Tahlequah Daily Press

OU Sports

October 22, 2013

Sooners hope to start quickly against Texas Tech

NORMAN — If there wasn’t already a quarterback controversy brewing in Norman, Oklahoma wide receiver Lacolton Bester might have wound up in the mix, too.

Bester’s 49-yard touchdown pass to Sterling Shepard on a wide receiver reverse last week jumpstarted a sluggish Sooners’ offense in a 34-19 win over Kansas.

The pass might have been the best one thrown during the entire game.

“Coach (Josh) Heupel and Coach (Jay) Norvell finally decided it was oiled up enough to do it,” Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. “After I saw Lacolton throw it, I’m wondering why we don’t throw it a couple of times a game. He can just pull up in the pocket and find somebody. It was perfect. I knew he could throw it, but not that well.”

While Bester won’t be added to the quarterback depth chart anytime soon, the play did highlight the Sooners’ need for more big offensive plays early in games. Many of their games this year have come down to them trying to put teams away in the fourth quarter.

It’s a pattern senior offensive lineman Gabe Ikard wants to see change Saturday when the Sooners (6-1, 3-1 Big 12 Conference) host No. 10 Texas Tech (7-0, 4-0) at Memorial Stadium.

“Our first goal needs to be starting quicker,” Ikard said. “We are starting so slow the last two games, it’s got to change. We need to come out, play fast, get points on the board. Stop putting our defense in bad spots. That will be very important against Texas Tech with how explosive their offense is.”

The Red Raiders are averaging 41 points and 548 yards a game. Their 416 yards through the air is second in the FBS behind only No. 3 Oregon.

Oklahoma has scored more than 40 points only once this year. That was a 51-20 win over Tulsa Sept. 14.

While the Sooners have the No. 1 pass defense in the nation, Stoops said slowing down Texas Tech will be the job of more than just the defensive unit. The offense must help as well.

“You have to play well as a team,” Stoops said. “Offense is part of defense. When you play teams that have high powered offenses, you’ve got to stay on the field to. You play together as a team. You have to complement one another, offensively and defensively. Hopefully we can do that.”

The game with Texas Tech has the potential to turn into a shootout, as many of the teams previous matchups became. That includes two years ago when the Red Raiders upset the undefeated Sooners at Owen Field.

A shootout is something the Red Raiders have shown they can do well. Because of an inconsistent passing attack, that has not been a strength for the Sooners as of yet.

“We need to be able to be more efficient in the pass game to open the run game up,” Ikard said. “We need to be able to stretch the field vertically. ... We’re not far off from being a great offense. We just need to put it all together.”

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