Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
The Sooners defense, which has long made a 4-3 alignment its calling card, is switching to a 3-4 under Mike Stoops this season.
Oklahoma's defense looked meager last time it saw live action, allowing Johnny Football to dice them like an onion en route to a 41-13 loss. But, as CBS Sports' Matt Hinton explains, the switch might have more to do with returning personnel than some sort of overblown knee-jerk reaction to the Cotton Bowl:
Last year's top four defensive tackles,David King, Jamarkus McFarland, Casey Walker and Stacy McGee, are all on their way out, along with the 80 combined starts they amassed over the last three years.
In their place, there's Jordan Phillips, a 6-foot-6, 315-pound sophomore who came off the bench in 10 games as a redshirt freshman, and literally no one else who has seen significant game time in the middle of the line.
Hinton goes on to document Oklahoma's struggles in 2012, chronicling the defense's last-season collapse after such a strong start. But the unit still finished 23rd in Football Outsiders' Defensive F/+, third-best in the Big 12, so the move probably has more to do with lack of depth than lack of success.
In addition to the defensive line attrition, Oklahoma lost four of last year's five leading tacklers. The Stoops Bros. responded by throwing a wrench in a long-successful defensive scheme.
Whether it works or it doesn't, things will certainly look different in Norman this year.