Oklahoma Football: 5 things to watch on defense against TCU


We're changing things up a bit this week. Instead of five players, we're looking at five things to watch on defense.


The Sooners' defense against Kasnas State was a non-factor, to put it kindly. They allowed nearly 300 rushing yards against Kansas State's offense and were completely helpless against option plays.

If the Sooners want to come out of Fort Worth with a win, the defense needs to play better than they did in week four. The Sooners' front seven was dominated by KSU's offensive line, plain and simple.

Will Jaren Kanak get defensive snaps?


Sep 17, 2022; Lincoln, Nebraska, USA; Oklahoma Sooners linebacker Jaren Kanak (7) chases Nebraska Cornhuskers quarterback Casey Thompson (11) during the first half at Memorial Stadium. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

After playing every defensive snap after Dashaun White's ejection against Nebraska, it was surprising to not see Jaren Kanak at all against Kansas State. It's not like the players ahead of him on the depth chart were having good games.

Kanak was on special teams against Kansas State, so that's something. If the defense gets off to another poor start, Brent Venables might bring in his freshman linebacker.

Can the D-Line bounce back?


Oklahoma's Jalen Redmond (31) bats a pass from Kansas State's Adrian Martinez (9) during a college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the Kansas State Wildcats at Gaylord Family - Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022. Kansas State won 41-34. Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

The defensive line looked out of sorts against Kansas State. They were slow to get set on the line of scrimmage and they didn't disrupt the Wildcats' rushing attack, save for a play here and there.

Deuce Vaugn seemingly had a multitude of running lanes to choose from.

After playing so well to start the season, the OU pass rush did not record a sack against Kansas State. Keep an eye on that this week after TCU QB Max Duggan was sacked five times by SMU.

Can the tackling get better?


Sept. 10, 2022; Norman; Oklahoma Sooners linebacker Danny Stutsman (28) and Oklahoma Sooners linebacker David Ugwoegbu (2) celebrate during the first half against the Kent State Golden Flashes at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The tackling looked slightly worse against Nebraska than it did against Kent State. It was downright dreadful against K-State.

There was a lot of flopping on the ground grabbing air and a lot of hitting without actual tackling. For the Oklahoma Sooners to have a rebound performance this week against the Horned Frogs, the tackling has to improve.

Will the offense help the defense?


NORMAN, OK - SEPTEMBER 3: Offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby works with quarterback Dillon Gabriel #8 of the Oklahoma Sooners before a game against the UTEP Miners at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on September 3, 2022 in Norman, Oklahoma. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

Jeff Lebby did not call a good game in week four.

When the defense is getting dominated in the run game, you need to control the clock. The Sooners didn't. Losing the time of possession battle by ten minutes, which has been a theme so far this season. That isn't going to work.

The defense looked tired in the fourth quarter. While it would be easy to blame that on conditioning, I don't think that's the problem. Even the best conditioned athletes would have a hard time with as many plays as the Wildcats ran last week.

Oklahoma can play fast and still take time off the clock. Just don't substitute between plays.

Can the defense get some turnovers?


Sept. 10, 2022; Norman; Oklahoma Sooners defensive back Billy Bowman (5) reacts after recovering a fumble during the second half against the Kent State Golden Flashes at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Sooners and Horned Frogs both take very good care of the football. Neither team has thrown an interception this year and both teams have a positive turnover differential.

Assuming the Sooners continue to take care of the ball, the defense could win the game by forcing a fumble or grabbing an interception.

It all starts with the pass rush having more success. If the D-Line can get to the QB, things will fall into place from there.

The response to a bad loss needs to be good. Brent Venables and his coaches have gone on about how they're building a new culture and how well the players have responded to it.

Time to show it.

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Story originally appeared on Sooners Wire


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