Tonight: Can Venables and Sooner D slow UM?


Thursday, May 26th 2011, 1:17 pm
By: News 9


Originally Published: Sep 25, 2009 9:41 AM CDT

After tonight’s practice, I cut to the chase on this good-looking talk-of-the-town and talk-of-the-country Miami offense. The query went to the always-accommodating Sooners defensive coordinator, Brent Venables: ''Would you call Miami's offense great?'' Paraphrasing, the pensive DC smiled, and said “yes.” Venables, a pensive fella who gives it his best shot whether wearing a headset or answering a question, said that it’s that they have a great receiver. It’s receivers (emphasizing the plural). Venables went on to say that it’s not that they have a really strong running back. It’s running backs. Not that they have one tight end. He looked down and said that he thought it was a weak position. Continuing, the eleven year Bob Stoops assistant said that when he’s evaluating the tight ends, he looks “out there and sees three or four of those athletic guys running free. Their offensive line is night and day from what it was two years ago (when OU steamrolled UM 51-13). They you’ve got the QB (Jacory Harris) who’s playing as well as anyone in the country. It will be a challenge.” Don’t misread the feisty Venables—the quintessential coach who embodies the theme from the old Lucky Strike commercial: He’d rather “fight than switch.” He’s got no back-off in his veins—including those that everyone has seen in his thick linebacker neck, that tend to pop out during his Saturday sideline exhortations. Venables said not playing this week will give him and his kids an extra week to heal up, take advantage of extra film study time, and get a leg up with on-the-field time to implement his game plan. Several defenders told me they were already taking advantage of the extra film study time to get a better grasp of schemes, their individual match-ups, and the tendencies they see in the explosive UM offense. OU fans best hope that his defense takes advantage of that extra week of preparation time. And that it as well as the one that had five weeks to prepare for an explosive Florida offense in the national title game in the same stadium where the game next week will be played. Nationally, media and fans have tended to poke fun at Stoops and his failures in recent bowl and BCS title games rather than see the game as it was. The game was a tight fit?well-played?and more to the point, one in which the defense played well enough to win. With the uncertainty at QB and what I anticipate as a match-up problem between OU’s unproven offensive line vs. UM’s speedy defense, my hunch is that Venables and Company will need a stellar effort. Otherwise, let the record show that Stoops and Company will drop to 1-3 in South Florida. One caveat. All bets are off if this guy Bradford surprises me and trots onto Jimmy Buffet’s Landshark digs.