Today after practice, the Oklahoma Sooner defense along with their leader [defensive coordinator Mike Stoops] came into the locker room to answer questions and criticism regarding their performance Saturday night against UTEP.
“I am not taking anything away from their tailback because he is a good back but a lot of his runs were bounced outside and after watching the film, it was missed gap assignments,” said linebacker Corey Nelson.
“It all just fell back on us not reading the right run fit and covering our assignments like we were supposed to. I felt like we came out focused and the linebackers did their job as a whole and the defensive line did the best that they could under the circumstances.”
Nelson said that the defensive ends missed some reads and that cost them but overall, he felt like the defense played well.
“The UTEP running back made some great cutbacks and that cost us but overall, I thought we played well but we just need to stay focused on our gaps and trust that our other teammates will make the play. We were all just trying to make the play and left our assignments at times and that leads to big gains on their part.”
Defensive end R.J. Washington says that the mental errors that happened defensively Saturday night are easily correctable and that Coach Mike Stoops has already started working on the errors with his defense.
“A couple of guys just got out of their fits, me included and I am certainly a part of that but we will clean it up this week and get ready for Florida A&M,” said Washington.
“The best part of all of this is that everything is correctable and it’s not like we were getting mashed off the line and they were totting the ball all over the field and when their quarterback decided he was going to throw it, he let it go quick so it was difficult to get to him. I had a couple of good rushes on him but wasn’t able to get to him before he let the ball go.”
“I thought Chuka (Ndulue) had a good game,” said Washington. “He graded out at 91% so I felt like he did a great job on the other side. “
Most of the talk was about gap integrity and lack thereof last Saturday night and it is something that Defensive Coordinator Mike Stoops has already begun to work on.
“We start out meetings by watching the game-film and then Coach Mike typically give us a “Tips & Reminders” sheet that lists the corrections to all the things we made mistakes on and we go over those and then go back out on the field and apply Coach Mike’s suggestions and fix the issues then we move on to the next game which is Florida A&M this next week.”
The Sooners didn’t give up a touchdown as many players pointed out tonight but did give up 177 yards rushing to UTEP’s tailback (Jeffery) but look for OU to tighten up under Coach Mike and put on a better showing this week against the Rattlers.