The Norman Transcript

Community Sports

December 6, 2011

Sooners at a crossroads

Questions arise for Oklahoma after Bedlam beatdown

NORMAN — What else is there to say about the end to Oklahoma’s regular season that has not already been said on the radio, written in papers, posted on message boards or tweeted.

Bedlam was as anticlimactic as a Adam Sandler film. The only hysteria provided Saturday night in Stillwater was watching thousands of Oklahoma State fans rush the field to tear down both goalpost after watching their Cowboys dismantle the Sooners 44-10. Which I’m sure T. Boone Pickens will not mind footing the tab for.

“You can’t put it on anyone but me tonight,” OU quarterback Landry Jones said. “I single-handedly lost this game for us. That’s just the way it is. I had the ball in my hands and coach put the ball in my hands to win the game, and I lost it for us.”

While it’s admirable of Jones to try and shoulder all of the blame, there is more than enough to go around. From the Bob Stoops on down, the Sooners were outgunned by the Cowboys.

That was especially true on the offensive end. Since the loss of Ryan Broyles, OU has had a bigger roar and bite. And OSU took advantage of it.

“We didn’t in any way (win the line of scrimmage),” Stoops said. “They blocked us, they protected. Running the football, if we were out of position at times, or at times they blocked us out of position, so either way, we just got beat up there. Some of it with their pressures, we pitched the ball out on some of the bubble screens and things like that, maybe more than we would have liked, or they forced us to more than we want. I was displeased with that at halftime, and I brought that up. I said `We ran the ball 10 times and we threw it 38 and that’s why it happens to us.’ Right at the end of the half is where it all broke down. It’s not a very good job on our part as coaches.”

Oklahoma finishes with a 9-3 record. In some areas of the college football world, that would be considered a great season. However, those areas do not include Norman or any household in which a Sooner fan resides.

Before the season even started, it was pretty championship or bust. Unfortunately, Oklahoma seemed to choose the latter.

“Obviously the season didn’t go the way we planned,” junior Ben Habern said. “Our goals every season are to win a Big 12 championship and a national championship. For those goals not to be met, it’s obviously frustrating. We have to take ownership of what happened.”

Oklahoma not only didn’t win its 44th conference title, it finished fourth  behind OSU, Kansas State and Baylor.

I don’t think the Sooners are in any danger of being lapped by fellow conference foes anytime Soon. Texas is fighting the same battle as OU, but not holding up as well. Oklahoma State has to prove this was not a fluke and they have the foundation to compete every year.

But they are in danger of falling farther behind the top teams in the SEC. And since they are at the top of the heap, if you aren’t beating them, you fall into the also ran category.

The question now is where does Oklahoma go from here. They have one more game this season, which is the Insight Bowl Dec. 30 in Tempe, Az. After that, Stoops will have to make some major decision in regards to his staff, the direction of the team and his own philosophy on coaching and recruiting. Because what worked in 2000 is no longer working today.

“We embraced the No. 1 ranking,” offensive lineman Gabe Ikard said. “That’s why this season as a whole is really disappointing. Nine-and-three is not acceptable at the University of Oklahoma.”

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