Oklahoma football has had plenty of losses over the years, though few at home. One-third of those losses at home since 1999 has been to Kansas State. It’s no secret that the Wildcats have been trouble for the Sooners over the years.
Bob Stoops had tough moments against them, Lincoln Riley did and now Brent Venables’s first loss was to those Wildcats, his alma mater. Oklahoma appeared to come into the game with some serious momentum, and so the loss felt blindsiding to many in the fan base. This has caused a bit of overreaction to the loss, and that somewhat just comes with the territory for programs like Oklahoma. However, as coaches often say it’s never as good as it looks or as bad as it looks. So lets talk about it, what happened?
Oklahoma did not match Kansas State’s energy to start the game
The Wildcats came out and punched the Sooners directly in the mouth. Oklahoma fell behind 14-0 and looked flatter than 10-year-old soda pop. When a team is looking to upset you they need to come out with better energy and the worst thing you can do is not match them, and give them the confidence that they need to let them know they can play with you.
The Sooners did just that, and on top of that after Oklahoma tied the game at 14 they gave up a long kick return. Momentum is important in college football, and Oklahoma football failed to match the energy of the Wildcats.
Uncharacteristic mistakes on defense
The Oklahoma defense through the first three games of the season took good angles, and did not miss many tackles. While playing against shifty guys like Adrian Martinez and Deuce Vaughn can impact your ability to some extent, it’s mostly an effort and attention to details situation. The Sooners simply did not play well enough, and the opponent wasn’t the problem. The Sooners also struggled at times playing contain in the run game, overshooting a few games and playing with integrity.
Offense ineffective in critical moments
Defensively this is giving up a 3rd and 16 for a 55 yard gain to virtually seal your defeat. Or third down in general which was a sick sight to see for the Sooners.
Offensively too much meat left on the bone. Two pre-snap penalties turned 4th and 1 situation into 4th and 6. Four down territory turned into punting. Dillon Gabriel also missed several key throws on critical downs. A third down throw to a wide open Drake Stoops that easily scores a touchdown was errant, a 4th and 3 to Stoops on an easy conversion missed and fell incomplete. Marvin Mims was missed on another third down. Simply put, not good enough.
Is it fixable?
In short, YES. That’s the good news for Oklahoma fans, the things that went wrong against the Wildcats are mental mistakes and attention to details errors. The Sooners are physical and strong team. There was no talent issues or a need to say “wait until Brent gets his guys”. Brent has excellent talent right now, and very few teams wouldn’t swap for what the Sooners have. OU will have a chance to prove they are past it this Saturday at TCU