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Oklahoma Building Off the 'Good and the Bad' From Saturday to Prepare for Kansas

The Sooner defense had just a handful of bad plays against UCF, but OU is working hard to correct those mental errors before making the trip to Lawrence this weekend.

NORMAN — Oklahoma’s defense got tested mentally against UCF.

The No. 6-ranked Sooners had plenty of pre-snap motion and deception thrown at them in Saturday’s 31-29 win over the Knights, and this week will be no different.

Oklahoma (7-0, 4-0 Big 12) visits the Kansas Jayhawks (5-2, 2-2) in a game that will be featured on Fox’s Big Noon Kickoff at 11 a.m. in Lawrence, the Lance Leipold’s team will also dip into their bag of tricks.

UCF hurt the Sooners on two big plays, a 54-yard run and a busted 86-yard touchdown pass.

Outside of those two plays, OU held the Knights’ high-powered offense to 257 yards on the other 69 plays, allowing just 3.7 yards per play.

Still, Oklahoma will have to fix the handful of mental errors to bottle up Kansas’ offense this weekend.

Though easier said than done, there’s plenty of faith the chunk passing play can be eliminated.

Cornerback Woodi Washington, who has been the image of consistency this season for OU, made the mistake to let UCF wide receiver Javon Baker release free down the field.

This week, Washington’s teammates said they had full belief in him to bounce back against the Jayhawks.

“Woodi is probably the best corner in the Big 12,” OU cornerback Gentry Williams said on Monday. “He plays very hard, he does a very good job at what he does. I think Woodi, he has a really, really short-term memory and I don’t think that fazed him much because of how good he’s been and I think he has the mindset to keep pushing forward.”

Every offense is unique, but the Jayhawks tout a pair of talented running backs in Devon Neal and Daniel Hishaw Jr.

Like UCF, Leipold also deploys plenty of motion and window dressing to try and confuse opposing defenses.

Staying mentally sharp will be essential again for Oklahoma’s defense, as the Jayhawks will undoubtedly throw a wrinkle or two out on Saturday after having two weeks to prepare for the Sooners.

“We just got to be more disciplined with our eyes,” Washington said on Tuesday, “and be more locked in with our details and trust what the coaches are telling us.”

OU’s secondary will be tested just as they were against UCF, needing to trigger quickly and be willing tacklers to commit extra numbers to defend the Jayhawk rushing attack.

“They have… two really good running backs,” Washington said. “Real shifty. Real shifty guys, and they break a lot of tackles. So we just got to make sure we’re closing ground and making tackles.”

Brent Venables and the defense will hone in on the few mistakes from the UCF showing, as the Sooners will see those plays again until they prove things are corrected.

But dialing in on those plays to make quick improvements could lead to a strong showing after preparing against such a similar offense in the Knights.

“There’s definitely something to build off of (from last week) — the good and the bad,” Williams said. “Whatever you did bad against UCF, you’re gonna wanna fix for Kansas and I think the good that you take against UCF is going to help you for Kansas as well.”