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Blogging about college football by an Oklahoma Sooners fan.

Cotton Bowl: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Johnny Manziel

Wow, the third quarter of the Cotton Bowl was the single worst quarter of football I've seen OU play since the second quarter of the 55-19 debacle against USC in the 2005 national title game. The warning signs were all there in the first half: Big-play drives by Texas A&M countered by long, time-consuming drives requiring constant execution by the Sooners.

The Good

*Tress Way had a good last game punting the ball for OU.

*The offensive line for the most part gave Landry Jones enough time to generate a passing game, which created three long drives in the first half.

*Brennan Clay made some nice physical runs to pick up first downs and had an excellent screen pass play.

*Kenny Stills had a nice first half.

*Landry, minus his one requisite pick, had a solid first half with a great TD throw on the run to Justin Brown. It showed some of the improvements Landry has made this season.

The Bad

*Run blocking at crucial times was subpar, especially the interior OL, which got worked by just three or four guys.

*The Belldozer insertion on 2nd-and-goal from the 1-yard line was unnecessary. Leave in the offense with Damien Williams.

*Damien Williams seemed rusty at times, missing running lanes.

The UGLY

*The entire freaking defense down the line.

*The front four made zero plays and was just dominated inside and outside.

*Franklin Shannon missed several chances to tackle Johnny Manziel before breaking off huge plays.

*Tom Wort missed his usual tackles.

*The secondary, again, was in coverage, but the defensive backs made zero plays on the ball to force turnovers. The secondary never adjusted to tackling Manziel or the Aggie RBs.

*Finally, after the third touchdown of the third quarter, the defense seemed to quit. The stink of Lubbock circa 2009 and Stillwater in 2011 was there.

*The offensive play-calling to start the second half was terrible – passive and predictable. OU didn't test teams deep and spread opponents out. The three-and-outs decided this game.

*Mike Stoops' scheme was flawed from the start. A&M carved it up like it wasn't there. Mike has showed zero adjustments to spread teams with QB running games.

The Unknown (The Future)

*When does a 10-3 season seem like a step backwards? When you get blown out in a bowl game by a team that you beat last year by a couple of TDs. We will ignore the recruiting impact of this loss for now. Where does OU go from here on the field?

*The defense is in complete disarray and loses six starters (Demontre Hurst, Tony Jefferson, Javon Harris, David King, Jamrkus McFarland, Casey Walker). The returning starters and veterans are a huge mixed bag of players not getting it done at an all-conference level. The only player on defense who might be all-conference is Aaron Colvin, and he isn't making plays on the ball.

*Defensive tackle returns one guy with "starting" playing time. That's it.

*Defensive end returns Geneo Grissom and Chuka Ndulue, but it's very possible neither guy starts next year if more athletic players are ready.

*Linebacker? It's Franklin Shannon and then hoping that Aaron Franklin and Eric Striker can make enough plays to get on the field.

*Defensive back? A new cornerback seems easier than finding two safeties. OU badly needs competition at all spots.

*Realistically the defense won't be "fixed" until 2014 at the earliest.

*Offensively, OU needs to break in a new quarterback. Many OU fans will be happy to see Landry go, but a new starter is going to make mistakes and probably rack up some losses.

*Regardless of who wins the job, hopefully the new QB will be allowed to use his mobility to help the OU offense become more multi-dimensional.

*So far, the jury is still very much out on Josh Heupel as offensive coordinator. His Mike Leach era background seems to dominate his play-calling.

*Even projecting the most optimistic results at QB and with the rebuilt defense, the current BCS system means a very likely loss to a loaded and talented Notre Dame team in South Bend will all but end any thought of OU being in any kind of title game hunt.