Oklahoma Sooner Defense Exposed?

Apr 14, 2012; Norman, OK, USA; Oklahoma Sooners defensive coordinator Mike Stoops yells to his unit during first half of the Oklahoma spring game at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-US PRESSWIRE

With the Annual Red/White Game firmly in the rearview mirror, the Oklahoma Sooners left many questions unanswered after a vanilla offense and defense took the field. Some of the questions still lurking out there are: Who will be Oklahoma's top receiver? Where will Aaron Colvin play, cornerback? Who will be the anchor and heart/soul of this defense? What does the running game look like with the upcoming return of surprise stand-out, Dominique Whaley? Will a 4-2-5 defense be what fans see all season long? And the list goes on. However, after looking at stat after stat from the Spring Game, there was one thing that stood out...

THE OKLAHOMA DEFENSE CREATED NO TURNOVERS!!!

While that is an excellent thing on the opposite side of the ball and for the offensive coordinator, it does not bode well for a defense. Yes, I do realize that Demontre Hurst had the chance to break the game open and win it for the defense (red) late in the scrimmage as a deflected pass skirted off his hands.

This is a team that relied on the turnover last season creating a total of 27 turnovers, 15 by way of interception and 12 by way of fumbles.

Date Opponent Surface Result Fum. Gain Int. Gain Total Gain
09/03/11 Tulsa Grass W 47-14 2 1 3
09/17/11 @ 23 Florida St. Grass W 23-13 0 3 3
09/24/11 Missouri Grass W 38-28 0 0 0
10/01/11 Ball St. Grass W 62-6 1 3 4
10/08/11 + Texas Grass W 55-17 3 2 5
10/15/11 @ Kansas Turf W 47-17 0 0 0
10/22/11 Texas Tech Grass L 38-41 0 0 0
10/29/11 @ 15 Kansas St. Turf W 58-17 1 0 1
11/05/11 Texas A&M Grass W 41-25 1 3 4
11/19/11 @ 13 Baylor Turf L 38-45 0 0 0
11/26/11 Iowa St. Grass W 26-6 3 1 4
12/03/11 @ 3 Oklahoma St. Turf L 10-44 1 0 1
12/30/11 + Iowa Grass W 31-14 0 2 2
Totals
12 15 27
@: Away + : Neutral Site

In the games that the Sooner defense failed to create a turnover resulted in a loss. The exception is the Missouri Tigers game which many will remember as too close for comfort as well as at Kansas which was underwhelming defensively. The games in which Oklahoma forced a single turnover resulted in a 50% win percentage.

Defenses rely on a spark which is usually set off by a turnover of any kind. They provide a second wind the often makes the jump across the road and gets the offense going as well. Without turnovers, it is clear that Oklahoma severely struggled. On top of that, it never seemed that OU was able to string together four quarters of solid defense play.

There are problems that will need to be worked out when practices resume as well as throughout the first few full speed games on the season. Could the Spring Game be an early indicator of the struggles to come?. While many will not put much weight on this stat, it is a cause of concern.

Mike Stoops has some work cut out for him as he tries to revive the defenses of ole and simplify the schemes. There is plenty of time between now and the fall!

Update: Red/White Game Over Past 5 Years in comparison to Turnover Margin during the regular season

Year Spring Game INTs Spring Game Fumbles Regular Season Turnover Margin
2012 0 0 ???
2011 3 INTs 1 Fum -0.15
2010 ??? ??? 1.00
2009 2 INTs 1 Fum 0.31
2008 6 INTs 0 Fum 1.64

Ed. Note - For Those Who Would Have Liked To Have These Numbers: Stats for the Spring Game are extremely difficult to find however stats for the regular season are not. I apologize for the blanks but the furthest back I was able to find was to 2008 for the Spring Game.

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