OU defense prepared to take care of business, Tom Wort says
Kingsley Burns, The Oklahoma Daily
Following the Sooner road win against then-No. 5 Florida State two weeks ago, the OU coaching staff was pleased with the way the team handled adversity away from Norman.
Fast-forward to the next week against an unranked opponent at home, where there were 532 reasons the Sooners had to watch LSU become the new No. 1 team in the AP poll on Sunday.
“Too many mental errors, too many mistakes, and too many busts,” linebacker Tom Wort said following Monday’s practice. “Not to take anything away from Missouri, but we’ve got the talent and the guys to play great defense, and when you’re lining up wrong before the snap, you don’t give yourself a chance. That was most disappointing.”
Missouri put up 532 yards of total offense against the Sooners, a factor that could have tipped the score in the Tiger’s favor if OU’s offense stayed offbeat like it was in the first quarter.
But the Sooners are learning how to mature from their mistakes.
“You can’t take any team for granted,” Wort said. “If we play like that again, we’re going to get beat. We have a lot of pride on our defense, and lot of people were mad about the way we played.”
But the Sooners weren’t letting anger get the best of them during preparation for Saturday’s matchup against Ball State. Instead, they’re holding each other accountable for last week’s actions and working to regain their pre-Florida State mindset.
“Our locker room was indicative of a group of guys that were fortunate to win, and they didn’t play like they’re capable of playing,” defensive coordinator Brent Venables said. “They’re taking the responsibility and accountability, and they’ve owned it.
“I have no doubt they’ll move forward.”
And as far as the No. 1 ranking is concerned, the Sooners also are using the drop in the AP poll as a chance to breathe out from under the suffocating bright lights as the top-ranked team.
Wort made it clear that the ranking doesn’t matter, saying the drop “absolutely did not” affect the team.
“If we take care of business, rankings don’t matter,” Wort said.
The Sooners have Ball State coming into Norman this week, and if the team wants to really show it has fixed the faults from last week, they’ll be crisp in all facets of this week’s game.
And while the Sooners have something to prove this week, Venables is just trying to make it business as usual against the incoming opponent.
“We try to do it the same every week,” Venables said. “You put what took place, good or bad, in front of them to see what you can improve. It doesn’t sway a bunch from week to week.”
If the Sooners’ maturation process over the week continue, it could allow a more championship-worthy team to take the field this Saturday.
AT A GLANCE: Missouri output
The Tigers put up 532 total yards of offense against OU on Saturday, 291 through the air and 241 on the ground, including two 100-yard rushers.