Commentary

Early OU preview

Texas has to prevent turnover and pressure QB Landry Jones in 2012

Updated: July 11, 2012, 10:09 AM ET
By Carter Strickland | HornsNation

[+] EnlargeLandry Jones
Matthew Emmons/US PresswireTexas will have to do a better job of pressuring Landry Jones in the 2012 Red River Rivalry game.
Editor's note: HornsNation will count down to the start of fall camp by taking an in-depth look at each team Texas will face in 2012.

The rundown

2011 record: 10-3, 6-3 in the Big 12

Last meeting vs. Texas: OU won 55-17 at the Cotton Bowl on Oct. 5, 2011

All-time vs. Texas: 42-59-5

Top returners: Landry Jones (QB), Tom Wort (LB), Tony Jefferson (S), Demontre Hurst (CB), Kenny Stills (WR), Dominique Whaley (RB)

Key losses: Jazz Reynolds (WR), Ryan Broyles (WR), Ronnell Lewis (DE), Frank Alexander (DE)

Statistical leaders

Rushing: Dominique Whaley: 627 yards on 113 attempts with nine touchdowns. Averaged 5.5 yards per carry.

Passing: Landry Jones: 355-of-562 for 4,463 yards with 29 touchdowns and 15 interceptions

Receiving: Kenny Stills: 61 catches for 849 yards and eight touchdowns

Sacks: Corey Nelson: 5.5

Interceptions: Tony Jefferson: 4

Did you know: Mike Stoops is back as the defensive coordinator of the Sooners. Stoops was a co-defensive coordinator at OU from 1999-2003, and in four of those five years, Oklahoma had a defense ranked in the top seven. Also during those five years, OU had 18 defensive touchdowns. In the subsequent eight years since he left, OU has only had 25 defensive touchdowns. So Mike Stoops' defense has accounted for 43 percent of the defensive touchdowns in Bob Stoops' 13-year tenure at OU.

Three things to watch

Pressure on the quarterback: If Landry Jones is allowed to sit back in the pocket without pressure from the edges, he will pick apart the Texas secondary no matter how talented it is. Texas tried to do some different things against Jones in 2011 but missed its assignments on a few occasions and one of those misses cost Texas a 64-yard touchdown run.

Tackles vs. defensive ends: Frank Alexander embarrassed Texas' tackles in the 2011 game. He is gone now and Texas should be better at tackle with Josh Cochran being a year older and Donald Hawkins should be up to speed by the time the OU game rolls around.

Turnovers and field position: Although Texas gave up 55 points, the Longhorns' defense held the relatively high-powered Sooner offense in check. Oklahoma's defense scored 21 points. Ten more points were scored on drives that started inside the Texas 50 because of turnovers. The Sooners had two long touchdown drives of 65 and 83 yards plus and explosive touchdown run of 64 yards.

So Texas' defense will actually go into this year's game not feeling too poorly about the way it performed last season. And the offense will go into the game knowing that if it can reduce the turnovers it has a chance to at least stay in the game with the Sooners.

Carter Strickland | email

Reporter, HornsNation