Just in case you haven't noticed, the Sooners are back to playing a physical brand of football. In a movement that returns them to their roots, the Stoops brothers are playing sound defense and running the football. Last Saturday they were clearly the more physical team against Notre Dame and that boils down to two factors, a stout defense and running the football.
TCU head coach Gary Patterson acknowledged this about the Sooners as he prepares his team to play Oklahoma on Saturday night. In his weekly meeting with the media, Patterson specifically pointed out Oklahoma's offensive success on the ground and the teams physicality.
"We're now going straight into conference play and will face a very good Oklahoma team. Coach (Bob) Stoops is getting back to playing very good defense and running the football. All their backs are really good. Their offensive line is tremendous. I think what gets left out offensively is their wide receivers, who are outstanding."
Defensively, Patterson suggested that it was the amount of pressure that the Sooners are applying that is leading to greater success in Mike Stoops second season back as the defensive coordinator and it looks like you can add the TCU coach into the mix of people who believe that the defensive revival is in full effect in Norman.
"They apply a lot of pressure. I think Mike (Stoops) and Bob (Stoops) are a bit more comfortable with what they're doing now, and I think it shows. They tackle well. They're physical against the run and the pass, and they're getting takeaways. They're back to what an Oklahoma team is like."
Suffering through his own rash of injuries, Patterson can appreciate the value of a healthy team. In 2012 Oklahoma was snake bit by injuries but has been able to remain healthy up front through the first four games of the season and that has helped spark the offensive success.
"They've won, and they've played better on offense. Both their quarterbacks can run. They do some things with Knight they don't do with Bell. Both of them have those capabilities. You've got three or four tailbacks who can really go, and they've stayed healthy. Your center and two tackles are guys who have played a lot of football. They've kept their five for the first four ball games. They're keeping them intact and not losing anybody. They lost a couple of those guys to injuries the year before."