Dean's Blog: The Hammer Gets His Shot

Thursday, September 1st 2011, 11:27 pm
By: News 9

Dean Blevins, News9 Sports Director

OU finally got some good news. After losing players for different reasons, the Sooner defense was hurting. The NCAA's decision gives OU the "Hammer" that defensive coordinator  Brent Venables so desperately needed. I texted Venables asking him besides adding depth and talent, what the biggest thing Ronnell Lewis brings back to his defense. He immediately responded, "PHYSICAL."

Fans love players who are big, strong, fast and hit hard. Meet The Hammer.

The switch from 8-man high school football to complicated defensive schemes was initially too much for Lewis. He still was out of position a great deal of the time. The move from linebacker to DE was just what the doctor ordered. Playing rush end is not as easy as saying, See the QB? Go get him."

But it's not like playing QB. Or MLB. My guess is that The Hammer will play 60 percent of the snaps against Tulsa. Even though he's practiced all along, he is physically not capable of playing much more. Many times, he's been seen vomiting on the sideline or having trouble breathing. But 60 percent is better than zero. And QBs are about to find that out.

We don't know all the particulars about why the NCAA decided why Lewis is eligible We've been told by Bob Stoops that it will all make sense after the decision was made—and I believe we will hear the facts from Stoops. What I do know is that Lewis is a terrific kid who has had challenges growing up that have been extremely difficult to overcome. I'm told he works hard in school but is not capable of making a GPA of 4.

I've argued with friends about this but will staunchly continue to argue that we are all raised differently and are that it's hard to relate to many situations that a lot of college football players face. The bottom line to me is that in America, a kid who does his best on and off the field deserves to pursue his dream to make a living—in this case the NFL. Most OU fans will agree with this. Most fans of other schools will not. I believe regardless the kid and regardless the school.

One of the perks of haven taken shots when I was a network football analyst is the fact that I now get to be the one giving the shots. It's not hard when in twenty minutes I heard the following "in-depth" analysis from a couple of analysts at an un-named fairly large national sports organization.

Commenting on the new modern Nike and Under Armour uniforms several team will wear this season: "You CAN NOT underestimate the psychological impact these uniforms have on players."

Another network analyst: "I love Florida State because their future is in front of them."

Today, speaking glowingly about a household name--OU star receiver Ryan Broyles: "Robert Broyles is one of the best…."

"Oregon has built its program by changing its program every ten seconds." Huh?

On Texas being his second "most improved team: "…predict they'll win 8 games," when odds makers have the over/under for Texas wins at 7.5.

Another network analyst: "I love Florida State because their future is in front of them."

"Texas A&M was the best Big 12 team at the end of the season." Later, the comment, "A&M finished better than any team in the Big 12." Worth noting, OU won its final five games. Leading 38-7 at half, OU beat TTech 45-7; leading 53-10 and resting starters in the fourth quarter in Waco, OU beat Baylor 53-24; OU beat Top 10 and 10-1 OSU for the eighth season in a row and with the conference title on the line, 47-41 in Stillwater; OU defeated Top 10 Nebraska 23-20 for its seventh Big 12 title in eight tries; OU pummeled Connecticut in the Fiesta Bowl, 48-20.

Oklahoma State was not chopped liver either. After beating A&M in game four, OSU finished strong: beat Baylor by 27, embarrassed Texas in Austin by 17, beat Kansas by 34, lost to Big 12 Champion Oklahoma in a game that could have gone either way, and defeated Arizona by 26 points.

Meantime, "the best Big 12 team," and the team that "finished better than any Big 12 team finished like this: Embarrassed by LSU (continuing its struggle with SEC teams) by 17 points, 41-24. The Aggies came out of the game winning pillow fights with Steve Austin, Louisiana Tech and Florida International (a linen tug of war, 27-20). Before the bowl game loss to end the season, the Aggies beat Baylor by 12, beat Nebraska by 3 at home, and beat 5-win Texas by 7 at home.

Clearly, the man got sold a bill of goods or just needs to do some homework before going on national TV. I'm an A&M fan and have always supported them in some serious radio debates. This is not about A&M. I like the AD, head coach and assistant Zac Taylor, son of former teammate Sherwood Taylor and former Nebraska star QB. But facts are facts.

And the facts are also that many of us will be pulling for them in the SEC, if for no other reason than to not make the Big 12 look like a weak sister. I hope that the next 9 years in the toughest conference in football, the Aggies can do better than they've done in the past 9—be 3 games over .500.

Gig ‘em Aggies as I gig the men with the mics. Preparation is everything. Maybe not in network TV analysis. But in football. It's been fun to see you and UT skirmish. And you've got another season to keep it going!

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