Oklahoma defense still in decline

ARLINGTON, Texas -- After yet another Johnny Manziel touchdown, Mike Stoops didn't hop and scream. Didn't track down the defender who missed the assignment. Oklahoma's otherwise fiery defensive coordinator simply took his headset off and hung it at his side. He didn't say a word. There was nothing to say.

Friday night, it was Johnny Football's turn to sock it to this punching bag of an Oklahoma defense as Texas A&M rolled to a 41-13 pasting in the AT&T Cotton Bowl.

The Aggies set a Cotton Bowl record with 599 yards of offense, even after letting off the gas pedal long before the fourth quarter mercifully came to an end. Manziel broke the individual yardage record, too, making the Sooners look even more ridiculous than they did against West Virginia's Tavon Austin.

"Best player I've ever seen," said Stoops, who also said the same of Austin after he rushed for 344 yards facing the Sooners.

During the offseason, head coach Bob Stoops brought his brother back to resuscitate a defense that had been on the mat the previous two seasons.

Like they had been for decades, the Sooners were dominant defensively through Mike Stoops' first stint in Norman. SEC dominant. Championship dominant. Even against Heisman winners. Ask Florida State's Chris Weinke.

But it has been five years now since the Sooners were serious national title contenders past October, and hope-for-the-best defense is a major reason why. Yet even with the regime change from Brent Venables to Mike Stoops, the defense continued its decline in 2012.

For Jake Trotter's full column, click here.