Today's column from Dave Sittler of the Tulsa World includes head coach Bob Stoops' first real comments on OU's loss in this year's BCS championship since his postgame press conference. Sittler talks up an angle on the game that didn't seem to get much play in the aftermath--running back DeMarco Murray's absence.
Throughout OU's BCS losing streak, injuries, bad behavior and bad luck have plagued the Sooners. Murray and starting defensive tackle DeMarcus Granger missed the BCS championship game, just like both were absent from the OU's loss to West Virginia in the 2008 Fiesta Bowl. Receiver Malcolm Kelly and defensive backs Lendy Holmes and Reggie Smith also missed the surprising loss to the Mountaineers. Kelly sat out the prior season's thriller versus Boise State. And don't forget Heisman winner Jason White gutting out the 2004 Sugar Bowl with a broken foot, an injury that occurred early in the Sooners' shellacking at the hands of Kansas State in that season Big 12 championship.
Of course, few of Stoops' critics bring that up when hating on "Medium Game" Bob. And when was the last time you heard Stoops mention it?
Having watched Murray power into the end zone in short-yardage situations time and again throughout last season, it's tough not to wonder what could have been when OU had the ball inside Florida's five-yard line twice and came away with zero points. Similarly, would Jason White have missed a wide-open Kejuan Jones in the end zone in the Sugar Bowl if he had been throwing off of a good foot? It's tough to say.
Thankfully, Stoops appears loathe to make such excuses for his teams' postseason travails. After all, you go to war with the army you have. Great teams develop depth and don't let the loss of one player completely throw them off track. Last year, for instance, Florida went out and beat an undefeated Alabama team while missing All-American Percy Harvin. Stoops himself has more than made due in such cases before.
Yet, it's convenient to omit important details if they don't support your point. It should surprise no one that the people who have latched on to the notion that Stoops and the Sooners are chokers aren't interested in discussing the personnel issues facing OU in its big game defeats. In a sport with such little margin for error is that really fair?