Depth in Secondary Prompts Move to 4-2-5 Alignment for Oklahoma Sooners

By Tyler Brett
Matthew Emmons – USA TODAY Sports

The Oklahoma Sooners saw their defense fall apart down the stretch last season as they struggled to meet the demands of the many high-powered spread offenses of the Big 12. Bob Stoops is looking for ways to keep his defense together in 2013 to get the Sooners back on top of the conference. The Sooners are mixing up their defense next season by transition to a 4-2-5 alignment.

Oklahoma’s decision to change things up comes from two places. The first is the need to adapt to the multiple spread offenses they will face in the Big 12. Last season, particularly late in the year, Oklahoma was steamrolled by the spread, highlighted by their dismantling at the hands of the Texas A&M Aggies in the Cotton Bowl. If the Sooners hope to hold up better in 2013, they needed to adapt their approach.

The second, and more pressing, reason was the personnel available to the Sooners’ staff. Oklahoma lacks a great deal of playmaking ability on their defensive line and what they do have is not very deep. Behind them, the linebacker unit has some athletic talent, but not a lot of bodies. They have two or three playmakers, but not enough to really run a 3-4 or even a 4-3 defense.

What they do have is a multitude of defensive backs at their disposal. Aaron Colvin is a star at the No. 1 corner and Cortez Johnson appears ready to step up as the No. 2 corner after transferring from the Arizona Wildcats. The rest of the secondary is filled out with veteran contributors and young talent looking to contribute. There is a wealth of talent in the Sooners’ secondary, making the decision to put as many of them on the field at once an easy one.

The Sooners must become more adaptable on defense in 2013 if they hope to get back to the top of the Big 12. Their best bet to get that done is to make the switch to a 4-2-5 and get as much talent on the field at the same time.

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