Wow. Where to start? That really sucked.
Oklahoma's stunning 41-38 loss to the Texas Tech Red Raiders Saturday night played out like a vivid nightmare for the Sooners. Tech and heady quarterback Seth Doege exploited even the most minor flaws in OU's banged-up defense, while the offense did everything within its power to not win. Oh, and the special teams were terrible. It was a 360 degree failure.
As you would expect, one side of this list will be much longer than the other.
Out of everything that went wrong, all the drops hurt the Sooners worse than anything. It seemed like every time the Sooners got anything going offensively, a drop either killed their rhythm or put the kibosh on momentum. All the flubs by Jaz Reynolds, who had been so consistent for the last few games, stuck out, but he was far from alone.
The drops also illustrated just how checked out the team was mentally.
Landry Jones' Accuracy
I think I've said in just about every one of these postgame write-ups that Jones has been a touch off all season. Aside from the Texas game, which may have been the best of his career, the 'Stache has misfired more often than is customary this year.
It all caught up with him this week. Between Jones' miscues and the preponderance of drop passes, the passing game looked out of synch from start to finish.
Part of it may have been the poor field conditions, but the Sooners' tackling was lacking all night. That's what helped turned those tunnel screens into huge gains.
Texas Tech: 194 total yards, 17 points.
Oklahoma: 42 yards, 0 points, fumble.
Simply put, it continues to suck. OU can't put out the hard yards in the running game when needed, whether near the goal line or anywhere else on the field.
For some reason, it looks like the offensive line just can't get it together and struggles with execution in these situations.
I've been on board w/ Bob Stoops' stubborn refusal to hire a special teams coach. With the limited number of coaches a team can have, I just don't know if a dedicated position coach is a wise use of resources.
Well, I think I might have hit an inflection point last night. There were the missed chip shots. There were no big plays in the return game. (When was the last time that happened?)
Somehow, the Sooners managed to avoid giving up a kickoff return TD, their favorite of the special teams boners.
Much of the scrutiny for last night's meltdown in pass coverage has centered around Gabe Lynn, who started in absence of All-American candidate Jamell Fleming. Tech may have picked on Lynn at times, but in reality, there were tons of breakdowns in coverage all night. It's unfair just to put it on one guy.
Something to consider: As good as OU's defensive backs have played on the whole this year, the two teams they've played so far with decent passing offenses have had lots of success moving the ball through the air.
Part of the problem with stopping Tech's air attack may have had something to do with the fact that OU struggled to put pressure on Tech QB Seth Doege. That enabled him to do some serious damage hitting receivers underneath on the run, especially in the first half.
(Man, seeing how well OU's defensive line has played this year... What a bizarre game.)
Travis Lewis Calling Out His Teammates
Lewis has been a warrior for the Sooners this season, gutting it out on a broken toe. Props to him for facing the music with the media afterwards and hashing things out.
That said, he shouldn't be criticizing injured guys publicly for not giving it a go. Last I checked, he's not a doctor. It's not really his place to say anything, but especially not in the press.
I say this half-heartedly, but I guess you do have to give the Sooners some small measure of credit for coming back. The fact that they were trailing the Red Raiders by 24 in the second half speaks to the overall quality of their performance, but they didn't fold.
Sadly, though, this isn't supposed to be the kind of season where moral victories mean anything.
Look, I know this column is generally reserved for reviewing OU's performance, but the Red Raiders deserve a ton of credit. Any excuse you want to make for how the Sooners played, Tech was dealing with the same issues – injuries, field conditions, the weather delay. They just flat-out whipped OU from start to finish.
Tommy Tuberville proved himself to be an awfully good coach back in the SEC, and his acumen and that of his staff was on display Saturday night. Offensively, the Red Raiders used lessons gleaned from OU's closer than expected win over Missouri earlier this season to attack the Sooner D over the top and hitting receivers on the move in space using underneath routes. Quarterback Seth Doege implemented the plan pretty close to perfectly. Defensively, Tech eschewed the blitz in favor of soft zones, forcing OU to execute cleanly. When your receivers are dropping as many balls as OU's did, it's a good strategy.
OU gave the Red Raiders all kinds of opportunities, and they had a great plan in place to take advantage of them.