returned for touchdowns. There were two of these, one against Bowling Green and the other against Kansas State. However, the point stats counted against the defense.

2) There have been four special team touchdowns scored against the Sooners. Two against Oklahoma State and two against Texas A&M. That is 28 points that wasn't scored directly against the OU defense.

If you take those points away then the OU defense is only giving up 11.5 points per game, which would be one of the very best points against averages in the Stoops era. Even if you want to add back 14 points because against Texas A&M the Sooner defense was on the field in punt safe and field goal safe, the Oklahoma would be giving up only 14.0 per game, which would be one of the better marks in the country.

As it is, the Sooners lead the conference in scoring defense giving up 16.1 points per game, which ranks 14th in the country. Most teams would take this and go to the house with it, but OU has always been a little better since Coach Stoops first year. But in reality, this defense is better.

One final thought on behalf of the defense. I hate to single out one individual, especially in college, but Eric Bassey has been responsible for three touchdowns himself. Without question he tried hard, but struggled in deep coverage and now he has been replaced by Marcus Walker. And thus far, the Sooners haven't given up the deep ball. Also, Antonio Perkins missed four games with a knee injury and he was their best cornerback. He is back now adding more stability to the secondary.

So, the defense has played better than it is given credit for. And now that the right personnel is playing in the secondary, the Sooners will not be giving up the big plays like they did early in the year.

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