The Norman Transcript

OU Sports

November 13, 2013

Sooners more intent on righting ship, not cutting bait

NORMAN — Oklahoma’s list of preseason goals remain unchecked and likely won’t be filled in. The Big 12 Championship is most likely out of reach, a BCS bowl game is well beyond its grasp and there’s no chance of having to make room in the Switzer Center for another national championship trophy.

So, what is the Sooners’ focus the rest of the season?

Center Gabe Ikard summed it up.

“Win. Always. Those are the goals,” he said.

It shouldn’t be a problem this week. No. 22 OU (7-2, 4-2 Big 12) still enters Saturday’s game against Iowa State (1-8, 0-6) as a 24-point favorite despite the offensive struggles that have plagued it throughout the season.

But the Sooners are at a crossroads in terms of whether to pour all their chips into the rest of the season or begin building for the future.

There are nine seniors in OU’s two-deep offensive depth chart. They’ll play their final game Saturday at Owen Field. But they obviously aren’t part of the rebuilding project. Why not start looking at some young players?

“I don’t see any of that,” OU coach Bob Stoops said. “You look at all the different pieces you’re trying to get back on the field or won’t be on the field and trying to — it’s just strictly putting the best out there right now to win. There isn’t any looking outside of this week.”

The obvious place where OU will look for the most improvement is the quarterback spot. Blake Bell remains the starter despite his struggles last week against Baylor and his up-and-down performance throughout the Big 12 Conference slate.

Bell will make his seventh start Saturday, and Stoops remains adamant that Bell still has an upside worthy of keeping at the spot.

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