Brent Venables bringing disguised blitzes on defense
Oklahoma head coach Brent Venables is potentially the best defensive mind in the Big 12. The former Oklahoma assistant and Clemson Tigers defensive coordinator brings a multiple 4-3 defense that relies on explosive linebacker play and a disciplined D-Line and secondary.
The Sooners’ defensive line is a deeper and more consistent group than it was against Texas. Oklahoma has five or six guys they can rotate up front. And while they’re not as deep or talented as Texas’ interior defensive line, Oklahoma might have the second or third-best D-Line in the Big 12.
Complimented by an athletic and rangy group of linebackers, led by standout junior weak side backer Danny Stutsman, the Oklahoma defensive front has posed problems for every team they’ve faced this season. Stutsman is the rangy and explosive linebacker that Venables-coached defenses have become famous for in the last decade or 15 years. He can get after the quarterback on delayed inside blitzes, explode to the ball carrier, and cover the flats defending the pass.
Defensive ends Ethan Downs and Adepoju Adebawore are capable pass rushers who each have double-digit pressures and multiple sacks this season.
Venables has more pieces up front to generate an effective pass rush on redshirt sophomore quarterback Quinn Ewers and the Longhorns this year. And the improved Oklahoma interior defensive line will make it more difficult for Texas to find success on the ground than they had last season.
The most worrying factor in this game regarding the matchup between Oklahoma’s defense and Texas’ offense is the Sooner pass rush given how long Venables has prepared to draw up different stunts and twists up front. He’ll test Sarkisian’s offense out of the gates in this game. And I’m sure Sarkisian will have some crazy plays ready for the first half of this game to help Texas gain control early on against the Sooners.