Oklahoma middle linebacker Lance Mitchell is ready for some football. \nEnough of the spread offense and all its trickery. Enough of the finesse running game. Bring on Cedric Benson and the nation's best running attack. \nIt's time for down and dirty. Texas vs. Oklahoma. \n"You always look forward to games like this," Mitchell said. "You've got to love it. Texas is pretty basic, hat on hat. You've just got to make tackles. There's not too much thinking about it. You just go out and play ball." \nAmen, said nickel back Brandon Shelby. \n"This is why you come to a school like Oklahoma," he said. "Four quarters of pure hitting, a lot of fun, and who is going to stay with that competitive edge for the whole 60 minutes is usually the winner." \nThe question of the wek is not about intensity, preparation or anticipation. It is about whether the Sooners' defense is solid enough in the middle without dismissed anchor Dusty Dvoracek at tackle to successfully go head-to-head with what is probably the Longhorns' most physical offense in recent years. \nOU coach Bob Stoops says he feels "great" about the situation at tackle. Co-defensive coordinator Brent Venables, who tutors the front seven, seems less emphatic. \n"I think [defensive tackle] is still an area of concern," Venables said. "The numbers, the quality, the lack of experience. All of the above. \n"Texas has as good an offensive line as they've had since 1998 when they had Ricky Williams, and they're playing at that level. That's the biggest difference in them that you notice. They're going to challenge [the tackles], and you will find out what you've got by the end of that game. That's for sure." \nStarters Lynn McGruder and Carl Pendleton have, for the most part, been solid. Stoops complimented both for their play Saturday against Texas Tech and their part in holding running back Taurean Henderson to 65 yards on 17 carries with a long run of only 14 yards, one week after he posted a career-high 169 yards against Kansas. \nBackups Remi Ayodele and Steven Coleman probably played more early against Tech than atanytime this season, and got extensive practice reps during the preceding off week. \nBut while expressing concern over the yet-unproven depth in the interior, Venables nevertheless expressed confidence in his unit's ability to play the run. \n"We feel strong about it," he said. "We feel good about the guys we've got lining up." \nNo doubt the presence of Mitchell in the middle along with a solid crew of linebackers and the secondary's historyof strong run support enables Venables to have that attitude. \n"They have proven their ability to play in tough situations," he said. \nStoops pointed out Oklahoma has played three spread offenses and a pro-style attack [Oregon], but lining up against a strong running attack isn't exactly a new experience for a veteran defensive unit. \n"One thing everyone always forgets," Stoops said. "We compete against our own team very day during the spring and two-a-days -- good against good. We run the ball pretty well. We see all those kinds of plays, the power, the attitude [running] plays. \n"In the past, we've been able to play all kinds of styles of defense. It's not something we all of the sudden work on this week. And you don't stop the run with just the front seven. The secondary is always involved. It's everybody."
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