Oklahoma football: A Response to Sooners’ Stumble Against Baylor


I took a step back after Baylor came into Norman and handed Bob Stoops his worst home loss in his career at OU. I wanted to make sure that I could write clearly and objectively about not only the 48-14 drubbing that the Sooners sustained, but also the state of the program under the Stoops brothers and Josh Heupel. We’re now 72 hours removed from the Debacle at Owen Field, so here’s my response

The offensive game plan and the defensive schemes that the coaching staff constructed (allegedly over the last three weeks) were not nearly good enough to compete with a team like Baylor. But the worst thing about it? From strictly a personnel stand point, I’m not so sure that OU isn’t better than Baylor.

Offensive Game plan

Nov 8, 2014; Norman, OK, USA; Oklahoma Sooners wide receiver Michiah Quick (16) is pursued after a reception by Baylor Bears safety Terrell Burt (13) during the first half at Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Despite not scoring a point over the last three quarters of the game (emphatically breaking a program-record streak of scoring in consecutive quarters to open a season), no one believes that this game was the offenses’ fault. I’m not saying it is either, but much like the defense, the offense never gave the Sooners a chance.

We’ve been holding out hope all season long that Heupel was saving something for Baylor. We thought we had seen a glimpse of it last weekend when he cut Trevor Knight lose in the run game against Iowa State. Save a few read options that TK9 actually kept the ball on, this game was no different from any other.

It had it all: the senseless INT from Knight, the dropped passes, the lack of a consistent running game (Keith Ford and Samaje Perine combined for 13 carries compared to 29 pass attempts from Knight and Cody Thomas), ect. There was only one real swing pass and it was abandoned after Baylor snuffed it out.

My point: there was absolutely nothing new about the offense on Saturday. Which speaks to several troubling factors: first, it means that Heupel and the offensive coaching staff has a complete lack of an imagination when it comes calling and designing plays. Second, it means that the coaches have yet to trust the offense that they have designed for Knight and the other offensive personnel.

If you’re not going to open things up when you’re down by 35 at home to a ranked team, when are you willing to open things up? To me, it just means that the coaches are ill-equipped to design an offense around these players and they proved that on Saturday.

Defensive Game plan

The entire home crowd knew what the issue was on the defensive side of the ball, so I won’t insult your intelligence by going over what happened in detail. The opening drive of the second half was so embarrassing, it had the home crowd booing the coaching staff (yes, the coaches, not the players) before the Bears had even scored.

Repeatedly, the Bryce Petty threw towards Julian Wilson who was inexplicably playing off coverage. His frustrations boiled over on the sidelines towards the Stoops brothers, and rightfully so; I could have played eight yards off and then forced him out of bounds eventually (probably).

Wilson is a big, physical corner that is at his best when he can press opposing receivers and disrupt their timing. So why wouldn’t Mike let him press? After the game, DC Stoops said that, in hindsight, they should have made an adjustment and forced Petty to make an accurate throw.

But did anyone notice what happened on Baylor’s next series? After Wilson’s tantrum, the coaches let him play a little closer (I’d estimate about five-six yards off). And Corey Coleman absolutely burned Wilson. Coleman turned on the jets once the ball was in the air and ran right past OU’s no. 2 corner for another big play. Suddenly, it made a little bit of sense why Mike Stoops didn’t want Wilson pressing the talented receiver.

Still, there are alternatives. For one, putting a safety over the top to help out is the most reasonable solution that never really happened. Second, putting the corners in press coverage and then blitzing five or six guys could have at least put pressure on Petty to make a good throw. Instead, Stoops played umbrella-like coverage while only blitzing three players for most of the game

Art Briles and Bryce Petty saw OU’s “bend-but-don’t-break” defense and broke it in half.

The Bright Spots

There were a couple bright spots that Sooners fans can look to for the future. None of these are moral victories, merely signs of good things to come.

True freshman Michiah Quick looked great in the absence of Sterling Shepard, and he has continued to play well since replacing KJ Young in the Kansas State game. Quick got behind the Bears defense multiple times (though Knight rarely saw/hit him) and he was by far OU’s most effective receiver. He showed flashes of real talent that made him one of the most sought after athletes in the country last season.

Alex Ross has continued to look good after failing to show much vision early on in the season. He broke off a 50 yard run on his first attempt on Saturday, and finished as Oklahoma’s leading rusher with 71 yards and six carries. With Ross, Ford, Perine, Mixon, Flowers, and Rodney Anderson in the fold for next season, the Sooners are building a RB stable that would rival anything Switzer ever had.

Another true freshman, Steven Parker, has shown signs of being a very talented player at S all season long, and he did more of that against Baylor. He got beat deep once (along with Quentin Hayes) but he might already be OU’s best tackler in the secondary. His development for the rest of the season will be very important for Oklahoma’s future.