While the majority of Oklahoma’s play against UTEP is receiving harsh criticism, one bright spot to come out of Saturday night’s game in El Paso was the play of the Sooner secondary.
While the Oklahoma defense gave up over 200 yards rushing to UTEP, the OU secondary showed that it is vastly improved and may be the new stars of the defense. The Sooners gave up just 48 yards passing to the Miners and held UTEP scoreless.
“The secondary, I thought, was really good, said Oklahoma Coach Bob Stoops. “I don't care who you are playing, if you limit someone to less than 50 yards passing that's a solid day. They came up well from the secondary and tackled well. There were only one or two instances where we were late or missed where we were supposed to be and gave up a run. Again, that's something that we need to clean up and I think we will."
Junior safety Tony Jefferson led the Sooners with 10 tackles and a pass break-up.
"We did give up a couple of big runs,” said Jefferson. “There are a few things that we have to fix up. I'm pretty proud of the way the secondary played and we held our own.
"You go on the road and you are playing a team that has been looking forward to playing you all year. So, they are going to bring their best. We didn't execute the way we wanted to. But, we held our own on defense. We have things to fix on defense but overall I think we did pretty good."
Senior corner Demontre Hurst had three tackles and two pass break-ups. He says overall he was happy with the play of the secondary.
"That was the most important thing, to go in there and try to shut those guys down,” said Hurst. “Unfortunately, they broke a couple of runs on us although we were able to stop the run most of the night, but we got the 'W'. The corners and the secondary played pretty good as far as not giving up big pass plays.
“Overall on defense we can get better. We can tune-up some things. So we'll try to figure those things out this week. Just try to get better from here on."
Next up for the Sooners is the home opener featuring Florida A&M. Besides the band not making the trip to Norman, the rattlers will be without four players including their top two wide receivers. A&M Coach Joe Taylor says the players were suspended for violation of team rules.
The Sooners and Rattlers kick off at 6:00 p.m. Saturday night in Norman.