Stoops said the Sooners’ Sugar Bowl matchup with the Crimson Tide on Thursday “will be the most physical game that we have played all year.”
“Offensively, they are probably the most complete or they are the most complete team we have faced,” Stoops said during his Sunday news conference. “When you at the offensive line, you look at the skill, you look at the running backs, you look at the tight ends, they present challenges across board.”
Oklahoma is still transitioning into a 3-4 defense under Stoops, who is in his second year as defensive coordinator.
While it may come off as coach-speak, Stoops is genuine when assessing the Tide’s offensive attack. The Sooners are built on speed to defend spread offensive teams in the Big 12, while the SEC prides itself on being more physical than its opponents. And rarely does a team out-physical Alabama.
“It’s old school, it’s a NFL-style of football,” Stoops said. “And they come at you in a variety of different sets, shifts and motions. They window dress things very well. It’s very well organized. It’s very well orchestrated.”
Stoops mentioned that his entire defense is a “little bit undersized” and that the Sooners would have to “do some things to create some plays with our speed.”
During their scheduled media session Sunday, the Sooners' defensive players were asked how they play to stop the Tide’s attack despite giving up a lot in size.
Oklahoma defensive end Charles Tapper, who is listed at 6-foot-4, 261 pounds in the bowl media guide, isn’t using the team’s lack of size as an excuse.
“We’re going out there grinding hard (in practice), showing people that this 3-4 (defense), even though we’re little upfront, we’re still dominate forces upfront,” Tapper said. “We still can do what the bigger guys can do.”
Linebacker Eric Striker, who is listed at 6-0, 219 pounds, said the Sooners won’t make a ton of adjustments for this game.
“We have what we have,” Striker said. “We just got to play. That’s it.”
Striker said he feels it’s more important for the Sooners to strike first instead of worrying about being undersized.
“You always want to throw the first punch and get a good start on the game,” Striker said. “That will be a great plus for us if we can throw the first punch.”