Sooner D Hopes to Contain UT's Two-QB System

OU defensive end Frank Alexander

NORMAN, Okla. — It's never a simple task to prepare for a two quarterback system, but that's just what the No. 3/1 Sooners are faced with doing as they head into the Red River Rivalry against No. 11/10 Texas Saturday.

UT's Garrett Gilbert was named the starter after winning the battle during fall camp, but he has since lost his job, decided to transfer and paved the way for a couple youngsters to take over the reins as signal caller.

One of those is former UT quarterback Colt McCoy's heir apparent, brother Case.

The other is David Ash.

McCoy is a sophomore, and Ash is a freshman.

And they are both very talented athletes if you ask the Sooners.

"Pretty good quarterbacks, been watching them on film and just feel like they're very confident in what they do," said field cornerback Demontre Hurst. "You know, they have a lot of depth and they're good at what they do."

Plus, they're a heady duo.

"They're very smart, very good players for being so young," said linebacker Corey Nelson.

But that's just it: they're young.

And youthful quarterbacks typically struggle in the OU-Texas game.

That makes it all the more important for the Sooner defense to get pressure on them and get the two out of their games early.

"That's going to be real important because their quarterbacks, they're playmakers," said defensive end Ronnell Lewis. "They can move. They're pretty fast, shifty guys. You know, they're a young team and they're going to progress in the future. We're just going to go down and try to play our defense, play hard and try to shut them down."

The fact that the two are dual-threat quarterbacks also makes it crucial to get some pressure and force them out of their comfort zone.

"We're worried about just getting to that quarterback and making plays to where they can't move out of the pocket because both of them can run," said nickelback Tony Jefferson. "Both of them are dual-threat quarterbacks, so we just got to keep them inside the pocket and kind of rattle them."

As for the quarterbacks and what they each individually possess, Ash has completed 68.4 percent of his passes (13-of-19) for 213 yards and two touchdowns with a 197.3 efficiency, while McCoy is slightly over 70 percent at 26-for-37 with 335 yards and two touchdown tosses and a 164.2 efficiency.

Ash has rushed 14 times for 40 yards, but lost 24, netting 16.

McCoy has been much less of a ground threat, rushing five times for four total yards.

But OU head coach Bob Stoops insists they're more similar than it first appeared.

"Lately, it's become less and less different," Stoops said. "I think early on there was more run game with Ash in there and quarterback run game and all with him in there, but now you see him doing more and more of the other things that McCoy is doing. So, I see it as it's progressed to where the two of them aren't all that different now in what they're asking them to do, you know, in the last couple games."

The biggest thing will be knowing what each feels most comfortable doing within the framework of the offense.

"It's hard because we try to figure out which tendencies each quarterback will play or certain plays," Hurst said. "But I think overall we just have to go in with the mindset of, you know, both quarterbacks can do both jobs. So, I guess if we do that, then we'll be just fine."

Defensive end Frank Alexander added onto that.

"It's not a real big deal, but you know, you can tell what kinds of plays you're going to get with the different quarterbacks and stuff, of how they do a lot with their shifts and trades and motions in there," Alexander said. "You know, you kind of know what you're going to get from them."

However challenging it may be to defend two quarterbacks, the recipe for success seems real simple: pressure them and get in their heads early and often.

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