Think for a moment how good Oklahoma fans have had it lately.
Everybody knows the Big 12 is miles harder to win than the old Big Eight and yet the Sooners are riding a three-year stranglehold on the league.
One of those seasons they got it done with Paul Thompson behind center and the other two with Sam Bradford, who added to the Sooners' Heisman Trophy chest just last year.
Also, no injuries at the quarterback position those seasons. And, but for the biggest referee debacle since the Russians beat Hank Iba's Americans at the '72 Munich Olympics, suffered at Autzen Stadium (in Eugene, Ore., remember?), OU would have played for another national championship.
So OU keeps losing bowl games, get over it.
Because what's going on now may actually deserve your mourning.
Perhaps OU begins a season-long table run against Idaho State Saturday. Yet it likely won't because turmoil isn't too strong a word to describe what Sooner football's descended into since the first series of last Saturday's 14-13 loss to BYU. Or, really, since OU's offensive line trotted onto the Cowboys Stadium field for the very first time.
Bradford has separated his throwing shoulder and is believed out 2 to 4 weeks.
He's even spoken to Eli Manning about it, who suffered the same injury the Giants' Super Bowl season, who told Bradford he was back throwing in 10 days and playing in a couple weeks. But that's Manning. We'll see about Bradford.
The way Murphy's Law's been working on OU, the Sooner Nation might jump at the chance to simply take Bradford's availability for Texas, Oct. 17 as a given.
Then there's the case of the most prolific tight end in the history of the program, Jermaine Gresham, who found out Tuesday his right knee would be just fine and, oh, by the way, his season is over. That he could elect to come back next year, having taken a redshirt, is a potential silver lining, but it can hardly be counted upon and a lot of good it does the Sooners right now.
Yet none of that may be what's most troubling the former No. 3 team in the nation, now No. 13 or 14, depending on your poll of choice, the media or the coaches.
What's most troubling remains the offensive line, yet for more than the obvious reason (that it had no clue the other night against BYU). Beyond that is the troubling notion that this was a line believed in by the coaches and really, really believed in by offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson, an old line coach himself.
So, when it's announced, as it was Tuesday, the line will be shaken up again, how is anybody to believe with any real confidence the Sooners are about to get it right?
Remember Brody Eldridge, best center on campus, even though he'd played tight end the last three seasons? Well, he's still the best center on campus -- he was OU's best lineman against BYU, period -- but he's no longer a center. He's a tight end again.
The second best center on campus, Ben Habern, is back at center. And it looks like Stephen Good is about to become a first-team lineman. It could work, but the coaches had months to figure out who to play against BYU and a week to figure out what to do now.
Good thing it's the no-good, no-chance Bengals about to visit Owen Field.
Finally, somehow, everybody, even those of us in the media who should have known better, missed the boat at receiver.
That, or the offensive line was so bad -- and it was -- that Bradford, Landry Jones and OU's pass-catchers really had no chance to get anything going, their rhythm destroyed so completely by their blockers ineptitude.
Whatever, in retrospect, it sure seems like the trio of Ryan Broyles, Brandon Caleb and Adron Tennell is light years away from the trio of Manny Johnson, Juaquin Iglesias and Broyles. And that latter trio had Gresham at tight end to take the pressure off.
It could be worse.
But who on earth wants to find out how?
Clay Horning 366-3526 firstname.lastname@example.org
Think for a moment how good Oklahoma fans have had it lately.
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