Oklahoma Sooners’ Loss to Baylor Shows Big Problems within the Program


There are many words to describe how Sooner Nation is feeling after the 48-14 loss to Baylor at home on Saturday afternoon. Disappointment, anger, frustration, confused, surprised, could be a few one could use. A month and a half ago, most of the country was expecting Oklahoma to make the final four-team playoff. Now, the Sooners are fighting to finish in the top half of the conference standings. This team gave every Sooner fan hope when they forced five sacks on Tennessee’s Justin Worley and looked like a dominant defense in that game.

Then, it all fell apart. A 37-33 loss to TCU where the Sooners beat themselves with stupid penalties and mistakes, squeezing by a rebuilding Texas team, missing field goals and extra points in a one-point loss to Kansas State, and a 34 point squandering to the hands of the Bears has many Sooners fans questioning not only the assistant coaches, but even Stoops’ job. A Twitter search for #FireBobStoops will bring up a lot of tweets.

But I believe there is more going on in the program than losses. Defensive back Julian Wilson got into a heated talk with both head coach Bob Stoops and defensive coordinator Mike Stoops during the game. Here is a gif of the exchange, courtesy of SB Nation:

How often do you see a player chewing out his coach? Let alone two of his coaches? This speaks volume of just what is happening inside the Sooners football program. There is no leadership by the coaches to where the players can respect them. The play-calling in the game was absolutely terrible in Saturday’s game. Why is the defense playing 7+ yards out, knowing that the best way to stop the Baylor offense is to tighten coverage and pressure Bryce Petty?

At some point, the coaches need to be held accountable. It seems like Bob Stoops did so today. The Oklahoman’s Ryan Aber reported an interesting bit Stoops said at the post-game press conference:

Even though it’s respectable that he’s taking the blame, is he going to do anything about it? He also mentioned that the execution wasn’t there today. How many games is the execution not going to be there before changes are made? Stoops really needs to re-evaluate this team and his assistant coaches.

The Twitter account @soonergridiron made a valid point with this tweet:

Could it be that Bob and Mike don’t have as much interest in winning as long as they have their paycheck? If so, that is really sad and rather scary.

Mike Stoops continues to be adamant in dropping seven or eight players and only rushing three. Eric Striker and Genero Grissom are two of the best pass rushers in the whole country. Why is Striker being dropped back into coverage? Why is the defense playing seven or more yards off before the play? Mike Stoops deserves a lot of the blame for the defensive struggles.

Every year since 2009, this team has under-performed and frankly, been highly overrated. A big reason are injuries, but in games like today, the heart of the players was simply not there. They seemed disinterested to be there after the first quarter. 11 weeks into the season, and this team is still missing field goals and getting called for roughing the kicker, giving up big passing plays, particularly on third down, not being able to get a 4th down stop, and throwing terrible interceptions that lead to a score for the other team. For a Bob Stoops’ coached team, that sort of stuff should not happen, especially so late in the season. 2014 will be known as yet another year the Oklahoma Sooners have “choked” under pressure and preseason hype. But that has become the norm at Oklahoma: being ranked in the top 10 of the preseason poll, only to lose two or three games in the season on dumb mistakes, disinterested playing, the lack of adjustments, and plain and simple: bad coaching.

I’m not ready to jump on the “Fire Bob Stoops” bandwagon yet, but I think it’s reasonable to start thinking about the next coach. A young and up and coming coach who is more hungry for success would be the right choice. Bob Stoops has accomplished everything while at OU: He has a national title, has won every BCS Bowl, has eight conference titles, and has numerous Coach of the Year awards. Maybe he just doesn’t have that fire in him anymore and energy and hunger for success. Maybe as he grows older, he becomes less and less motivated to work harder for a national title. Maybe he’s now content with 9-3 and 10-2 seasons. Stoops may not be as motivated as he used to be. Maybe Joe Castiglione and his staff should start looking for another coach who hasn’t accomplished as much yet, and who will be much more motivated to achieve more success.

Past players at Oklahoma like Billy Sims and Brennan Clay were disappointed in the team and coaching staff today:

Former Sooner and current Arizona Cardinals defensive back Tony Jefferson also expressed his disappointment:

Oklahoma football is about winning national championships and conference championships. It’s not about blown coverages, disinterested playing, players screaming at coaches, and underachieving every year. As of right now, Stoops will stay coach of the Sooners, but it’s not too early to start thinking about who will be the man to take over the Sooners, because as of right now, Stoops’ underachieving just isn’t cutting it. At least, not at a program like Oklahoma.