There's no doubt that Mike Stoops is having fun with his defense. He's got athletes all over the place and with a mix of size, speed, and power he's able to pull things off this fall that he hasn't had the personnel for since his return to Oklahoma's sideline in 2012. Known as a guy who specializes in disguising the Blitz, Stoops decided to just go ahead and bring the house in the second quarter against Tennessee last Saturday night.
It's a bold move for sure because the Volunteers know what's coming and suddenly it becomes a game of speed more than ever before. The quarterback has to keep his head down field and his shoulders squared, all the while he's moving backwards to buy an extra second. If the defense make just one mistake on an all out blitz it can cost them dearly and that's exactly what happened to the Sooners. Here's the play.
Oklahoma's defense makes one mistake on this play and it changes the volunteers from being in a situation where they'd be punting from their own end zone to having a first down near mid-field. Did you catch the mistake? Let's take a closer look at it.
This is called a house blitz because the defense his bringing everyone on the play (known as bringing the house). Oklahoma has for defensive backs in man-on-man coverage and will be rushing seven at the quarterback. This is a straight up numbers game. There are five men on the offensive line, plus a running back, which means the offense is at a 6-on-7 disadvantage. However, someone has to watch the running back (In this case Jalen Hurd) to make sure he isn't going out for a pass.
Here is where the play is sold and the mistake is made by Oklahoma's defense. There are three things to notice in this frame.
1) Wide receiver Josh Smith (#25) is running an inside slant route and will take the defender inside with him. This removes Oklahoma's guy from the play, and opens up a lane for Jalen Hurd, without even throwing a block.
2) The quarterback's eyes are down field. This keeps the defensive front charging and the defensive backs sinking deeper into coverage. It's a great sell by Justin Worley.
3) Here's where the mistake was made. Redshirt freshman linebacker Ogbonnia Oklronkwo (#82) blows right by Jalen Hurd in an effort to get to the quarterback. He's got to recognize that a back "pretending to block" is a threat for the passing game. Hurd sinks for a second, let's Okoronkwo blow by him and then just turns around and catches the ball. There's no other way to describe this than a blown coverage. The fact that Hurd didn't engage anyone should have been the tip and Oklahoma's young linebacker just flat missed it.
And now we come to the payoff. Remember those seven guys who came on the blitz? They are all removed from the play at the time that Jalen Hurd catches the ball. Hurd also has two offensive linemen out in front of him to pave the way. He catches the ball around the 17 yard line and goes untouched all the way to the 49.
The blitz can be frustrating to opposing offenses and also provide the opportunity for the defense to record a big play. However, it can also turn into a big play that goes the other way if the offense can execute to perfection. That's exactly what Tennessee did in this case.