13 Comments

  1. @Coach_AElliott

    I don’t hate it. My worry is #9 staying at Mike. #19 in space. #13 on quick screens. And not finding a way to get Redmond and #7 on the field together.

    • ianaboyd

      19 is good in space laterally, you just don’t want him to have to carry verticals. 13 on screens should be less of an issue if he can cover down and you have 19, 32, and 44 in pursuit on like a swing screen. It’s an issue but probably not a killer.

    • quigley

      Agreed.
      – 9 has proven that MLB isn’t his cup of tea
      – I don’t know where 19 plays

      Depth should be OU’s defense’s strength. The coaches need to maximize this.

      • ianaboyd

        I think Kelly is good if he’s more on the edge. He’s not great but he’s good.

        Murray I think gave up on the scheme and just started running to the ball.

  2. quigley

    Good pun Ian.

    I agree with you Ian that there was a lot of good in this press conference but also some concerning points.

    The most important parts of Grinch’s introduction to the OU are two important acknowledgements to football going forward:
    – Good Offense now beats Good Defense (corollary is offense wins championships).
    – Football is no longer a game of position on the field. It is now a game of ball possession (corollary is yardage doesn’t matter but getting the ball back does).

    > The focus on turnovers is concerning if he truly views turnovers as the endpoint. Turnovers are the end product of defensive tactics sometimes, but there is too much randomness in turnover generation to view them as a viable readout.

    The better readout, the one I’ve mentioned before, is percentage of possessions that end in a NON-touchdown. For OU, 50 – 60% should be sufficient. There are three foci for getting to this:
    1. Turnovers
    2. Third down defense
    3. Red zone defense.

    For turnovers, there are two basic strategies:
    – To get interceptions, increase % of passes defended (teams intercept about about a third of passes defended). This then becomes about baiting and pressuring QBs into bad reads and challenging catches.
    – To get fumbles, get into the backfield and increase the number of defenders rallying to the ball. This then becomes about penetration by the DL and effort by all defenders to get the ballcarrier.

    Third down defense has changed. The adage that good 3rd down defense is a product of good 1st and 2nd down defense is less true now that teams have really efficient passing games designed to pick up 3rd and 7 – 12 at high rates. Teams with good 3rd down defenses are usually aggressively jumping on the offense’s preferred tendency to make them look at less efficient options for getting those critical 3rd down yards.

    Red zone defense is again about hyperfocus on situational football. Making the offense go to plan B plays that they’re uncomfortable with is the goal.

    > Limiting the number of OU offensive possessions SHOULD be the preferred tactic of opposing offenses. This is the opposite of what you’re contending.

    OU’s incredible efficiency has recently yielded TDs on roughly 60 – 70% of possessions. Field position really isn’t an issue for the Sooner offense because of this efficiency. This is because low possessions equals high variance games. With fewer possessions, the impact of one failed possession is amplified. The 2018 OU-Army is the extreme example.

    During regulation:
    OU 7 possessions, 5 scoring opportunities (3 TD)
    3 TD, 1 missed FG, 1 goal line stop at the one yardline.
    Army 6 possessions, 3 scoring opportunities (3 TD)

    > I agree with the affinity toward Iowa St’s defense. One thing OU has the Iowa St doesn’t is quality depth. OU’s defenses in the 00’s were apparently famous for having qualitity depth across the board. OU’s defensive coaches haven’t used this depth to the teams advantage.

    • ianaboyd

      Word.

      I don’t think OU has had quality depth in recent years, I think their development on defense has fallen off too much to enjoy that benefit. Their defensive roster a year ago was no better than much of the league.

      The problem with the low possession strategy is that OU was more efficient about finishing drives with TDs than other teams. Because they scored from outside the red zone regularly and because they had too much going on in the red zone as well. I get and have argued on behalf of the “shorten the game, increase the variance” strategy before but it just doesn’t hold up as well now because the passing attacks are too good.

      It almost worked for army but army was legit solid on D, OU missed a not that difficult field goal, and army got turnovers. Also, Army was uniquely equipped to pick up 3rd/4th and short all day. Most teams couldn’t follow a similar ball control strategy if their lives depended on it.

      For most of the B12 the better play was to embrace a high number of possessions because a worn down OU D was so bad that it could elevate the opponent O to a level comparable to the Sooner O. Texas went at OU and that’s why they beat them once and had a good chance in round 2. Ditto Bama.

      • quigley

        We definitely agree on the poor development of OU’s defenders. The yawning gulf between Tim Kish and Brent Venebles in LB coaching is phenomenal and readily apparent to the casual observer.

        That said, the potential for the players to be GOOD contributors is present at all three levels of the defense. I’m particularly interested in LB play because I think S&C and deployment there can reshape OU’s production. My wishlist:
        – Kenneth Murray: fewer plays (about 50 per game), Pilates and ballet to improve hip flexibility (almost seriously). Let him blitz more, read less.
        – Ryan Jones: let him lose weight and build strength. He needs to do HIIT 20 minute workouts twice a day and drink alfalfa shakes. Attend a TCU camp undercover to learn leverage and aggression. Play him in space.
        – Deshaun White: GET HIM ON THE FIELD. He looked good out there at MLB, being in position and tackling. Makes quick decisions. Need to see if he can cover and chase plays.

        I also want to see the other highly recruited Fr/So that OU has on the roster that were apparently so good we couldn’t see them (Asamoah, Bonitto, Draper). Even if Murray is better than these guys at the start of the game, after play 70, K9 (his nickname), is exhausted and is slow to get to guys in the flat and is content to stay blocked. DON’T LET HIM GET THAT TIRED. There’s a reason NBA teams sub players in after 6 – 9 minutes in games, even in the playoffs. Plus getting the youngsters in keeps them engaged and accelerates their development.

        Your hypothesis that OU’s defensive teaching was such a net negative that it turned possibly productive players into negative is plausible. That may be why they played their starters too many snaps. I was going on the hypothesis that OU’s defensive coaches were under so much pressure that they didn’t feel they could trust inexperienced players.

        • ianaboyd

          I’ve heard a few good things about Dashaun White, also I remember him in recruiting and Texas really wanted him/I thought he’d be a super useful addition. I was talking with Kegan Reneau recently, he thinks OU should go 3-3-5 and play K9, White, and Kelly as the LBs with five DBs. I think that’d be a step in the right direction and a solid base package but I think spread teams would still shred that, hence my call for the inverted tampa-2 dime.

          The idea that OU just felt like they couldn’t trust the back-ups is solid except that the starters weren’t all that disciplined or well-oiled looking either. So it seems more likely that OU doesn’t have anyone on the fast track to development. LOL at “attend a TCU camp undercover.” Patterson always gets all his guys ready to play and survives injuries.

          My guess is that Patterson spends more of his program’s practice time having the defense do heavy work, adds wear and tear on his players that increases injuries, but then makes up for it because the back-ups get a lot of live tackling and play work in practice that sets them up to fill in. Just a guess.

          Also watching how many plays Oklahoma has on offense to attack different coverages and opponents I wonder if they set up a lot of their practice time to make that possible in ways that reduces the quality work that the defense can get. Again, just theorizing and wondering out loud. For instance, TCU always works in everything that Patterson has ever seen an offense run along with his tips and instructions to his players for how to handle it. Surely a lot of that comes against the scout team but at the very least it leaves the offense over in a corner doing their own thing.

      • quigley

        Your example of Texas and Alabama is correct, but only for those teams. The Horns and Tide were the only two teams on OU’s schedule that had the raw talent, specifically on their defenses, to contend with OU.

        For the other eleven teams on OU’s schedule, their defensive strategy was basically, “if OU makes a mistake on 2 – 3 consecutive plays on this drive we can get off the field.” The Oklahoma offense was scoring on TDs on about 70% of non-garbage time/non-end of half possessions last year.

        OU lost focus on offense vs Ok St, and played Bookie too long vs WV keeping those games too close. Otherwise, the math is favors the low possession strategy. I think this remains true for the 2019 version of the Sooners too.

  3. quigley

    Craig Kuligowski was let go from Alabama. He’s got a great track record, including Bama but at Missouri and Miami too. OU, or another school, needs to deepen the Missouri connection here.

    • quigley

      Great fit for the Sooners.
      > OU needs to bring him in as an analyst. Ruffin leaves after this year.

      > Kuligowski + Thibodeaux + Odom run the front seven.

      > Kuligowski recruits the Mo, KS, TN, IL. Odom does OK, AR, DFW. Thibodeaux gets the rest of TX.
      Easypeasy.

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