Thoughts on the Oklahoma Sooners' upset 37-33 loss to the TCU Horned Frogs:
*This wasn’t a matter of OU not showing up or giving the game away to its opponent. TCU has a really good team that played a really good game in front of a juiced home crowd.
The Horned Frogs had been playing well coming into this game, but TCU was still an unknown quantity after blasting through a weak slate of September games. No question now in my mind that TCU can compete for the Big 12 conference championship this year.
*TCU took the Sooners down to the wire in the previous two seasons. In doing so, the Horned Frogs proved that they had the kind of D to slow OU’s offense.
They finally got a clue on offense, which made all the difference today.
*I have no doubt that Mike Stoops and OU’s defensive staff will take plenty of heat from the commentariat for the defensive game plan. That’s misguided.
The gist was to force TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin to make throws that no one had seen him make. He not only pulled that off, but he did it while simultaneously eluding rushers and extending plays with his feet.
The smart play was to make Boykin beat you. He did. That’s life.
(Not to mention, the defense made a number of big plays late in the game that gave the Sooners a chance to win.)
*I’m less forgiving of Josh Heupel.
In the second half, OU really played into the strength of TCU’s D by minimizing running back Samaje Perine’s role in determining the outcome of the game.
Heupel’s reluctance to flat out ride Perine was understandable. The Horned Frogs bottled up OU’s star freshman for the most part. He ran for 87 yards on 25 carries, good for a measly 3.5 yards per attempt.
As Knight struggled with TCU’s solid defensive backs and coverage schemes, his problems were compounded by the offense’s inability to to stay on schedule. Misfired throws on first down left the Sooners facing second-and-long and third-and-long situations way too often.
Of course, there’s no guarantee that running Perine more on first down would have put the O in more manageable situations. Still, with how Knight was playing, Heupel didn’t do him any favors.
*I’d wager that the effectiveness of any given offensive play by OU is inversely proportionate to the number of checks that the Sooners make to the sideline before the snap.
To be fair, we don’t know exactly how Heupel is manipulating the play calls from the sideline. However, from the outside looking in, all the pre-snap machinations aren’t doing much to put the Sooners in advantageous offensive situations.
The bottom line is that the appearance of disarray and wasted timeouts on offense indicate that OU’s approach to the no-huddle might have outlived its utility.