Cornhusker offense requires plenty of preparation

Friday, October 27th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) _ Oklahoma's offense looks complicated, and it is. The Sooners use four and five receivers, lots of motion, plenty of deception and move the ball through the air and on the ground.

Nebraska's looks simpler _ the Cornhuskers run, run and run some more _ but it isn't, Sooner coach Bob Stoops says.

``It's difficult (to prepare) in the sense that they have a lot of offense. They have a lot of plays, they have virtually every offensive running play that's been invented, and then some,'' he said. ``It takes a lot of preparation with your defensive players mentally.'

Both styles have worked. Oklahoma leads the nation in scoring (46.7 points per game) and Nebraska is second (46.3). The Cornhuskers are second nationally in total offense, Oklahoma is fifth.


QUICK STARTS: Oklahoma got off to fast starts in its two biggest games this season, victories over Texas and Kansas State. But coach Bob Stoops said he won't be nervous if the same doesn't happen Saturday against Nebraska.

``Regardless of what happens in the first quarter, you've got three other quarters. It doesn't matter,'' he said. ``You've got to play four quarters of good football against good football teams to have an opportunity to win.

``It doesn't matter to me if we start quick or not. As long as you win in the end is what matters.''


BCS REVIEW: Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said the first Bowl Championship Series standings of the season were about what he expected. Nebraska is No. 1 and the Sooners No. 2 in the BCS, which will determine the teams that play for the national title.

Stoops said the ratings prove that if you're in a strong conference, then playing what is considered a soft nonconference schedule isn't a major detriment.

Oklahoma's nonconference games this year were against Texas-El Paso, Arkansas State and Rice.

``It also states what I've said all along to our players _ that if you win, you're going to be in a great position to have an opportunity at a Big 12 championship game and to have a chance to win that Big 12 champ game,'' he said.

If a team does that after positioning itself during the season, ``You've got an entire month to worry about or be excited about maybe playing in the national championship game,'' Stoops said. ``So it means nothing right now.''


RETURNING HOME: Three Nebraska players have a particularly strong interest in playing Saturday in Norman.

Placekicker Josh Brown, noseguard Jason Lohr and offensive lineman Jon Rutherford all grew up and played high school football in Oklahoma. Brown was a star at Foyil. Lohr was a prep All-American at Jenks and Rutherford played at Midwest City.

``This game is really going to prove a point why I chose Nebraska,'' Brown said. ``I've got to go down there and back up my decision.''

Lohr, who moved to Tulsa when he was 4, said he wasn't ever very interested in signing with an Oklahoma school.

``I kind of liked Michigan, because that's where I was from,'' he said. ``And ever since I lived in Oklahoma, they (the Sooners) hadn't done very well. But you can't take anything away from them now. They have played great this season.''


NO CARRYOVER: Nebraska shut down Texas Tech's passing game a few weeks ago. The offense is similar to that of Oklahoma, but Bob Stoops and Nebraska's Frank Solich say it would be a mistake to read too much into that.

``We're not kidding ourselves that because we stopped Texas Tech that we'll stop Oklahoma. Those are two different football teams,'' Solich said. ``They both throw the ball extensively and there are some similarities in their offense, but there are a lot of great differences, too.''

Stoops said his offense has grown since it was implemented last year by Mike Leach, who now is head coach at Texas Tech.

``We have evolved as an offense and continue to, with different routes, different protections,'' he said. ``We're more creative in running the football.

``We're much different than they (Texas Tech) are, in many ways, so I'm not sure how much pertains.''