'More complete' UT O to face 'very good' OU D

Not surprisingly, UT offensive coordinator <B>Greg Davis</B> provided no bulletin board material for the Sooners, instead characteristically heaping praise Tuesday on the unit his offense will try to toast Saturday in Dallas.

"They're a very good defense," Davis said. "They run to the ball extremely well. Rocky Calmus is a great player. Roy Williams is a great player. Derrick Strait is a great player. Brandon Everage is a great player. . . ." I think the coach would have continued listing the entire Sooner starting 11 if he didn't think the gathered scribes understood his point, that OU has an extremely talented defense.

Davis, though, said the Sooners don't try to fool opposing offenses schematically. "They run to the ball," he said. "They are hard to attack because they are the epitome of outnumber the run. Their two safeties (Williams and Everage) play within five yards of the line of scrimmage. In the running game, you've got to find some way to get someone on those guys. That, of course, is easier said than done."

Despite their aggressiveness to the ball, mis-direction plays and reverses don't necessarily hurt the Sooners, according to Davis, because their defenders are extremely disciplined. "Kansas State tried the reverse and lost eight yards," he said. "They charge the ball with everybody but the reverse player, who's very disciplined. They hold one guy back."

And Davis warned about basing an analysis of the OU D on the success of Kansas State last weekend (the Sooners surrendered 446 yards to the 'Cats, including 189 on the ground). "K-State gained a lot of yards on the option, and you're not gonna see Chris (Simms) do a lot of that," the Horns' offensive coordinator said.

Simms and the UT receivers won't see a lot of man coverage from the Oklahoma secondary, according to Davis. "They're not a big man coverage team," he said. "They pick their spots. They're mainly a zone blitz team."

Davis stressed his belief that the Horns need to stay two dimensional against the Sooner defense, but he believes his offense is better prepared to do just that than it was a year ago.

"We've accomplished some of the things we set out to accomplish coming into this ballgame," the coordinator said referring in general to the four-game ramp-up of the offense and in particular to the team's ability to gain tough yardage on the ground with Ivan Williams and Cedric Benson. Davis also believes the still-young Texas receivers are far more prepared than last year, when they were still infants in the UT O. All of that combined, he said, "gives us a chance with the emergence of the tight ends to be more complete in the way we can attack."

Notes from Tuesday practice: Mack Brown said post-practice that the Horns were "very physical, very focused, and made very few mistakes" in today's workout. "In games like this, you've gotta play hard, you've gotta be focused, you've gotta be tough but you've still gotta minimize the penalties and the mistakes.". . . Asked about the team's focus, the head coach said, "This year, this team's been that way. Today even more so. For whatever reason last year, they didn't take that attitude into the game. I don't think we'll ever see that happen again." . . . As he mentioned above, one of big reasons for Longhorn fans to have confidence that the offense will be far better this October in the Cotton Bowl than last October is the play of Scaife. After missing all of last season with a knee injury and then catching only one pass in the Horns' first two games this season, Scaife over the last two games has put up the type of numbers (10 catches for 123 yards) that his talent level would suggest. "(Bo) is extremely important, like on the TD to B.J. (Johnson) in the Houston game where there's a direct correlation to (the success of the play and to) Bo stretching the field," Davis said Tuesday of his tight end's ability to draw safety coverage away from the Longhorn wideouts. "Even when he's not catching it vertically, he opens up the field for someone else. . . . Bo forces linebackers to carry the seam."


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