Sooner Superlatives: Opposing Gameplans

Best Defensive Gameplans

There were a few times where I laid my head down and knew that our offense had been shut down in every aspect of the game.These coaches and players deserve a ton of credit for shutting us down on these days. Though each of these losses were tremendous learning experiences, I still hate losing.

  1. Brent Venables- Clemson- 2014rab-2

Their gameplan was absolutely mind-numbing. I could not have designed a more perfect defensive gameplan to combat that specific offensive gameplan if I had put it together myself. The game itself was a nightmare. They ran fronts and brought blitzes that they had never shown on tape. They disguised their schemes incredibly well, they showed tremendous variety in their packages, and then once the ball was snapped they played with reckless abandon. We lost 5 games that year, but this might’ve been the only one we lost up front.

In both my contests against Venable’s Tiger defense, I came away very impressed with the small things that they did to create doubt and confusion on our side. Clemson resembled an NFL defense both in talent and scheme much more than any other team we played. By breaking their own tendencies, showing weird looks, and bluffing blitzes, they were able to force me to be just a bit hesitant. As a guy that knew the playbook inside and out, and that prided myself on understanding defensive scheme and tendency, it was not often that I was hesitant in my decision-making on the field. But in those games, they did just enough to cause me to doubt my own calls just a tad, and that has an amplified effect on the big stage.

  1. Phil Bennett- Baylor- 2013

Football vs. OU

This was the Thursday night shellacking in Waco against the Bears in their all blacks. Like Clemson, they did some things that we had never seen them do before, and we did a poor job of adjusting. The week before, we had pounded the ball down the field against Texas Tech with different variations of our Power scheme. Bennett and the Bears completely took away our best play with a series of exaggerated slants that made running power nearly impossible. Our entire strong side running game was shut down. What a lot of people don’t realize is that it’s actually much harder to run AWAY from a blitz than to run right into it. When you know a blitz is coming, the best thing to do is to check a run right into the teeth of it, and many times you can gash the defense for a big play. Unfortunately, in this game, we didn’t have many weakside runs in, and by the time we started getting anything going, the game was already out of hand. This game, we weren’t ready for it, and they took it to us and shut down the ground game. However, in every meeting since, they continue to run the same high-risk slants and blitzes, and they get gashed.


  1. Gary Patterson- TCU- 2014 and 2015


Patterson and his staff are one of the premier defensive staffs in America. They are schematically sound, their players play with exceptional technique, and they play HARD. In 2014, they got pressure on us throughout the day, and we had trouble running the ball. Aside from Clemson, it was our next worse game up front. 2015, though they didn’t beat us, was even more impressive. They had marginal defensive talent and depth due to a rash of injuries throughout the year. Yet, somehow, they managed to slow down the most potent offense I ever played on. Part of that is due to the injury of Baker, but even before he left they were causing us problems, and his absence cannot explain for our lack of success on the ground. They disguised blitzes and used some run-game twists to stifle us throughout the second half. Year in and year out, the Horned Frogs defensive linemen are the best at reading blocks of everyone we play. The TCU defensive staff is very, very good.

Worst Defensive Gameplans

C’mon now….. I might wanna get a job as a coach! Besides, we want these gameplans to get pulled off the shelf again! 🙂