Mike Stoops Brings Oklahoma Sooners Defense Back To Basics

By Amanda Staver

The Oklahoma Sooners defense in years past has been known for just smash-mouth football. They had a take no prisoners attitude on the field and were able to back it up. It’s been awhile since Sooner Nation has been able to rely so heavily on their defensive units. With Mike Stoops back running the ship, it hasn’t been perfect but it has been gaining steam each week. What’s different?

The Sooners over the last couple of years they have had the talent, but had an air about them. They dubbed themselves the sharks last season but it seemed the sharks only showed up every other week. The second Stoops returned to the team, one of the first things out of his mouth was, there will be no more sharks. The sharks are still there, just a level-headed version.

This unit seems to be more focused as a team and ready to work together. They are doing it all without the asinine nicknames, fancy plays and just getting down to basic defensive football. When Stoops was the defensive coordinator previously, the Sooners were consistently ranked in the top 10 defenses in the country. He left the Sooners to take over the head coaching position for the Arizona Wildcats, and 3 of the last 4 seasons, the Sooners weren’t even in the top 50.

Instead of the chatter that we had been hearing from those defenses, the typical, “we are the best defense” trash talk, we are now hearing a, “we want to keep getting better” attitude. This new take by the players has translated on the field and was on full display last weekend in the Red River Shootout.

DE R.J. Washington:

We’re not running as many calls as we used to. It’s a quality over quantity thing. We’re just focusing on getting everything ironed out and being good. It’s not like we have a small, small package of things we’re doing. We’ve got a pretty good package overall. It’s just not as vast as it used to be.

With getting back to basics, the Sooners are able to put their sights on the opponents film, improving technique and as Washington said, working on quality. Whatever Stoops is doing to simplify things, it is working. And hopefully the up-trend continues.


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