Bob Stoops: More speed on defense made more plays

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Monday September 02, 2013

Oklahoma’s defense gave up at least 40 points in four of the final five games in 2012, and Bob and Mike Stoops’ defense came under a lot of criticism.

One game into 2013, it’s clear changes were made, and the results were pleasing for Sooner faithful.

UL-Monroe crossed midfield just twice, picked up nine first downs, went 2-for-16 on third down and averaged 2.7 yards per play in a 34-0 Oklahoma win. The Sooners showed many three-man fronts throughout the game, and it was obvious the goal was to get more speed on the field.

“We played more of a 50-front than we did a four-man front and had some movement out of it,” Bob Stoops said on the Big 12 coaches teleconference. “We had faster guys on the field that made more plays. Our defensive line was very active, as were our linebackers, and they executed well.”

Oklahoma dominating a Sun Belt team might not normally be notable, but ULM defeated Arkansas last year, nearly defeated Auburn and Baylor and returned an experienced offense. Stoops was especially pleased with the defense, given the opponent.

“They are a good offensive football team, Stoops said. “They averaged near 100 plays a game a year ago. They had eight starters back on offense and everybody talked about this being their year, compared to a year ago. They’re more mature. I do respect Louisiana-Monroe and the offensive team they’ve been. So it was very pleasing to play so well.

I thought our communication, our adjustments were as good as we’ve had in a long, long time, where we didn’t have very many mistakes or communication problems, adjustments problems, those kind of things. Players really did a great job of being where they needed to be. I thought our effort and tackling were really good. Those are things you can really build on.”

In June, we looked at Oklahoma’s defensive downturn relative to an increase in offensive snaps. The Sooners ran 83 plays against ULM, which was higher than co-offensive coordinator / quarterbacks coach Josh Heupel’s average over the last two years of about 80 snaps.

But in this case, the high amount of snaps can partly be attributed to the defense, which forced six three-and-outs out of 13 drives that didn’t end a half. Those six don't include one turnover on downs after four plays, and another drive ended with an interception after six plays. So the early returns on the Oklahoma defense are quite positive. 

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News,, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to