Justin Harrington shows first sign of Sooners situational football improvement

Another week, another dominant defensive performance for the Oklahoma Sooners. The Sooners went against the high-powered offense of the SMU Mustangs.

Through three quarters, the Sooners’ defense still hadn’t allowed a touchdown on the season. SMU’s top wide receiver, Jordan Hudson,  didn’t even have a catch despite being its big-play guy.

It wasn’t a perfect performance. It was more of the bend-but-don’t-break model. The Sooners gave up yards, but only 11 points. They also held the Mustangs to 6 of 20 on third- and fourth-down conversion attempts, giving the Sooners the eighth-ranked third down defense through two games. That was emphasized this offseason.

Justin Harrington told reporters after the game he is feeling more and more comfortable in his role.

“I feel like my teammates are as well,” Harrington said. “Having those repetitions with those plays and just going over them over and over again. Just stressing their plays and stressing our plays. What the stress of our calls are and what they’re trying to attack us on just from things we messed up on last year that we fixed up over the spring and fall camp.”

You could see that preparation on full display when the Mustangs tried to bring out the tricks, whether a fumblerooski type of play or a flea flicker. The Sooners’ defense wasn’t fooled and sniffed them out from the start.

But a play Harrington made late in the game isn’t getting talked about enough.

The Sooners were up, 28-11, and SMU was driving. Harrington picked off the pass and could have easily tried to take it to the house. That’s every kid’s dream, right? Also, a 35-11 win looks a lot better than a 28-11 win.

But Harrington didn’t do that.

Instead, he slid. Why? Because he knows it’s about the team and not about himself.

“It’s an instinct to just take off running but fumbles could happen, penalties could happen, and yeah we get the pick but say we get a holding or a blind-side block and that puts the offense in minus territory with their back against the wall,” Harrington said. “Then maybe we have to punt and then they get a chance to return or get back into plus territory. So, all of those things go through our minds, and we preach it and talk about situational football.”

That’s why so many are so high on Harrington and why the defense is showing signs of improvement.

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Story originally appeared on Sooners Wire