Most look back at last year’s 41-38 loss to Texas Tech as the point that things turned south for the Sooners in 2011. Following that Tech loss at home, the Sooners would go on to lose two more games and finish the year at 10-3.
Aaron Colvin will be on an "island" all afternoon for the Sooenrs
This year’s edition of the Tech offense is just as potent. Texas Tech is off to a 4-0 start for the second year in a row after a 24-13 win at Iowa State (9/29). The Red Raiders have scored at least 44 points in three of four games this year and have allowed no more than 14 points in a game.
"We'll [their offense is] very similar to what Mike Leach did when he was there,” said Oklahoma Defensive Coordinator Mike Stoops. “They just kind of built their own offense around those principles and they've built a nice offense that covers a lot of defenses. They do a nice job of running, better than a lot of people think. They run it as well as anybody in keeping you off balance. So, they do a very good job.
"Their screens are certainly a big part of what they do. Any team that throws the ball as well as they do and expects pressure on their quarterback, screens will always be a big part of what they do. But, they do a great job of getting their linemen out in front of the screens and really do a nice job with their timing."
Offensive performances over the past weekends have shown that defenses, particularly in the Big 12, may be a bit behind the times. Just look at the offensive shows put on by Baylor and West Virginia and Oklahoma State and Texas for that matter.
"From Baylor and (West Virginia), knowing that we have to play both of them,” said Stoops. “And Texas Tech, I think, was second in the country in total offense before last week. So, we have three of the top four offenses in the country in this conference. It's very dynamic and very complete. These guys can move the football, they have great offensive minds. They make you play and they can expose weaknesses.
"There's a lot of challenges in this league. They come every week. They come fast and furious and you had better be able to play eleven on eleven. That's what this game is about. They're people that spread you out and throw the ball then run it. You have to be able to have a very complete defense. We're going to need all eleven guys to play well and play fast and be in the right spots, if they aren't then you are going to get exposed. That's kind of what defense is anymore. We will get tested in a big way again next week, it's a little different than the way Kansas State did it but again, it gets down to being able to cover, and being able to stop people running the football."
A year ago, the Red Raiders rolled to 572 yards of offense, 452 yards coming through the air. Stoops believes that the Sooners will see a similar attack on Sooner secondary on Saturday in Lubbock.
"It will be no different than we saw a year ago,” said Stoops. “I think they ran four verticals 15 times on us and completed about 14. We will have to play better in the secondary if we want to win. Our players seem very focused and very anxious to get out there and play.
"I think our corners are covering as well as they ever have. I'm really pleased with the way Aaron Colvin has played. These guys have accepted the challenge. He and Demontre (Hurst), they get out there and get put on an island and they have really responded in a positive way."
A lot of people, media and fans, continue to compare this year’s game with last year’s. Stoops is quick to remind us that one year is very different from the next. This is a very different football team.
"You can always learn from the past,” said Stoops. “It doesn't mean you will get the same results from one year to another. Each year is drastically different. You can take away some schematics of what you did well and what you wrong. It doesn't take long to turn on the film and see that we just got beat individually and as a defense. We just have to play better overall defense and we just didn't play a very good game a year ago."
The Sooners and Red Raiders will kick off at 2:30 Saturday afternoon in Lubbock.