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Top Five Things OU needs to do to get back into the National Championship picture.
Get Toughness Back. The national media has had a field day recently saying that Oklahoma has gotten soft and after watching the Sooners throughout the year, there were times when that proved to be true. OU’s Cotton Bowl performance seemed to solidify that sentiment. Playing in the offensive driven Big XII, OU has proven that they can be successful by winning 8 conference crowns but when it comes to playing upper echelon teams from other conferences, they have failed to show the toughness that it takes to win those games.
Improve In The Trenches. To get that physical edge back, the Sooners need to get more physical on the offensive and defensive lines. Injuries decimated the O-Line this year and OU needs to not only build some depth there but quality depth that can come out and assert themselves no matter who they are playing. Defensive tackle play has been missing for longer than anyone wants to remember. Sooner Defensive Coordinator Mike Stoops had to find a way to keep OU in games defensively this year simply because of the lack of tackle play on the D-Line and at the linebacker position. Whether it was recruiting busts or kids simply never developing, it’s a must for OU to get some talented ‘backers and D-tackles in the lineup. It starts with coaching and Sooner coaches Jackie Shipp and Tim Kish are under the microscope and deservedly so.
Fix Coaching Issues. From the very first game against UTEP, OU showed their inability to get plays in on time offensively causing the Sooners to burn valuable timeouts and slowing momentum. Even coming out of timeouts, the Sooners still struggled to get plays off especially in the “BellDozer” package. More times than not, OU would snap the ball with 1 second left on the play clock which would allow opponents defenses to easily tee off by knowing when the Sooners was snapping the ball. It is imperative that Josh Heupel and his offensive coaches’ get this corrected immediately. In the Cotton Bowl, much was made about the defense’s inability to make halftime adjustments to account for A&M Heisman Winner Johnny Manziel. In fairness to Coach Mike (Stoops), he was handcuffed by lack talent on the defensive side of the ball not to mention there was a reason Manziel won the trophy in the first place.
Get Creative on Offense. With offensives in the Big XII constantly evolving, OU needs to keep pace by inserting some new formations and utilizing their talent on the roster. The Sooners have plenty of skill position talent but seemed to get stagnant in certain games last year. Fullback Trey Millard should get at minimum 10-12 touches per game whether it be through the air or in the run game. No excuses. Since his arrival, we have heard that he is the best player on the team. Its time he starts getting to prove it. Sooner fans should see a few new wrinkles next year as Landry Jones has graduated opening the door for the Sooners’ more mobile QB’s to showcase their talents. Blake Bell, Kendal Thompson and Trevor Knight all have the ability to run the football effectively as well as sling it down field. HC Bob Stoops’ staff always looks for quarterbacks that can throw it first and foremost but having the ability to run just brings an added dimension that will be welcomed among Sooner fans across the country.
Recruiting. Just the name Oklahoma alone brings attention from athletes across the country. Add to that, the Sooners have won 8 conference crowns and a National Championship. But twelve years removed from winning the crystal ball, OU has had issues closing on top athletes. OU has been in battles with some of the top teams in the country for big time recruits all to finish second on signing day. It’s time for the OU coaches to start closing on these elite athletes and get OU back into the National Title talks where they belong.
This post was edited by MDellaVecchio 15 months ago
I am very disappointed. I pay for and expect only pumper stories. I think you are being way too negative.
Good stuff, Mike. I really like how you pointed out the toughness first. That's what brought back OU football early in the Stoops era, but it doesn't seem to be there anymore. For OU to get back to winning titles, the toughness has to come back.
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Great article mike!!
I think those are mostly true, but I would add that on the positive side, BJW has improved the special teams play dramatically the past two years.
The O and D lines have GOT to begin sack up and represent.
Not only that, but to be able to run it without using a formation like the Belldozer. They need to get back to being able to line up in the I-Formation and pick-up a 3rd and 2 or 3rd and 1 consistently.
I would add a couple things - Develop the talent they recruit - other than the secondary I don't think we had any improvement from any position from last year to this year, maybe WRs too. Would also add - Hire Special Teams coach and/or call at least one fake punt/FG per year. We haven't had a fake in years nor have we run a trick play since forever.
Adding to the Get Creative on Offense:
Line up under center more. My god, you can see an OU running play coming from a mile away. A slow developing hand-off 8 yards behind the line of scrimmage..... :(
This post has been edited 2 times, most recently by DLPSOONER 15 months ago
We need to get back to a two TE single back sets and I formation sets. This pistol crap has got to go. We are not Nevada.
IMO this is why Shipp should be on the hot seat. He has recruited some top talent but has done nothing with them after they arrive on campus. I know its not all the coaches fault but a significant part is.
These are just symptoms of a lack of leadership...toughness, preparedness, organization, planning and innovation.
IMHO...we improve only when Bob Stoops recognizes he has a problem...not with his team, but with his lack of leadership the last few years. When I hear quotes from Stoops that he plans to "meet with each coach" sometime in the spring I realize that the direction is not there...coaching is not a business, it is a profession and those coaches should know every day where they are succeeding and failing...same with the players. That is what a coach does...he is not an administrator, but a motivator and leader.
When Stoops took over he worked at recruiting and he selected coaches that provided an advantage. He was not on cruise control, but putting the pedal to the metal...that is all we need now. We do not need a new coach..we just need the coach we had in 1999.
You hear it from Saban...after winning the national championship he stated he has a 24 hour celebration rule...then it is back to work.
and we need to learn how to tackle. just throwing your body at a player is not tackling the defensive players need to learn how to wrap up and tackle.
Put a hat on the guy across from you and have the mind set to dominate him physically. Everything opens up from there. Boomer Sooner!!!!
Last recruiting season we had to see what was returning at DT; why didn't we recruit a Juco? Were we expecting improvement from the three seniors? What we got was personal problems, a long suspension and a high school star who peaked at the end of last season.
Did we expect the often-missing Torrea Peterson and the RS Freshmen Jordan Phillips and Marquis Anderson to magically emerge from Summer camp and solve the problem?
To be fair, on the basis of last year's performances, we had to expect Jamarkus McFarland and RJ Washington to blossom as forces on the DL. Turns out, to expect blossoming forces you had to be a blooming idiot.
The severity of this mistake merits loss of trust in the coach or process that made it. Coaching staffs are so limited that we really can't afford to have "Uncle" as one of the positions. Someone should have seen this problem coming and had the authority to insist it be fixed. Otherwise we have a dangerous "sunshine pumper" mole in an inside job.
All great points that I don't disagree with. I could have done a Top Ten Things but I knew you guys would come through with some great issues as well. I know that Coach Stoops wants to continue to evolve in the running game and hopefully they can do that with improved O Line play
If we are keeping it real, then I am not sure why Mike is getting the kid gloves treatment. Specifically, if you are going to bag on Kish, you need to bag on Mike as he is responsible for Kish being at OU.
Re J. Shipp, clearly the DTs needs to improve, but at least he has a track record that was pretty salty up through at least G. McCoy's departure ... that should have extended through the next year but for A. Taylor's horrific injury. The current young guys including J. Phillips, J. Wade, M. Anderson might yet prove to be players. That said, there is an obvious gap between McCoy's departure and the present that needs to be resolved.
More importantly to our current D woes, the DE's really dropped off after R. Lewis and F. Alexander were injured near the end of the 2011 season. Again, I believe we have the talent to resolve the issue on campus or enroute ... we just need them to develop.
This post has been edited 2 times, most recently by AdamsHall 15 months ago
When Landry was a soph I had many conversations with mods on this board about the lack of movement of Landry. It was this site's mods that stated OU didn't need a mobile qb and there was nothing that could be said to change their minds. Now the advantages of a mobile qb is clearly something that OU needs, I hope the next qb has 75% of Landry's passing capabilities.
Say what you mean, mean what you say!!!
If a frog had wings.....
This is spot on! I've been screaming this at the top of my lungs for 3 years. You don't even have to be football savy to see there has been a storm brewing at that position. As it stands today, we've got a bunch of guys who have done absolutely nothing on the field and are proving to not be very good off of it either. Last year's recruiting at that position will and should go down as one of Shipp's biggest blunders. No excuses! Bama played all year with a very inexperienced secondary, but they just terrorize people of front and are able to take the pressure off of those guys allowing them to make big plays. We did the EXACT OPPOSITE this year. Here's to hoping for big improvement along the lines.
13 of Bama's starters are top 150 national recruits and most are top 100 and quite a few top 50. Sing me that song and dance that stars don't mean anything all you want. Top 150 players make a huge difference plain and simple. The top ND players Tuitt,TeO, Nix,Motta were all top 50 players and some top 10.
The two best professional rookies in 2010 and both from Oklahoma City,Oklahoma.
Goes back to my point about recruiting. It's simply got to get better!!!!!
Well, not all of them...We saw that this year on OU's d-line with 2 top recruits...I'm just sayin
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