Tulsa has one of those offenses, like BYU, that is going to score points. Much like the Sooners this isn't the same Tulsa team that we saw on the field last season but they're still really good. The focus of a defense against the Golden Hurricane shouldn't be to shut them down but rather to slow them down and limit their scoring opportunities. Here's how.
Get Pressure With The Defensive Line
|T David Lazenby 6-5/305
||G Curt Puckett 6-4/309||C Trent Dupy 6-2/280||G Clint Anderson 6-2/285||T Tyler Holmes 6-4/306|
|DE Jeremy Beal 6-2/261 (3 TKLS)
||DT Adrain Taylor 6-4/291 (2 TKLS/1 SK)
6-4/297 (7 TKLS/1 SK)||DE Auston English 6-3/251 (4 TKLS/1 SK)|
Tulsa's offensive line averages 6-3/297 in size and they're good at getting the job done. They're paving the way for just over 450 yards of offense and 41 points per game but there is a downside as well. Tulsa likes to spread the field and while they run for an average of 176 yards per game they rely heavily on quarterback G.J. Kinne to make their rushing attack work. Kinne leads the team in rushing yards but dies have options from the spread formation.
Conversely, Oklahoma's defensive line goes 6-4/275 and while outweighed a little they will need to get into the backfield, disrupt plays and force Kinne to make quick decisions. Part of making this happen will be the defensive ends keeping containment on the outsides and forcing the plays to go back up the middle for the linebackers to clean up. If Oklahoma is making tackles behind the line of scrimmage then the defense is obviously having a good day. Tulsa has given up 7 sacks in two games so there's no reason not to think that OU won't register any.
Fill The Gaps With Linebackers
RB Jamad Williams 5-9/212
RB Charles Clay 6-3/230
(10/51 YRDS, 2 TDs)
QB C.J. Kinne 6-2/215
SLB Keenan Clayton 6-1/221
(4 TKLS/1 INT)
(13 TKLS/1 SK/1 INT)
WLB Travis Lewis 6-2/232
If the defensive tackles are shooting the A-Gaps then the linebackers must play their assignments and fill the others. If the defensive line does their job then the linebackers will have cleanup responsibilities which should mean plenty of opportunities for big hits.
Behind G.J. Kinne Tulsa doesn't have another player with more than 60 yards rushing. That means Kinne is likely either tuck and run or keep the ball on a zone read or misdirection but Oklahoma's linebackers can't just t-off on him. They must play assignment football and be aware of the running backs either getting dump passes, running a draw or on a zone read. Oklahoma has to prevent Tulsa from getting past the second level of the defense and if the linebackers can make tackles at or near the line of scrimmage then the defensive backs can focus solely on the pass.
Make Sure Tackles And Play Assignment Football In The Secondary
|QB C.J. Kinne 6-2/215 (37/55, 521 YRDS, 5 TDS)
WR Slick Shelley 6-4/200 (9/133 YRDS, 2 TDS)
|SR Damaris Johnson 5-8/170 (7/161 YRDS)
||WR AJ Whitmore 5-9/172 (9/72 YRDS)
|CB Brian Jackson 6-1/200 (4 TKLS)
6-0/192 (7 TKLS)|
|FS Quinton Carter 6-1/193 (13 TKLS)
||SS Sam Proctor 6-0/208 (7 TKLS)
Tulsa's receivers both run and catch the ball very well. Damaris Johnson averages 23 yards per reception and is the second leading rusher for the Golden Hurricane, averaging 8.4 yards per carry. He's sure to go in motion and Tulsa will want to get him out on the edge. The safeties and corners have to account for this and can't get sucked in on a play-action pass. They are going to put the ball in Johnson's hands one way or the other and if Oklahoma's defensive backs catch him, or any other player for that matter, on the edge they must wrap up and make the tackle.
Its no secret that with the state of Oklahoma's offense being what it is the defense must be what carries the team right now. The least experienced part of the Sooner defense is the secondary with Quinton Carter and Sam Proctor new starters at the safety positions. Against the offenses that Oklahoma is facing from here on out they can't afford any defensive breakdowns and this is the group that scares me the most.