While the Oklahoma Sooners ended up winning 10 games in 2012, their season left a lot to be desired. Down the stretch, the Sooners got caught up in some shootouts as their defense failed to keep some of the more prolific offenses of the Big 12 and the reigning Heisman Trophy winner in check. While Bob Stoops is adamant that Oklahoma has fixed their defensive issues, we will find out quickly when the Sooners open up their season against the dynamic Kolton Browning and the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks.
Oklahoma surrendered 34 points or more in four of their final five games last season as they were run ragged by some high-octane spread attacks. The Baylor Bears put up 34 points and gained 424 yards, the West Virginia Mountaineers scored 49 points and gained 778 yards, the Oklahoma State Cowboys put up 48 points with 490 yards and Johnny Manziel led the Texas A&M Aggies offense to 41 points and 633 yards in the Cotton Bowl (with a record 516 of those yards coming from Manziel). When faced with up-tempo, aggressive offensive philosophies, the Sooners were lost.
That could spell trouble when they face off with Browning and the Warhawks. The senior quarterback was No. 21 in college football last season in terms of total offense, rushing for 670 yards while passing for 3,049 yards with 36 total touchdowns. Browning was dynamic on the ground and through the air and led the aggressive Warhawks offense to a win over the Arkansas Razorbacks and close losses to the Auburn Tigers and Baylor.
Stoops has had his defense focused on being better against these spread style offensive attacks, and he’ll have a good idea how good a job they’ve done this offseason in the opener. While ULM likely doesn’t have the firepower to hang with the Sooners for four quarters, Browning’s dynamic style is sure to give the Oklahoma defense headaches all night long.