The Oklahoma Sooners remain without linebackers Devante Bond and Jordan Evans. While Bond practiced last week and was expected to return against Texas Tech, Mike Stoops mentioned the explosive senior did not practice Tuesday. On the situation of both players, Stoops said, "We're just playing it by ear. It's really day-to-day. Those ankle sprains and the calf sprain — those guys need a lot of lift. They need explosive speed and that's the last thing to come around from those injuries." (via OU Daily) However, the defense must continue to perform at a high level this weekend against the Kansas Jayhawks.
Here are my three expectations for the defense.
Through the month of October, no program has created more turnovers than OU at ten on the month. It's a large part of why a young inexperienced secondary leads the Big XII in passing defense allowing 166.6 yards per game. The mark ranks 13th nationally coming as a major surprise to many. On Saturday, the defense must continue to create turnovers finding success, building confidence and momentum without overlooking an opponent such as KU.
Build Experience & Depth
Let me start off by saying injuries with unfortunate are a part of the game. Heading into November, Oklahoma must be near full strength or find capable replacements for those forced to the sideline. Enter Kansas... Against conference foes, the Jayhawks average 12.5 points and remain winless on the season. That translates to a plethora of opportunities to develop depth. While the young Sooner defense continues to improve and impress, depth and experience remain invaluable. Dakota Austin experienced a trail by fire when Zack Sanchez came up with an injury against the Red Raiders on the first play of the game. Fortunately, Austin proved himself a worthy replacement for the time being. Who else could potentially be waiting in the wings? Let's hope a few surprise performs rise to the occasion when presented with an opportunity.
One Game At A Time Mentality
November will undoubtedly be the most entertaining football of the season...at least in the Big XII. With several high profile match-ups ahead, the Sooners must face Kansas followed by Iowa St. first. Knowing programs ranked inside of the top ten lay ahead, Oklahoma cannot afford another surprise set back if they hope to be in the playoff picture. Heavily favored in the next two contests, it would be easy to slip into cruise control. However, let me remind you that Oklahoma State fell into that mindset allowing the Cyclones to crash the national title hopes a few years ago. Take it one game at a time and celebrate the successes at each corner for no Saturday victory is truly a given.