Sooner Defense Slacks in Season Opener

Last year the Sooner defense was nothing less than dominant.

And even with the loss of No. 3 overall NFL Draft pick Gerald McCoy, both starting corners in Brian Jackson and Dominique Franks and others, this defense figured to be solid yet again for the 2010 season.

But although it's only one game, the Sooner defense didn't look anything like its 2009 form, giving up 421 yards of total offense and numerous big plays to the Utah State Aggies in its narrow 31-24 victory Saturday night at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.

"Utah State had a good game plan, but we played like [expletive]," said linebacker Travis Lewis. "I mean, what can you say? We didn't have enough fight in us. I mean, to put it in perspective it's Utah State."

Heck, the way quarterback Diondre Borel and Utah State was throwing the ball around on the OU defense, it may just as well have been a Big 12 team.

Borel completed less than 50 percent of his passes and threw three picks, but he tossed 17 completions for 341 yards and two touchdowns.

"He's a dynamic player," said defensive coordinator Brent Venables. "We knew if he had time to escape the pocket and look for defenders down the field, that's when he's at his best."

Borel certainly had lots of opportunities to do that, and he made the most of them on set of defensive backs that looked very unprepared and unmotivated to play.

"Yeah, you know, you win some, you lose some [battles]," said defensive back Jonathan Nelson. "I would say that, you know, the secondary needs to play better just overall."

He didn't pinpoint one single thing there.

"It was everything," Nelson said. "It was everything, and, you know, I know speaking for myself I played terrible. So, you know, speaking for myself I need a better week of preparation, and everybody else can say that for themselves because there was a lot of guys that messed up key assignments and what not."

Missing any assignments with frequency is something the Sooner defense can ill-afford to do next week if they're to defeat Florida State.

"We just need to make sure that we're sharper next week because Florida State's going to come in here, you know, and try to knock us off," Nelson said.

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