Oklahoma football: OU’s true character will show with nothing to lose


Last season provided Oklahoma fans with two gut-wrenching losses, as well as some pretty amazing outcomes.

First, the Oklahoma Sooners did lose to the Texas Longhorns in what looked like one of the biggest upsets of the season. However, we’d find out later Texas would be in contention for a Big 12 Championship by year’s end.

The Sooners, though, lost to the eventual Big 12 Champions, the Baylor Bears by a large margin.

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While it seemed like a bit of an unrealistic goal at the start of the 2013 season, OU’s extremely slim chances at a BCS National Championship Game berth had been completely diminished by their trip to Waco, Texas.

However, OU played like a team capable of winning a national title in the final stretch of their season.

A two-loss Oklahoma Sooners squad played with about as much as heart as we’ve seen in a long time. Not to say that past teams didn’t try, but this was the definition of “inspired football.”

Trevor Knight helped OU beat Kansas State in Manhattan, despite a few defensive lapses. The Sooners would then go in to Stillwater and create an iconic Bedlam game, which ended with Blake Bell finding Jalen Saunders for a last-second touchdown to beat the Pokes.

Then, the game everyone talks about. The 2014 Allstate Sugar Bowl.

OU wasn’t given any chance. Not by the media, not by Alabama, and even some of the Oklahoma Sooners fans were preparing their alcoholic beverages accordingly for what should’ve been a Crimson Tide beat-down.

It was the Sooners who did the beating, though.

So now here we are in the middle of the 2014 college football season. Oklahoma has two losses, and they still have a lot of football left to play.

While last year’s team had a lot of veteran guys with a lot of character, this a young OU football squad. And while a chance at winning the Big 12 seems out of reach, Oklahoma’s true character will show in the weeks to come.

The biggest questions ahead for Oklahoma are ones we were asking last year. Will the secondary step it up? Is Trevor Knight really “the guy?” Can Josh Heupel create a competent game plan?

To start with the secondary, let’s preface this by mentioning Oklahoma has gone up against some of the nation’s elite passers.

But at the same time, it seemed like the secondary was much improved at the beginning of the season and has only regressed.

The secondary has been a weak point for what’s been an overall good Oklahoma defense. It certainly doesn’t help when your best corner is dealing with health issues.

As for Trevor Knight, we thought the “controversy” was over. However…here’s a shocker….not every Trevor Knight performance this year has been up to par with what he did to Alabama.

With no Baker Mayfield eligible, Trevor doesn’t seem to be in any danger of losing his first string status. However, there are obviously still some things Knight has to work on before OU becomes an offensive powerhouse again.

Though, I think it truly begins with the offensive play-calling. Josh Heupel was great in 2000 when he was under center as the quarterback. But as an offensive coordinator? Yeah, things aren’t so peachy.

Heupel’s play-calling has been mediocre at best, and while the Big 12 defenses have taken a huge step from where they were a few years ago, it seems like OU could be doing more with the talent they have on their roster.

Josh Heupel basically saved his job at the end of the 2013 season, but there’s no telling if he’ll be able to duplicate that in 2014…or if Oklahoma even wants to stick with Heupel moving forward.

Overall, this team’s character will be tested. They have nothing to really lose at this point, but at Oklahoma there’s always a chip on your shoulder and always a reason to compete when everyone gives you their best shot.

OU’s fight has been questioned, but after all they’ve gone through, do you really think big time competitors like Blake Bell, Daryl Williams, Julian Wilson, and Chuka Ndulue want to end their college careers on a sour note?

What we learned this first half of this season was hard to accept. Oklahoma’s expectations were higher than ever, but I think we’ll learn more in these coming weeks about whether OU is in the business of winning or not and if this season can be salvaged as the 2013 Sooners did a year ago.