Post mortem of a demoralizing Lincoln nightmare

Thursday, May 26th 2011, 1:18 pm
By: News 9

Originally Published: Nov 8, 2009 12:54 PM CDT

35-0. 10-3. Two of the most remarkable scores you will ever see in a rivalry.

The first was the score of the OU-Nebraska game last season in Norman. After one quarter!

The second was the score after the game last night in Lincoln.

The first was in Norman with a guy named Bradford at the controls. It was one of those pedal-to-the-metal offensive blitzes and defensive pressurized starts that were the norm in 2008.

The loss last night was with RS frosh Landry Jones at the controls—although there were others to share the blame even after throwing an unheard of five interceptions. It was another big-game in which the 2009 offense could not have looked more different from that of a year ago.

Similar plays. Different players. Different execution. Different results.

13, 13 and 3. Those are the point totals in three of the four losses. The 20 scored in the Miami loss looks like an avalanche of offense compared to the others.

Here’s another ridiculous number-58. That’s the number of pass attempts Jones had last night. 58! Now I loved to throw the football and love to see it thrown around now.

But having to throw 58 passes in one game says a lot—and most of it not good.

I’m a card-carrying member of the Bob Stoops “No Excuses” school. Don’t give me the excuse that the offensive line can’t run block well enough to keep from throwing it two-thirds the time. Get better. Recruit better. Keep em in school.

I don’t want to hear that Nebraska’s defensive front was so good passing was all there was. Tell that to good teams and they’ll laugh.

I don’t want to hear that with Jermaine Gresham out the run game concepts and formations are limited. We’re talking Oklahoma football here. Not Iowa State. Oh, I forgot. The Cyclones went into Memorial Stadium and came out with a victory. Sorry Clones.

What’s needed is this. First, an apology to Brent Venables and his staff and to a group of talented and hard-playing defensive players who have now held good offenses to 13, 20, and 16 points in three losses. And held Nebraska to 7 first downs and about any absurd-looking number they posted in a “win” last night.

Second, spend the off-season finding a way to kick field goals. I don’t know the answer. But I am not paid to know the answer. I suspect the answer is on campus now. But facts are facts: A program like the University of Oklahoma not being able to kick a field goal is embarrassing. Even with 5 intercepts and complete critical down chaos just kicking field goals would have allowed OU to bus out at midnight with an important win.

Third, threaten to maim offensive linemen who continue to push people four seconds after the whistle resulting in JUCO-like personal fouls that kill any momentum and stall alleged “drives.” I realize it’s hard to threaten taking playing time away when there is no one to put on the field because of the mind-boggling lack of winning players behind the pushers and shovers.

Fourth, give the ball to DeMarco Murray and Ryan Broyles every play. Don’t have your high-ball throwing freshman throwing fast-ball slants to average receivers on critical downs and expect third down conversions.

Fifth, put Broyles in the Wildcat formation and create more deception and less predictability.

Sixth, line up on fourth and one and run a quarterback sneak. There is nothing more frustrating to Sooner fans than seeing your QB run up and down the line barking out blocking assignments, looking over to the sidelines for the very latest play call and with the play clock running down (calling time-outs when calling time-outs aren’t needed and not calling a time out—game deciding play in the BYU loss), only to see some hurried and harried play be unsuccessful. Talk about demoralizing.

Seventh. Well, on the seventh day we’re supposed to rest, so I’ll leave it there.

This Sabbath Sunday is about reflection. A season gone bad has a chance to become a Season on the Brink. The latest invaluable piece to this offense may be lost. Brody Eldridge—Stoops’ favorite player—hurt a shoulder last night.

Don’t reflect too long on that one because this rudderless team may have lost another offensive rudder. Frustrated coaches said last night that leaders are hard to find right now. Losing the tight end/fullback/center/right guard/left guard/captain would be fitting. But not an excuse.

It’s highly conceivable this team could flounder to a 6-6 finish—the same record I mentioned to the person sitting next to me three seconds after Bradford went down against BYU.

Winning at Tech if iffy at best. The away from home losses continue to mount—four in one year for those counting at home. Beating a good OSU team will be a challenge.

This aforementioned reflection should start with the highly-recruited “4 and 5-star high school stars.” Under-performing kids who are getting their school paid for and getting their backs patted by adoring fans.

Yes, they need to be held accountable more than anyone. The game is not as hard as they are making it look.
Like Stoops says, the 2009 team is not given wins because the teams of 2008, 2007, etc. were champs.

We saw that the 2009 Huskers didn’t care what the 2008 Sooners did to them in Norman.

At an unfathomable 5 and 4, the commitment to excellence of this bunch is about to be tested. I’ve not seen a Sooner team as disheartened as the one I saw late last night. More than gut-check time. It’s soul-searching time.

The nation is watching. Just as they were when Bradford’s high-flying offense was racking up 60 points a game down the stretch a season ago.

This time the nation is watching from a totally different perspective. One from which they are shaking their heads in disbelief.

And while there are legitimate excuses that might soften the blow, no one is listening. Life isn’t always fair. Nor is football. And nor are the Sooners.

Fair is too much of a compliment to them right now. Poor to bad is more like it.