Thoughts on the Oklahoma Sooners’ 48-14 mauling at the hands of the Baylor Bears.
*After studying Baylor ahead of this week’s matchup, I honestly thought OU would roll in this game. Soft factors such as revenge aside, the Sooners appeared to have huge advantages up in the trenches.
Me being wrong about that kind of thing isn’t exactly breaking news. I’m wrong all the time about a lot of things. (No, seriously – ask anyone who knows me.)
But that far off?
Sure, Sterling Shepard was a late scratch. Yes, the Sooners got a few bad breaks early in the game. Trevor Knight’s horrendous interception in the first half hurt.
None of that, however, explains how this game went from a 14-3 OU lead in the first half to 34-point loss on the Sooners’ home turf.
In fact, I had assumed that Mike Stoops wouldn’t send his defense out with one of the worst game plans imaginable.
OK, let me revise that: I took it on faith that Mike would adjust after he saw how easily Baylor was moving the ball up and down Owen Field.
OU’s insistence on playing soft coverage basically conceded the game to Bryce Petty and his talented wideouts. Mike clearly dreaded the possibility of Baylor torching his defense over the top. His plan to lay back and force the Bears to execute consistently on long drives translated into easy pitch-and-catch opportunities for the visitors all day long. They weren't missing them.
Mike has had a trying stretch in the last six weeks in which his D has morphed from bad ass to lame ass. This represented an obvious low point.
*When you consider Petty’s back issues this season, the lack of effort to pressure him looks even stranger.
*The Sooners’ inability to handle prosperity in these losses might be the most frustrating aspect of this season. Things like the personal foul called on Matt Dimon on a Baylor punt in the second quarter are back-breakers.
*Knight made a terrible decision on the interception that set up a Baylor touchdown in the first half. No one disputes that. But tunneling in on those mistakes by the quarterback misses the larger picture of the problems facing the offense. It’s up to offensive coordinator Josh Heupel to build around what his players do best, and it’s hard to argue that is what we’re seeing this season. Instead, Heupel seems to be trying to get Knight to be something that he’s not.
Based on what I’ve observed:
- OU’s attack hits top gear when it is going uptempo.
- Knight is at his best when he’s throwing on the move.
No one asked for my advice, but I’d start there.
*In general, everything about the offense comes off as unsure and tentative. There's no identity. That’s not Knight’s fault.
*I wish I had a good explanation for OU’s struggles in short yardage. Maybe it’s a numbers issue. Maybe it’s timing. Maybe it’s mentality. But, damn, it’s hard to watch.
*As things stand right now, Bob Stoops once again could be facing some really tough decisions at the end of the year about his coaching staff. Really tough.