Dominant 'D'

NORMAN, Okla. -- It would be fair to say that the OU defense has been a dominant one throughout the first three games of the '09 season, but after two consecutive shutouts it is now a record tying one.

The Sooners haven't accomplished a certain feat that they accomplished Saturday since way back in 1987.

What did they accomplish?

And who did they accomplish it against?

OU shut out back-to-back opponents, Idaho State and Tulsa, for the first time since that year when they held North Carolina and the Golden Hurricane scoreless in consecutive games.

Sooner defensive tackle Adrian Taylor said it's really a tribute to the character of the team.

"Definitely that's a hard task to do," Taylor said. "Apparently if it's not ever been done [since 1987], you say, so I mean, that's definitely…Wow, I got to get my [moments of fame]. No, that's pretty impressive, I would say, no matter what team, what level of competition. I mean, any team can get a field goal in a minute, but to hold a team to back-to-back zeros, I'm proud of my team, you know."

Fellow defensive lineman, junior defensive tackle Gerald McCoy added that the effort they put in throughout the week was huge in forcing a second straight shutout.

"We came out, and it was just all of the preparation," McCoy said. "We prepared really well, and we put overtime in on this offense because they had such a dominant offense, and we just came out and played our game and ended up with a shutout."

And that's something Taylor seconded.

"[The shutout's] a testament to how we prepare out there, you know, going out there each week and preparing mentally, not just physically, so that's a testament," Taylor said.

The preparation was obviously there, something that certainly helped in limiting the Golden Hurricane offense to 269 total yards and forcing a couple of key turnovers.

Something the dominant performance also might be an indicator of is progress, positive progress.

"It says that we're getting better," said OU sophomore linebacker Travis Lewis. "I mean, we're finally living up to the potential. We're supposed to be a great defense, and we're going out there and finally doing it."

Senior linebacker Ryan Reynolds simply stated the fact that the Sooners have played at a level defensively the past two weeks to limit opponents' scoring opportunities, and that's encouraging.

"[Two straight shutouts show] just that we played well enough to be able to keep points off the board the past two weeks," Reynolds said.

But as with all championship caliber teams, despite the record-setting day, they have an attitude that there's still areas they need to get better at.

"There's a lot of improvement to be made," Lewis said. "I mean, they ran the ball a little bit too well on us tonight, and that's not a good thing. When you're not stopping the run, you're not going to be a good team, so there's a lot to improve on tonight.

With big games against Miami and Texas looming throughout two of OU's next three opponents, play on the defensive side of the ball will continue to be more and more pivotal.

One thing's for sure, though.

If the Sooners can keep their opponents off the board, especially in the late parts of the game, they will have a good chance to win.

"[I was] really happy how they finished," said OU defensive coordinator Brent Venables.


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