The Norman Transcript

OU Sports

September 28, 2012

For Sooners to grow, leaders have to set example

NORMAN — It’s been a long week for Oklahoma. Last Saturday’s loss to Kansas State showed that problems exist. The days since have been a probe to see what can be fixed and what can’t.

It’s not something any team wants to go through.

“Hopefully, this weekend’s loss was like a slap in the face to wake everybody up. To say, ‘Hey, we’re not as good as everyone said we were,’” defensive lineman David King said. “We need to pick our level of play or we’re gonna get beat.”

This isn’t the first time the Sooners have felt that sting from that kind of smack. Dating back to last season, they’ve lost four of their last 10 games.

OU coach Bob Stoops started making some serious changes after the 2011 regular season ended because he questioned the character of some of the players.

Thus far, he hasn’t hinted that character is an issue with this team.

“I thought our team played hard. I thought they prepared well. They worked hard through the two weeks leading up to it,” he said. “We have to take what’s positive, continue to build on it and have a good attitude. Our guys will.”

But they didn’t last season. The Sooners started to splinter once they lost to Texas Tech in the season’s seventh game. A lot of fingers were pointed, and the Sooners never really came back from it. They were a fractured team when the season ended.

It happens at most places. You never really know what kind of character a team has until the trials and tribulations of the season start rolling in. Some teams close ranks around each other. The majority spread into factions, and some literally implode.

Quarterback Landry Jones hasn’t dodged any of the blame from the Kansas State loss. He’s freely owned up to his part — a fumble, an interception and a wild night throwing the ball — in the loss. Jones went so far as to say he’s “underachieved” in the first three games.

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