Justin K. Aller
Oklahoma's defense served up a career night to West Virginia's Tavon Austin.
How bad was Oklahoma's defensive performance in Morgantown Saturday night? So bad that the Mountaineers gained 454 rushing yards...on the ground. For the second weekend in a row the Sooners played to stop a potent passing attack and instead surrendered an unbelievable number of rushing yards. Clearly its a defensive alignment that needs to be scrapped and never brought up again, ever. To even further this point, the Mountaineers came into this game ranked 96th nationally in rushing offense (132.7 YPG) and Tevon Austin, who recorded 345 of WVU's rushing yards all on his own, had only rushed for a total of 103 yards the entire season coming into the night.
We have to first give credit to West Virginia for their offensive game plan. They threw in some wrinkles (Mainly just putting the ball into Austin's hands 26 times) that they had never done before and really caught the Sooners off guard.
From that point on, we have to echo the sentiment of the coaches and players by saying that the defensive performance was down right embarrassing. Its embarrassing that this unit is so defunct in a linebacker that can't cover that they have to run in six or seven defensive backs, and yet with that they also don't have a big linebacker who can dominate against an opponent's rushing attack. Its embarrassing that this unit was so fundamentally challenged on Saturday night sure tackling and gap positioning were completely thrown out the window. Its embarrassing that Mike Stoops was stuck in defensive alignment that wasn't working, and it was because OU doesn't have a linebacker that can cover a toddler bed with a king sized blanket.
There's no way that any one player, or position, on this defense gets any grade higher than an F for Saturday night's performance. Tony Jefferson recorded a team high 12 tackles, Aaron Colvin and Javon Harris each recorded interceptions and yet I'm giving them all F's. Here's why, Tavon Austin (a wide receiver) RAN FOR 345 YARDS!!!! Not only that but the Mountaineers amassed 774 total yards of offense and averaged 9.4 yards each time the snapped the ball.
Its a miracle that Oklahoma won this game, but they did and its time to move on. I'm just hoping that they do so without the defensive alignment that they've used over the last two weeks. It truly was the worst defensive performance in Oklahoma football history, both statistically and physically, and if that fact along isn't enough to bring about some changes then there may be no hope left for the world of common sense.