OU's Tempo is Hard to Handle

At the beginning of the year, most of the talk offensively was about the new addition to the Sooners' offense–not in personnel, but style...

With a great quarterback in sophomore Sam Bradford, a complementing group of running backs in junior Chris Brown and sophomores DeMarco Murray and Mossis Madu, talented receivers, including seniors Juaquin Iglesias and Manuel Johnson, and a bruising offensive line, the Sooners implemented a type of no-huddle to their offense.

It has really been a major advantage and one of the reasons the Sooners have a set a modern era record of 702 points scored and average 54 points per game.

"It's been a really big factor for us and allows us to do so many more things than we did last year," Bradford said. "It's a really quick tempo which puts the defense on its heels. Early in games and this season you see us getting in plays where the defense is still looking to the sideline for signals."

Seeing the opposing defense struggle with the tempo is something the Sooners thrive off of in the no-huddle.

"I mean, the tempo is great, I think, as long as you're in shape," said senior offensive lineman Phil Loadholt. "You should be able to handle the tempo that we do. It feels good to look over there and see the defense breathing hard."

Brown echoed Loadholt's comments.

"I think this is a great system that we run here," Brown said. "You have to be in shape like Phil said, and you have to be focused every snap. You know, it works to our advantage, I feel.

Offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson said perfecting no-huddle all starts with the tempo in practice.

"Well, the first thing I think our guys do, we need to learn how to practice, and we need to learn how to coach," Wilson said. "That way we can practice that way. You don't play fast or you don't play fast-break basketball if you never practice it."

After getting the tempo and other parts of it down in practice, the Sooners had to execute it in game situations, and clearly they have.

"The real key is not the tempo as much as it is the execution because if you don't execute, and you go three plays and out, there's no stress on you, and there's no drive," Wilson said. "The key is your third down conversions."

They have completed 51.6 percent of them, which ranks seventh in the nation.

"[Another] key is your ability to eliminate negative plays," Wilson said.

The Sooners have excelled in the part of their offense as well, allowing only 4.23 tackles per loss per game, which ranks 11th in the nation.

"To us I think that's more pleasing than anything else, is that as well as we might have played or points have been scored, we're more proud of the negatives," Wilson said. "Like our goals are not to score–we don't have a goal total or a yard total or rushing or passing. Our goals are, and [the players] can tell you, how many missed assignments did we have in this game, how many negative plays did we have in this game, how many turnovers, and we try to chart the negatives and try to minimize the negatives. When you don't shoot yourself in the foot offensively, you have a chance to get rolling."

That has been what has catapulted this offense into the explosive video game one that it is.

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