|No. 5 Sooners use off week to study Texas Tech|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 11 November 2008 23:09|
No. 5 Oklahoma (9-1, 5-1 Big 12) gets that chance with an off week before next Saturday's Big 12 South showdown with second-ranked Texas Tech (10-0, 6-0). But there's arguably less for the Sooners - or their defenders, at least - to study during their extra time than if they were playing just about any other opponent.
Red Raiders coach Mike Leach has created an offense that each year is among the nation's most prolific, but there isn't much to look at on tape. Leach's ``Air Raid'' offense ranks first in the Bowl Subdivision in passing (433.7 ypg), second in total offense (566.3 ypg) and third in scoring (47.9 ppg) - but does it with marvelous simplicity, in terms of the relatively small number of plays.
d Tuesday. ``I think that's one of the beauties of Mike and his system and what they do that he's not trying to fool you.''
Stoops has firsthand knowledge. When he was hired at Oklahoma - his first head coaching job - he brought in Leach to be his offensive coordinator because he'd been impressed with what he faced when he was putting together defenses at Florida to stop Leach's offenses at Kentucky.
Stoops said he told other offensive assistants he was recruiting that he was committed to Leach's approach and wanted them to get on board. With all kinds of other ideas out there, he said his message was, ``No, this is what we do, and this is all we do.''
With quarterback Graham Harrell and receiver Michael Crabtree leading the way, Leach is having his best season since leaving Stoops' staff after one season to take over at Texas Tech. The Red Raiders are in line to play for the national title if they can get past the Sooners, then beat Baylor the following week and win the Big 12 championship game the week after that.
Nine years after Leach left Norman, Stoops still recognizes much of what the Red Raiders are doing. Of course, he also faces it every year with the two playing in the same division.
``He has little wrinkles from time to time that he adds, but overall they just execute so well,'' Stoops said. ``And it was that way here.''
coordinator, and his records of 3,850 yards, 349 completions and 553 attempts in 1999 have so far withstood the assault by 2003 Heisman Trophy winner Jason White and current Sooners star quarterback Sam Bradford.
``I can remember him getting mad at Josh Heupel for trying to tell him what coverage they were in,'' Stoops said. ``He said, `I don't care what coverage they were in.' He didn't want him paying attention to that.''
Instead, Leach wanted Heupel concentrating on his own reads and executing the Sooners' plan of attack - and his approach is still working today.
``Look at all the skill players that are out there and you've got a that is just great delivering the ball and understanding,'' Stoops said. ``His quarterbacks have all been that way. They have a great understanding of where people are and they go through their reads fairly quick to get the ball to the open guy.''
With all that familiarity, and so few plays to study, the Sooners' extra week is all about getting ready to throw a wrench in Tech's well-oiled machine.
And getting a little more healthy, if possible. Defensive ends Auston English and Alan Davis are both trying to heal from sprained knees, and it's possible neither will be able to play against the Red Raiders.
e in trying to create pressure against an offensive line that has allowed only five sacks in 10 games.
The Sooners have scaled back their practices this week to let everyone else recover and will end their week after practice on Thursday. While Stoops frequently uses bye weeks to focus on commonalities among the next several opponents, he said this time he's not looking ahead to the looming Bedlam rivalry game on Nov. 29 against No. 11 Oklahoma State.
``I don't know that I feel comfortable, in fact I don't feel comfortable, doing that. We're just spending our time on Tech and getting ready for that,'' Stoops said.
``We'll do our best after that to zero in on Oklahoma State. We just feel that's the best way to do it.''