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A Flawed OU Defense Settles In After Embarrassing First Quarter, But Any Accomplishment Against Kanas Isn't Really Much Of An Accomplishment

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John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, sixteen yards passing allowed is a defensive statistic Mike Stoops will likely be more than happy to hang his hat on for quite some time.

But it was against Kansas, so how much of an accomplishment can that really that really be considered?

Not much of one as far as many will be concerned.  Most will, and probably should, point to the OU defense's incredibly disturbing first quarter performance.  The one in which they looked like a bad high school team as the Jayhawk rushing offense had their way with them.

If there was anyone still out there doubting the importance of Corey Nelson and Jordan Phillips to this defense, there cannot possibly be any doubters after having watched that first quarter on Saturday.

It was beyond embarrassing and quite frankly, Charlie Weis or whoever was calling KU's plays deserves as much blame for going away from what was working (running straight ahead) as much as the OU defense deserves credit for stopping it.

It's abundantly clear there is no one on this roster capable of replace either Nelson or Phillips, so the problems stopping opponent's rushing attacks isn't one that is going away.  This was KU offensive line that had found very little success in previous weeks opening up rush lanes for the actually talented stable of backs available to them.  And yet they had very little trouble pushing around OU's undersized three-man front.  Also Torrea Peterson's incredibly inopportunely timed academic suspension, as Bob Stoops would describe it in his postgame, did not help things though Stoops did say he should be back this week for the Texas Tech game.

Playing P.L. Lindley, as Mike Stoops has been doing these last two weeks, who is serving as a defacto fourth defensive lineman has done very little to help the Sooners 'beef up' their front to better defend the run.  If Kansas is gashing you like they were early, it is time to seriously consider playing four actual defensive linemen.  Not a linebacker (Lindley) who you've tried to convert to a defensive end and only accomplishes giving you yet another undersized defender playing out of position.

In the world of backhanded compliments, it's hard to find a ton of fault with the play of the two freshmen Zack Sanchez and Dominique Alexander.  But both could not have been more perfectly handed interceptions only to watch them both drop sure turnovers.  It's a reoccurring problem with Sanchez specifically and for all the things he has done well, which are numerous, he simply has to start turning some of these 'passes defended' into actual interceptions.

There were some positives on special teams for a change, including OU's first blocked punt in three years. Something that felt much more closer to thirteen years than three considering Stoops' usual concession of anything even remotely resembling pressure on the punter.  Evidently true freshman Matt Dimon, who was responsible for the block, hasn't been in Norman long enough to be indoctrinated with the punt team passiveness.  But he'll get there, we just need to give him a little more time.

Sixteen passing yards allowed aside, there was very little from this OU defense with which to build on.  Especially with MUCH more explosive and quick-strike offenses on the upcoming schedule like Texas Tech and Baylor.