OU's defensive unit much improved in win over No. 6 TCU
NORMAN, Okla. (KTUL) —
Whether or not it's fair, Oklahoma defensive coordinator Mike Stoops is the scapegoat for seemingly any mishap with the Sooners' defense. But in Saturday night's 38-20 win over No. 6 TCU, it may have been his unit's finest hour.
"It's a very uncomfortable situation playing four true freshman," admitted Stoops after the game. "I don't know if it's ever been done here at Oklahoma."
If it hasn't, there's a first time for everything. It just wouldn't be expected to be in a game featuring a pair of top ten nationally ranked teams.
Three of those four true freshman were also making their first career starts. All three were in the secondary with cornerbacks Tre Norwood and Tre Brown, along with safety Robert Barnes.
And in the early going, the personnel was showing its disastrous potential.
"We gave up a couple big plays in the first quarter," Stoops recalled. "One was a wheel route. Obo [Okoronkwo] was supposed to be dropping [into coverage]. And the 'back... we lost the coverage. After that I thought we at least made them work."
Work? To OU's credit, it became a TCU labor strike. The Horned Frogs managed one more touchdown in the 1st half. And only one more scoring play the rest of the game; not nearly enough to keep pace with the Sooners.
So what changed with this defense?
"There's no magical calls," said Stoops. "You like to make good calls. But you got to have players who make plays."
"I wouldn't say any difference," explained freshman cornerback Tre Norwood. "I feel like we came out, played hard, I felt like people did a good job winning their one-on-one battles."
We've witnessed now on more than one occassion that this defense is more than capable of holding its own against elite competition. But there's still one more thing left to do.
"To play more consistently," Stoops said. "For us, for our own psyche, for my psyche."