Through two games, Oklahoma’s defensive backfield has been almost flawless. The Sooners gave up a 75-yard touchdown to Florida A&M, in which backup free safety Jesse Paulsen rotated the wrong way, leaving cornerback Demontre Hurst without any help. The next longest pass completed against the Sooners? Thirteen yards.
“Take out the one play, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the way we’ve competed,” said defensive coordinator and secondary coach Mike Stoops. “I wish I could have that play over. But it’s another great learning experience to understand when we get out of position, what happens. We have to learn from it and understand those mistakes can be very costly.”
The Sooners’ Achilles heel last season was surrendering big plays in the pass. In one game alone -- a 45-38 loss at Baylor -- OU gave up three touchdown passes of 34 yards or more.
But so far in 2012, limiting big plays has been the unit’s strength.
“It’s all on them. They’re good players,” Stoops said. “Those guys can play, they know how to play. My job is to put them in position to make plays. That’s what I attempt to do every day. They go out and make those plays. The toughness they have to have, the competitive nature, that’s what I try to instill in them.”
Stoops conceded that the Sooners haven’t really been tested yet. But he likes the way his unit is performing going into Big 12 play.
“We haven’t gone up against the caliber of players we’re going to see,” Stoops said. “But I don’t see it changing – hopefully this is how they’re going to play. You’re going to give up plays. That’s going to happen.
“As long as you’re competing for the football and competing for your space on the field – you’re going to fine. This is a very talented group.”