The Norman Transcript

Sports

October 23, 2013

Where did the Sooners’ vertical passing game go?

NORMAN — Oklahoma’s offense appears to be in a quagmire. The Sooners have run the ball well, but their struggles throwing the ball deep have them stuck in a rut.

By far and away the Sooners’ biggest problem has been finding big plays in the passing game. They connected on a 47-yard touchdown from wide receiver Lacoltan Bester to wide receiver Sterling Shepard, but the play was just one of two completions the Sooners had for more than 20 yards in the game. Over the last four games, quarterback Blake Bell has completed just six passes that went for 20 yards are more.

The lack of long completions has been a drag on the Sooners.

“You have to be able to convert them. We’ll keep going after them and I believe we will,” OU coach Bob Stoops said of taking deep shots. “We had some opportunities the other day, but we weren’t able to complete them. We’ve got to keep doing them.”

The inability to connect on deep balls has an adverse affect on OU’s ability to run. Opposing safeties play closer to the line of scrimmage because they’re much more fearful of the ball getting run down their throat than getting it thrown over their head.

If OU can somehow start converting, it could have an entirely different looking offense. One that would be much closer to the one it envisioned early in the season.

The initial plan was to throw less this season with the hope of getting bigger chunks when it did. The ability to run the ball — which OU has exploited in every game this season — was supposed to cause defenses to crowd the line of scrimmage, opening opportunities to throw deep balls in ways OU hasn’t in years.

The Sooners are throwing less — significantly less — than last season. They averaged 43.9 passing attempts per game in 2012. Through seven games this season, they’ve averaged 29.2 attempts per game. Some would argue that’s too many for a team averaging 5.2 yards per carry.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
  • BedlamBaseball2 Sooners prevail in 18-inning Bedlam showdown

    STILLWATER — Oklahoma hoped a little more pop in the lineup would serve as an energy injection....

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tigers suffer smashing loss to Stillwater in second meeting

    Monday’s game against Stillwater showed exactly how good Norman High can be when it’s playing well. The Tigers held a lead in that game over 21-1 Stillwater, and had a chance to win it before the Pioneers staged a late comeback....

    April 16, 2014

  • North remains perfect in district

    Norman North remained a perfect 10-0 in district play with their second straight win over Lawton Eisenhower. After beating Ike 11-1 Monday, the Timberwolves turned around and hammered the Eagles 13-1 Tuesday night....

    April 16, 2014

  • Cards pitching shuts down Brewers again

    MILWAUKEE — Shelby Miller struck out seven and allowed three hits over six innings, and Mark Ellis had two RBIs in his return from the disabled list to lead the St. Louis Cardinals to a 6-1 win Tuesday night over the Milwaukee Brewers. ...

    April 16, 2014

  • Commissioner calls replay start ‘remarkable’

    NEW YORK — Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig says the sport’s new replay system is working well despite a few problems during its first two weeks....

    April 16, 2014

  • Fielder finally goes deep as Rangers shut out Mariners

    ARLINGTON, Texas — Prince Fielder and Kevin Kouzmanoff hit back-to-back homers, Robbie Ross limited Seattle to five singles in seven-plus innings and the Texas Rangers beat the Mariners 5-0 Tuesday night....

    April 16, 2014

  • Warriors trying to move on without Bogut

    OAKLAND, Calif. — Go small or go home....

    April 16, 2014

  • White Sox wear Boston Strong on 1-year anniversary

    CHICAGO — The Chicago White Sox have paid tribute to victims of the Boston Marathon bombing before their game against the Red Sox....

    April 16, 2014

  • OU’s Hornbeak to transfer

    In a surprising decision, sophomore guard Je’lon Hornbeak informed Oklahoma’s coaching staff on Tuesday he will transfer at the end of the spring semester....

    April 16, 2014

  • Injuries taking a toll on CCS girls squad

    If luck, like karma, is supposed to come back around, Community Christian’s girls soccer team has a lot to look forward to because, right now, they’re living the other side of the equation....

    April 16, 2014

Facebook