Bedlam Defense Preview: Linebacker Love Bone

Now Tom, when the ballcarrier tries to go past you, you need to stop him, by force if necessary. - Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

If you don't get the reference, you probably weren't a fan of grunge. Personally, I think it sucks, much like the OU linebacker corp.

Everybody read the D line preview? Good, now we take a look at the linebackers. And I'm going to give you the quickest summary you'll read anywhere about the OU linebackers- they fucking suck.* No really, they suck so bad it's amazing. I have a hard time accepting that a school like Oklahoma has a hard time finding good players, but this batch is terrible.

The Sooners employ a base 4-3 defense as their base, but also play a lot of nickel (when I say a lot, I mean almost always), and most of their formations seem to be an attempt to hide the linebackers. Over the past few games, the Sooners are only starting two linebackers, and not rotating as much as I would expect considering the level of play they're getting from the starters. Why don't we talk about those starters, shall we?

Junior Tom Wort is having his worst year in a Goon uniform statistically, only recording 1 sack to go with 45 tackles. That's down from 3 and 4 sacks the past two years, so he was never a sack master, but his tackels are also down from the same time a year ago (61 vs 45).

Starting across from Wort is another junior, Corey Nelson. This year Nelson has notched 39 tackles and one sack. Neither Nelson or Wort are very effective when blitzing, they have a hard time shedding blocks, can't cover well, don't stay in position, and have a hard time with tackling. I'm not exaggerating much either, when I say this will be the worst linebackers we've seen all season (though we still haven't played Baylor).

What amazes me the most about this situation is that guys like Frank Shannon and Aaron Franklin haven't seen more playing time. In his limited minutes Shannon has 26 tackles and 2 sacks. So I'm not sure what's going on in Mike Stoops head (and truthfully, I never want to. Remember A Clockwork Orange? I'd imagine that but with more animal murder), but I'd say it's time to let the young'ns have a go.

I think we can have great succes running Blake Jackson (provided he catches the god damn ball) and Josh Stewart over the middle, where Wort and Nelson have to cover them. Because they can't. We also don't have to worry about them providing run support, as they don't move laterally very well and they get stuck on a block like a fat man on the last package of Twinkies.

I'm trying to find some stats worth looking at to evaluate the linebacker play, and the only ones I can come up with are 3rd down conversions and red zone defense (where the linebackers have to cover or help stuff the run). In Big 12 play the Sooners are allowing opponents to convert 49% of third downs (8th in the conference), and opponents are scoring 87% of the time (7th in the conference) they enter the redzone (and 16 of 24 trips result in touchdowns).

After reading this and the defensive line preview I'm sure your keyboards are all sticky. Well let me slow you down just a tad, as we haven't had the final preview yet, and that is the strength of the OU defense, the secondary. For now though, remember we can win Saturday, but we're gonna need some hairy balls to do it.

Go Pokes

*Now they'll have a career day against us.

SB Nation Featured Video
X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Cowboys Ride For Free

You must be a member of Cowboys Ride For Free to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Cowboys Ride For Free. You should read them.

Join Cowboys Ride For Free

You must be a member of Cowboys Ride For Free to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Cowboys Ride For Free. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker