Three Reasons for Defensive Optimism

This is the first of a two-part series dealing with the match-up of the OU defense and the Florida offense. First, I will explain three reasons why the Sooners could shut down Florida junior quarterback Tim Tebow and the Gator offense. Next I will give the reasons it might not happen.

Three reasons to be optimistic for OU's defensive performance...

1. Experience

The Sooners bring a veteran secondary into the National Championship Game in senior safeties Nic Harris and Lendy Holmes. Harris has 64 tackles and has been a big leader throughout some of the major injuries OU has suffered. When junior middle linebacker Ryan Reynolds went down with his ACL injury against Texas , he took the mike position for a game, and he has been a leader both morally and by example in many key moments. Holmes has also been a mainstay for the Sooner defense with 79 tackles, which ranks second on the team. He has been the "big" play guy in the secondary, with a team-leading five interceptions for a total of 73 return yards. He also has recovered three fumbles and forced one. The linebacking corps. has gained a great deal of experience throughout the year as redshirt freshman Travis Lewis and junior Keenan Clayton have improved game-by-game.

2. Offenses the Sooner D has faced

The Sooners have seen about every type of powerful spread offense there is. Texas , Kansas , Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and Missouri all have prolific offenses with experienced quarterbacks and explosive players on the perimeter. Texas' combination of Colt McCoy and Jordan Shipley, Kansas' with Todd Reesing and Dezmon Briscoe, Tech with Graham Harrell and star Michael Crabtree, OSU's Zac Robinson and Dez Bryant and Missouri with Chase Daniel and Jeremy Maclin are some of the most electric quarterback-wide receiver combinations in the game. Teams like Cincinnati , TCU, Baylor , Kansas State and Nebraska have talented offensive players as well. Specificially, Baylor's Robert Griffin and Nebraska 's Joe Ganz are very talented, often overlooked players in the Big 12. So, OU is extremely battled tested when it comes to the offenses it has seen. Florida 's Tebow, junior running back Percy Harvin and the rest of the Gator offense will just be another good offense in the Sooners' path.

3. Tebow and the Gators might overlook OU's defense

You've heard it. I've heard it. Florida has seen nothing but great defenses in the SEC, and Tebow has guided his team to victory week in, week out on his way to the nation's fifth best quarterback ranking at 176.74. The Gators are third in the nation in scoring with 45.2 points per game against those stingy SEC defenses. So, they could come into the game planning to score a ton of points on a supposedly much less capable OU defense. But the Sooners can play a little defense of their own; they are holding their opponents to 24.5 points per game, which is remarkable considering the caliber of competitive offenses they have taken the field against. If Florida 's offense comes in thinking they can steamroll OU's defense effortlessly, they could be in for a big surprise.

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