NORMAN — The criticism of Oklahoma’s coaching staff following the Texas loss came from every possible direction. Fans and analysts alike all had differing opinions on why the Sooners struggled in the Red River Rivalry.
All the things written and said since have fallen on deaf ears and were missed by eyes blocked out by blinders.
“You guys don’t realize how little we hear,” OU coach Bob Stoops said. “… We’re in our deal working. We don’t really care what has to be said. We’re in our caves watching tape trying to get ready for practice and trying to make something better. Then we’re watching tape and going out to practice. We’re not sitting around.”
Coaches have to be that way. They quickly learn that what’s coming up always takes precedent over what just happened. Sure, fans would love to see coaches and players be as angry over losses as they are.
Typically, they are. It didn’t take very long for OU’s buses to start rolling back to Norman after the Texas game. It was a trip few wanted to be on.
“It was quiet. It was tough man,” OU safety Gabe Lynn said. “It was a three- or four-hour drive, and we were just all sick about the game. It was pretty quiet.”
For players, you get Saturday to dwell and Sunday to think about correcting the mistakes. But by Monday afternoon’s practice you have to move on.
The coaching staff is the same way. Offensive coordinator Josh Heupel absorbed the brunt of the roasting. A lot of it was warranted. The Sooners’ offense was inefficient against Texas and has struggled going all the way back to TCU game.
He’s done a lot of the self analysis of his game plans. He does it after every game — win or lose.
“I think you always go back and you’re critical of your calls, what you were doing, your plan, how you work it during the course of a week,” Heupel said. “Did you give your kids enough of these certain looks? Why did you see what you saw from the defense? What are they seeing from their perspective? Those are all things you look back on.”
Heupel looked back and saw an offense that didn’t execute well enough on first and second down and put itself in too many third and longs. Defensive coordinator Mike Stoops saw a defense that got out of position in some critical third downs. But the critique is always analytical — not emotional.
Their reaction to whatever happens in a game — positive or negative — is always measured. The disapproval after a loss is habitual.
“That’s part of the job. You throw on third and short and you get a touchdown, you’re a genius. If you throw on third and short and you don’t get it and you incomplete it, you’re a knucklehead. If you run it and get stuffed, then it’s ‘you should’ve thrown it,’” Stoops said. “Everybody is right after the fact.”
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