Buffs prepare for a Sooner team without weaknesses
BOULDER, Colo. -- Want to stump Bob Stoops? Just ask him to point out the flaws on his top-ranked Oklahoma team.
"As far as anything that's a glaring problem or weakness, I don't know if there's anything right now," the Sooners' coach said.
His counterpart at Colorado, Saturday night's opponent, would concur.
Buffaloes coach Gary Barnett described Oklahoma as complete a college team as he's ever seen.
"They sure do everything well," Barnett said. "A year ago, you might have been able to pick out an area here or there in which they were good, not great. Now in every area -- whether it's returning, kicking, offense or defense -- they're just hitting on all cylinders.
"They run well, they have great depth. They have the best punt return game in the country. They play great zone defense, and whether the ball is thrown or run, there are 11 hats on the ball. Offensively, they're more of a passing team than they were a year ago."
Whew. That's quite an endorsement.
Asked if this is the best team he's ever had to prepare for, Barnett, in his 14th season as a college head coach, said, "Gosh, it sure seems that way. I don't remember anybody that's as complete as this team. There don't appear to be any weaknesses."
Oklahoma quarterback Jason White leads the nation in passing efficiency, having thrown for 22 touchdowns and just four interceptions. The Sooners rank second in the country in scoring (45.7 points per game), third in total defense (260 yards), fourth in turnover margin (plus 1.71), fifth in punt returns (16.4) and eighth in scoring defense (14.4).
How does Colorado stack up against this juggernaut? Not well.
Of particular concern is the fact that the Buffaloes rank 117th and last nationally in scoring defense, allowing 40.1 points per game. That includes more than 40 points given up against each of Colorado's last five opponents.
Colorado (3-4, 1-2 Big 12) might not even be able to mount a time-consuming ground game, since it ranks 101st in the nation in rushing.
The Buffs also are 115th in pass defense and 112th in turnover margin.
Colorado was victimized by two blocked punts in last week's 49-20 loss to Kansas State. Trailing only 15-13 at halftime, Colorado was outscored 34-7 in the second half.
The Buffs have lost four of their last five games, and Barnett attributes much of the slide to inexperience and inconsistency.
At least there is sophomore quarterback Joel Klatt, who has been solid all season despite missing two starts with a shoulder injury. He has completed 125 of 196 passes for 1,470 yards with nine touchdowns and three interceptions.
"We're going to have to have just a tremendous effort, and we're going to have to play much more error-free than we have been in order to win this game," Barnett said.
Stoops just wants his team to stay focused.
"We're halfway through the season, we've played only three Big 12 games," he said. "Our guys understand that we've got a lot of work still to do."
He conceded, however, that his team has "played awfully well for seven games."
This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index
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