Norman, Okla. No. 10 Oklahoma has been putting up one zero after another on defense. Coach Bob Stoops wants to see even more.
Despite the program’s first back-to-back shutouts since 1987, Stoops found some fundamental flaws that he wants fixed before his team plays at No. 9 Miami on Oct. 3.
“I still thought going through it we have some basic issues that we could have been quite a bit better,” Stoops said Tuesday. “I don’t think that for us, it’s not being too picky. Our players see it. There’s a few run plays that we weren’t position that we should have been. The same thing with a few of the (bootleg) passes where we don’t contain it, where we’re in a defense that should have eaten it up.”
Stoops complimented his players for constantly harassing Tulsa quarterback G.J. Kinne and sacking him six times in the Sooners’ 45-0 win on Saturday, but standards run high for the longtime defensive coordinator. He would only say his defense “did a pretty good job,” even though the most recent shutout came against the offense that led the nation in total yardage the past two seasons.
“It was a little disappointing that we didn’t play a little bit better,” Stoops said.
Defensive coordinator Brent Venables said the Sooners missed more tackles against Tulsa than in previous games this season. Oklahoma allowed 116 rushing yards against the Golden Hurricane after yielding just 6 through the first two weeks.
“There’s a lot of things that we need to keep getting better at, and we’ll continue to get more and more challenged starting next week with Miami,” Venables said.
The Hurricanes averaged 35.5 points and 465 yards in back-to-back wins against Top 25 teams to open the season and play at No. 11 Virginia Tech on Saturday.
“They look awfully good,” Stoops said. “I just see good play. I see quality players, excellent schemes and guys playing hard. You see that when you watch good teams.”
Stoops didn’t want to talk about the status of Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford, who has missed the past two games with a sprained AC joint in his right throwing shoulder. The quarterback was hurt just before halftime in Oklahoma’s 14-13 loss to BYU in the season opener.
“Once he’s comfortable and ready to play, I’ll have something to say,” Stoops said.
Bradford went through quarterback drills during practice on Monday, attempting some short passes. But Stoops was less than thrilled that offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson and Bradford’s teammates had revealed even that much.
“I’m a little disappointed our players had so much to say, not that we’re at all trying to be coy or anything that’s behind the scenes,” Stoops said. “I don’t want Sam to have to deal with the pressure of everybody’s expectations because it’s just not fair. The bottom line is it’ll be day to day as he improves.”
Stoops also said he was “disappointed” the NCAA upheld its ruling that backup middle linebacker Mike Balogun was ineligible because he played for a semipro team after his 21st birthday. However, he said Balogun would continue to practice in case the decision is overturned on appeal.
“I think there’s still one more step to go,” Stoops said. “We’ll just proceed like we have the last three weeks.”