October 12, 2011

Defense Dominates Texas Hot 11

The Sooner Hot 11 is a SoonerScoop.com ranking, compiled by associated editor Josh McCuistion, of the previous Saturday's top performers and Oklahoma's 55-17 Red River Rout was quite possibly the most perfect scenario Sooner fans could have hoped for in their annual meeting with Texas in Dallas. More than 18 players were given real consideration to make the Hot 11, and for all of the points that Oklahoma scored, what defensive players could afford to not be on the list?

11. Tony Jefferson, Safety - Stats: Four tackles (two solo), one sack (15-yards), one interception (13-yard return).
Analysis: The tough part about Jefferson's performance against Ball State as it leaves him nowhere to go but down. The talented safety followed up a Hot 11 performance last year in the Cotton Bowl with another strong performance in which at times he seemed to be everywhere on the field. Though Jefferson has been known as a player best close to the line of scrimmage but as he told our own Eddie Radosevich on Scoop HD he felt his interception in coverage against Jaxon Shipley is a continuation of his maturation.Last Week: No. 1

10. David King, Defensive End - Stats: Three tackles (one solo), 19-yard fumble return for touchdown, one quarterback hurry.
Analysis: It's crazy that a performance like King's ends up ninth best among the defensive players but when you talk about a defensive performance that served as a fairly potent batch of whiteout for the Sooner record book that's how these things go. That being said it's worth noting that King made this list without even being listed as a starter. Interestingly he actually did start the game, perhaps a sign of how comfortable the coaches currently feel with him.Last Week: N/A

9. Tom Wort, Linebacker - Stats: Seven tackles (four solo).
Analysis: It's almost funny to think of a big-hitter and often big-play guy like Wort as a 'steady' part of a defense that produced a ton of big plays on Saturday but that's exactly what played out for the San Antonio area sophomore. Wort has become a guy that is just entirely comfortable in the Sooner defense and no longer looks to be thinking about each play but instead simply reacting to what he sees and it's been a big part of an emerging run defense.Last Week: No. 8

8. Aaron Colvin, Safety - Stats: Eight tackles (three solo), one tackle for loss (13-yards).
Analysis: I admit, this is hard for me to put him this low. Of all the efforts that have been lauded from this weekend to me it's Colvin that has gone the least appreciated. Ronnell Lewis's deep tackle for loss on Jaxon Shipley? Not possible if Colvin doesn't come flying up on contain - it's just one of several plays that Colvin would get no statistical credit for but if not for his help would have looked a lot different on tape.Last Week: N/A

7. Demontre Hurst, Cornerback - Stats: Seven tackles (four solo), 55-yard interception return for touchdown, pass break-up.
Analysis: Hurst got his first highlight play of the season and still could climb no higher than seven. For whatever reason Hurst wasn't quite as locked in as he had been through the first third of the regular season but it's probably unfair to expect anyone to play at that level for the entire course of the season. It's probably not coincidence that two young quarterbacks were the first to think challenging Hurst was a worthwhile endeavor.Last Week: N/A

6. Ryan Broyles, Wide Receiver - Stats: Nine-catches for 122-yards and a five-yard touchdown.
Analysis: I'm going to go ahead and say that it's very likely next week Broyles were take home the No. 1 spot if he can reach four catches and 0-yards. To do what this guy does week in and week out just never gets it due. I'm not sure if I've heard ESPN mention even once that he is approaching the NCAA's all-time reception record. In this day and age of college football passing numbers are falling fast, but they aren't falling that fast. Let me go ahead and congratulate him before his big moment and entrance into the title holder of one of college football's elite records.Last Week: No. 6

5. Casey Walker, Defensive Tackle - Stats: Two tackles for loss (12-yards), one forced fumble, one sack (seven-yards).
Analysis: I've said it for a while but the talk, to me, of Walker playing great wasn't really showing up on film. The only thing that I could ever figure was that the Sooners were just happy with Walker fulfilling his responsibilities, and of course that's important but this list is usually full of game-changers. On Saturday that was exactly the type of plays that Walker made as his forced fumble opened the floodgates for the Sooner defense.Last Week: N/A

4. Ronnell Lewis, Defensive End - Stats: Five solo tackles, three tackles for loss (35-yards), two sacks (34-yards), one forced fumble, two quarterback hurries.
Analysis: While he isn't on top of the list, a case could definitely be made that he should be. Because when Lewis is playing at the peak of his game and is pursuing everything he is quite possibly Oklahoma's best defender. Lewis' versatility allows him to be used in a variety of ways and that collection of roles makes him almost impossible for offenses to gameplan for. It's quite possible that this is Lewis' last year and he is showing why the NFL has taken such interest.Last Week: N/A

3. Frank Alexander, Defensive End - Stats: Six tackles (five solo), four tackles for loss (30-yards), one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, one pass break-up, three sacks (26-yards), one quarterback hurry.
Analysis: That is almost undoubtedly the greatest stat line I've ever seen at No. 3 on this list. That being said, for whatever reason there were several of Alexander's biggest plays in which he went completely unaccounted for. Don't take that to mean that I felt Alexander didn't play well, he didn't end up here by accident - guy continues to play like the conference's best defensive end but the two performances ahead of him were for the ages.Last Week: No. 4

2. Jamell Fleming, Cornerback - Stats: 13-tackles (11 solo), two tackles for loss (three yards), one forced fumble, 56-yard fumble return for touchdown.
Analysis: Everyone had been waiting for Fleming to look like the guy we all raved about last year and it's safe to say he picked the right moment to find his form. The physical cornerback applied great coverage as well as being his ever-constant self in run support. There may be corners in the country who are better at one or the other but Fleming's ability to make big plays in both aspects of the game is pretty much unparalleled in college football.Last Week: N/A

1. Landry Jones, Quarterback - Stats: 31-for-50 for 367-yards and three touchdowns.
Analysis: I know with all these great defensive performances it will surprise many, if not most, of you that I would have Jones at the top of this list but I have to say for me this was the most ideal game he could have played. At no time did Jones put the ball in danger and though he has had performances well beyond the 62-percent completion rating it's worth noting he had at least five drops and was great with decision after decision on Saturday. If Oklahoma wants to win a national title, this is the Jones they'll need.Last Week: No. 5

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