Oklahoma defensive coordinator Mike Stoops was completely honest on Sunday when asked about his defense going up against the Alabama offense. The Sooners are small and will have to find a way to get bigger!
The Tide knows that they have the size advantage but that doesn't necessarily mean that they are down and out. Stoops is devising a game plan to increase the size of his defense but also keep their speed. While he understandably wasn't willing to give up the details of Oklahoma's game plan, he did hint around at some of the personnel changes that we may see.
"I think they put bigger personnel in the game. You have to get bigger as well. PL Lindley is a guy. Chaz Nelson. Our edge guys are going to have to be bigger guys to create better matchups for us. Eric is an undersized outside linebacker and getting him matched up on a 6'6", 260 pound tight end gets tough. So we're going to have to be creative in what we do and how we do it." - Mike Stoops
Chaz Nelson is 6-2/237 and PL Lindley is 6-2/254. They'll be going up against a set of offensive tackles that are 6-6/310 and 6-5/315. You have to think that speed is more crucial to Oklahoma's attack than the actual size. You don't want to find yourself in a position where you just get mauled and run over but you also have to do what you're best at, which is get off the line quickly.
As far as when exactly we'll see personnel changes, safety Game Lynn may have given us another hint.
"We are going to have to put some bigger players out there in short yardage and goal line [situations]. For the most part, though, I think we have enough players in our starting eleven that match up well with them. It's going to come down to who wants it more and playing physical." - Senior safety Gabe Lynn
Aside from the personnel match-up Stoops is also saying that pride is at stake for his team as well because of the massive underdog role they find themselves in.
"I can compare it to the Orange Bowl back in 2000 when we were a 10- or 12-point underdog in the National Championship game. What it did for us going back then, just reminiscing a little bit, it just made our players, I think, pay more attention to detail, prepare to understand what they need to do and understand the challenge. And it's a pride thing. So the players have prepared well. They've looked at it as a great opportunity to see where we're at against the elite program in college football, and that's how you go into this game." - Mike Stoops
As for the players themselves, they didn't have any problems speaking up either.
"He is a smart quarterback. He's a really focused player and he knows what he is doing all the time. McCarron gets the ball out to his receivers, and the receivers can really catch. We will definitely have to be on our P's and Q's, but we have prepared, and we're ready for them". - Corner Aaron Colvin on Alabama Quarterback AJ McCarron
"We have to change some things, but I think we've seen some similar things from other offenses, such as Texas' offense. We have some guys who can move around and can play, so we will be fine." - Safety Gabe Lynn
"They're a tough-minded team. They're very physical. This is probably going to be the most physical game we're going to play all season. They're a football team, so we're going to go out there and play football. " - Defensive Tackle Chuka Ndulue
"We have to stop the run game. We have to stop T.J. Yeldon from making the amazing plays, like he always does. We have to get some push on the offensive line and make sure we get into the backfield. " - Defensive end Charles Tapper on stopping Alabama's offense
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