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OU Football 2012 - Sooners Defense More Lucky Than Good Against Baylor

The brothers Stoops had conflicting opinions on Oklahoma's defensive performance following the win over Baylor. The lesson: Bob still has a head coach filter, Mike does not.

Brett Deering

Some Might Call It Luck

As usual, Bob Stoops did not take kindly to even the most innocent of questions as to Oklahoma's mediocre performance even if it was against an explosive Baylor offense.

Then . . . Mike Stoops comes into the interview room and proceeds to rip his defense up one side and down another, going so far as to call their tackling "atrocious."

What does that mean? Well, it means Bob Stoops is a head coach and Mike Stoops is an ex-head coach. Bob still has his head coach filter, while Mike couldn't be happier to be rid of his. So, at least for this night, you get the typical coach speak from Bob and an actual honest assessment of things from Mike.

Needless to say, we tend to fall more on the Mike side of things.

To be fair, it's not as if anyone was coming into this game and expecting the Oklahoma defense to post a shutout. Baylor was always going to get some points, but the expectation was they would do so through the air rather than the ground. And the OU defense did hold Baylor to season lows in total offense, passing yards, and completions. However, 252 yards allowed on the ground were more than slightly alarming.

Bob Stoops attempted to explain away Baylor's success on the ground in his post game interview by stating they were forced to 'pick their poison' and chose to stop the passing game which they knew would lead to issues against the run.

Which is all well and good except for the ease with which Baylor was pushing around Oklahoma's front seven. At times, the Baylor offense resembled something of a rugby scrum as they collectively huddled as a unit and casually pushed the Oklahoma defense backwards for a four or five yard gain. When they weren't doing that, Lache Seastrunk was repeatedly undressing OU defenders with open field moves. Well, either that or Nick Florence gashing them on the most basic of quarterback draw plays.

Baylor exposed the glaring weakness with this Oklahoma defense, the lack of anything resembling a difference maker in this front seven. It's been an issue all year and one that, barring significant changes, will be a problem next year (at a minimum) as well.

The Oklahoma linebackers had very little impact in this game aside from Frank Shannon with his eight tackles and a sack. Unfortunately, Tom Wort struggled once again missing tackles on multiple occasions where a play that could have been a one or two yard gain turns into eight or nine. These plays were not the difference in the game, nor was Wort the only OU defender who struggled, so it would be unfair as well as inaccurate to pin the defense's struggles on Wort alone. Which, even in singling him out here, is not what is happening, rather simply stating an aspect of the game that stood out.

The defensive backs' performance lends itself to the age old axiom of not just relying on what you read in the box score. Javon Harris and Tony Jefferson did lead the team in tackles with 14 and 11 respectively, several of which were of the big play saving variety. As we previously mentioned, Oklahoma did hold Baylor to season lows in multiple passing categories but they were the benefactor of Florence overthrows on more than one occasion. It was eerily reminiscent of last year's game in fact, where Baylor receivers were running free behind the OU defense. Fortunately in this instance, it wasn't a future Heisman Trophy winner on the front end of those throws.

Had Florence connected on even just one or two of said throws, this could have been a much different game. Admittedly, it's easy to sit here and say that without asking how the Oklahoma offense might have responded. That said, this Oklahoma team should have never even allowed themselves to be put in that position in the first place.

Was the Oklahoma defense lucky on Saturday night? I suppose that's debatable.

What's not debatable however is that you'd hope a team wouldn't need luck (or whatever word you want to use) to beat a team like Baylor. On their home field. A home field mind you that has lost any and all semblance of whatever mystique it previously held, but that's a topic for another day.

It would seem we're being told the standards at Oklahoma are now so low that an underwhelming win, against a below average team, on Owen Field, is something we should shut up and be happy with.

Anybody else got a problem with that?