The Oklahoma defense is not without fault in the incredibly disappointing loss to a very tough Kansas State team Saturday night in Norman, but they were certainly done no favors for their teammates on the offensive side of the ball. The OU defense was put in difficult position after difficult position throughout most of the night following multiple gut-punch type turnovers from the Sooner offense.
That said, there is no denying that the defense came up short, on multiple occasions, in the fourth quarter when it absolutely had to have a stop. Kansas State went three-for-three on third down conversions that essentially sealed the victory.
Our 'Film Study' series will provide an opportunity for a much more in-depth analysis of everything that went wrong (on both sides of the ball), but for now let's just take this by position group.
In what will be a common theme amongst this entire front seven, no one player particularly stood out. Not even a little bit. There was absolutely zero push, for literally the entire game, from the defensive line. They provided little resistance in the run game, allowing 200+ yards and a near five yard average per carry, and amazingly even less when it came to a pass rush.
I thought Chuka Ndulue really, really struggled in defending the run. It looked like Kansas State constantly attacked the opposite side of whichever end David King was on and had considerable success in doing so. Sadly, as we've become all too accustomed to, the defensive tackle position was utterly invisible.
I don't really care what anyone says at this point, if this is the system then it's a stupid system. This defense needs the linebackers to make plays and that's not happening. This maintaining your gap story has amounted to little else than both Corey Nelson and Tom Wort constantly being taken out of the play. If this scheme, as it appears to be, is designed for them to take on blocks and then shed them once the play comes their way, then it was destined to fail from the start. And if that was in fact the plan, then the coach/es responsible for installing it should be immediately fired. Anyone who has watched film on either Nelson or especially Wort should have been able to tell that would never, in a million years, work.
Is anyone else incredibly disturbed by the fact this defense appears to be designed for the secondary to be the only ones who make plays?
OU's starting secondary combined for 37 tackles. TJ (14) Harris (12) Colvin (6) Hurst (5). Those 4 top the list of #sooners tackle leaders— Brandon Chatmon (@BChatmon) September 23, 2012
- is not normal. Or at least it shouldn't be. It goes back to what we were talking about with the linebackers. It's almost as if the front seven's sole responsibility is to take on blocks, then leave everything else for the secondary to clean up. Maybe that's not how it's supposed to work, but through three games that's what is happening. In my opinion, that's putting an awful lot of pressure on your secondary, as the last line of defense, to play almost a perfect game.
As for Saturday night, I thought both Tony Jefferson and Aaron Colvin were outstanding. Of course, we've come to expect that. Javon Harris wasn't terrible, but I can remember more than one instance where he tried to lower his shoulder rather than simply wrapping up and it cost OU yards every single time. Thought it was another rough game for Gabe Lynn. Not as bad as Texas Tech, but another instance in which in did not play very well in space. There were also WAY TOO MANY times where the Kanas State receiver was inexplicably wide open, by a considerable margin, for no apparent reason.
Really believe, for the better part of this game, the defense did their part even in spite of the offense. That said, those third down conversions in the fourth quarter were killer. We can argue about whether or not that is solely on the defense, but ultimately it's a red herring when you're coming off a loss like the one Oklahoma suffered Saturday night on their home field. To borrow Bob's favorite line: At the end of the day, the OU defense did not play a great game but they did play well enough for OU to win this game.