I’m going to be fully transparent about this: I’m kind of over the overreaction to Oklahoma’s 48-45 loss to Texas. Make no mistake: Oklahoma was whipped by Texas, and despite that final score, don’t let anybody fool you. It was an ass-beating.
And it was a whip to watch, too.
Maybe I’m just old school, but give me a 17-14 tilt with Nebraska any day. This 62-52 Bedlam, 48-45 OU-Texas stuff is for the birds. It’s Arena Football in disguise.
For those of you in the “college football is way better than the NFL” crowd, let me express how wrong you are. The NFL is beautiful to watch compared to the college game, especially the version trotted out by the Big 12.
I crave a 16-13 Steelers-Ravens slugfest.
It is beyond time for the Sooners to have a new voice, a new vision, a new scheme and strategy and even tactics on the defensive side of the ball. But as of 11:15 p.m., I’m starting to feel sorry for Mike Stoops.
Dude has taken a beating today. Present company included.
I know he makes $920,000 a year, but he’s still just a coach — a coach who stood up after the game and answered every question and took full blame for the atrocious defense that showed up at the Cotton Bowl.
A coach who has the same problem a lot of other Big 12 coaches have. Heck, Oklahoma State gave up 48 to Iowa State.
Thank goodness for the Oklahoma offense, and thank goodness for Kyler Murray. QB1 played sick today, and he led the Sooners back from a 45-24 deficit with the help of Trey Sermon and Hollywood Brown.
My first thought was that Mike Stoops and the entire defensive staff should look him in the eye and apologize.
But you know what? He probably did. I’ve never gotten the sense that Mike Stoops is an ogre. He’s not the answer to solving Big 12 offenses, however.
Somebody else is.
Maybe it’ll be an NFL type. Maybe it’ll be an old-school SEC guy.
At this point, I don’t blame the defense on the players because when they’re in schemes that allow them to be aggressive, they do pretty well. Go back to Game 1 versus Florida Atlantic, or recall the bone-crushing hit from Caleb Kelly against the Baylor quarterback last week.
Sure, the Oklahoma defenders are a little small. They’re built for speed.
And, sure, they could learn how to tackle better.
But this is a defense that is on pace for only five or six interceptions for the season. That might be Oklahoma’s lowest total ever.
Sure could have used them today.
I’ll presume that Lincoln Riley wouldn’t deign to make a mid-season change at coordinator. I’d be stunned if that happened.
But there’s another option for the Sooners’ defense.
Be like the greatest defensive player Oklahoma has had the past 25 years: Roy Williams.
Stop listening to Mike Stoops.
Blitz. Do what you want.
Let Coach Stoops call the play, and then forget what he suggests and wing it intuitively. It might be that the solution to Big 12 offenses is granting more strategy and scheme decisions to the players themselves.
Let’s go back to 2001.
When Roy Williams skied to knock the ball from Chris Simms’ hand, he did so against the will of co-defensive coordinator Mike Stoops. If it had been up to Mike Stoops, the Superman play would have never happened.
From a NewsOK.com article back in 2011:
Roy Williams wasn’t supposed to jump.
His coach told him two or three times not to do it. His experience told him that disobeying those orders, especially in the Red River Rivalry, would get him a tongue lashing.
But how is Superman supposed to fly without jumping?
“When we walked on that field … I already knew in my mind I was leaving my feet,” he said. “Forget what coach said.”
Forget what coach said.
Half of Mike Stoops’ reputation is founded upon that play, and it happened in spite of him. But to be fair, it’s not like Stoops punished No. 38 for making that awesome play either. Maybe there’s a balance between being a defensive coordinator and just letting your talented players ball out on the field.
My confidence level in the Oklahoma defense as-is being able to stop anybody the rest of the year is practically zero, without changes. Even then, it probably is what it is for 2018.
The bigger point is that with Stoops leading the defensive charge, there is really no hope for change or improvement. This is like a boxing match that’s gone on too long, and I’m feeling sorry for the guy getting his face punched in.
The most merciful thing that could be done is to relieve Mike Stoops of his duties or reassign him within the football program to save face. Lincoln Riley would be doing him a favor.