Mike Stoops, OU's defensive coordinator and brother of head coach Bob Stoops, knows his defense won't always be as good as it was against ULM, but he also hopes it will never be as bad as it was against WVU.
"It was disappointing and frustrating. It happens. It happens to everybody,'' Stoops said of last year's game in Morgantown, in which the Sooners gave up a school-record 778 yards. "Football is a very humbling game, and as good as we were the other night [against ULM], we were equally as bad that night.
"You're usually somewhere in between. We weren't that bad and we're not always going to be as good as we were the other night. You want to be somewhere in between.''
Stoops isn't shy about where to place the blame for what happened in Morgantown.
"I didn't put players in good enough positions as a coach to make plays, and that's frustrating,'' he said. "It was a long, difficult night. But between that night and what happened in the bowl game, it obviously convinced us that we need to adjust our defense and be more flexible and diverse."
The West Virginia offense Oklahoma will face this week, of course, is far different from last year's version. The Mountaineers, sans virtually all of their playmakers from last season, struggled to score enough to beat William & Mary 24-17. They are working in a new quarterback and almost all new skill-position players.
Stoops can see all of that, but he still won't underestimate the Mountaineers.
"I think this is a different team, but I don't think you can judge much by the William & Mary game,'' Stoops said. "They were very vanilla. They have a lot more offense than they showed in that game, so it's a tough preparation.
"They worked us pretty good a year ago. They run the ball and they have some pretty good backs. They moved Tavon Austin back there. They have a pretty solid running game and they throw the ball. He's always throwing the ball. They throw a lot of good screens, and they're going to try to attempt [to negate] some of our aggressive play, and that's where we're going to have to be smart and be able to counter it. That's really what plans are all about. They're going to try to take away what we do well, and we're going to take away what they do well. That's what football is all about."
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.