Summer recruiting…

Recruiting under Brent Venables has changed dramatically. The day of players committing one day and bailing the next is a thing of the past under BV.  OU has been like a revolving door for football recruits in the past. This new format will also take some adjustment on the part of OU fans.  That’s right, we are going to have to be more patient which of course is not in our DNA. 

Savoring those times when we were on the cusp of a top ten class early in the process has always been a lot of fun. It’s like a shot of adrenaline that makes summers bearable.   Then of course, we would spend the fall being burned by high school kids who would flip from OU to Alabama at the last minute. 

For this reason, I am excited about giving BV’s plan a shot.  He compares his recruiting style to dating and marriage.  He expects his players to stop dating once they decide to marry into the OU family.  BV will insist that his recruits stop taking recruiting visits once they’ve committed to the Sooners. 

With all of this in mind, let’s see how we are doing and the hill we will have to climb going forward. The Sooners currently rank #38 in the latest rivals100 recruiting rankings with our seven recruits.  By comparison Texas Tech is ranked #2 in rivals with their 20 commitments. 

That’s okay don’t give up on the Sooners just yet. We’ll check back in a few months to see where our class, with its permanent commitments compares to Texas Tech.  I suspect that a lot of the Texas Tech commits will fly the coop while OU’s commitments will marry into the OU family and create a top ten class. I can’t wait to see how this story turns out…

Boomer Sooner… 

Fundamentals…

I’m a firm believer that fundamentals in any sport cannot be overstated. This is especially true in diamond sports.  This is what separates the wheat from the chaff. It is also what wins national championships. The recent WCWS pointed this out especially well.  

I spent a lot of time watching the WCWS with the sound turned down. First, this allowed me to tune out the nonsensical talking heads and secondly, it allowed me to focus on the fundamentals of the different teams. It was like night and day between the Sooners and the other guys. 

Today’s college softball players come to college having played on travel teams where they do just that travel…travel team coaches are businessmen who spend very little time working on defensive skills of their players. Teams blow out the competition with their bats.   

Okay, here’s the good news for Sooner fans. Patty plays with an experienced deck every year as she reloads her roster with veteran players.  Yes, we have young players, but they are the pick of the litter.   Those players come to Norman as travel team players, but they don’t get on the field without their skills be dutifully honed.  In addition, Patty has the luxury of passing over players that are lacking in this area.  

What does all of this mean for Sooner fans…it means that Patty Gasso and our Sooners will continue to be light years ahead of the competition.  Granted, it remains to be seen if these facts will produce multiple national championships moving forward, but using Bud Wilkinson as our guide, I suspect it will. 

The reason that OU football seldom lost back in the 50’s was because Bud insisted on his players being fundamentally sound players. Have your pick of Bud or Patty as the greatest coach in OU history, but regardless of your choice, Bud and Patty’s players wrote the book on how to play the game. 

Boomer Sooner…

Sooner baseball…

As you know, I have not been kind to Joe Castiglione when it comes to OU baseball.  First, he hires Sunny Galloway, then Pete Hughes who were both run out of town on a rail and then we have to play at a high school field. This is the basis for my irritation with Joe, but being the stand-up guy that I am, I am now ready to cut Joe some slack.

The year before Pete Hughes gor the boot, Joe insisted that Hughes hire current OU skipper Skip Johnson. Johnson had been the pitching coach at Texas where he was passed over for that head coaching job for the Longhorns.  When Pete Hughes is fired, Skip Johnson was promoted to the head coaching position.

At the time I thought here we go again…why not conduct a national search and get it right this time. After a marginal first year my thoughts were reinforced, but being the recruiting guy that I am, I did see a light at the end of the tunnel. 

During the covid year, the Sooners began to show life only to be sidelined along with the rest of college baseball due to the pandemic. Adding insult to injury most of the talented players off that team were drafted so we were back to square one.  At least that’s what I thought…

This year, the team began to show signs of life early in the season by holding their own against a stout schedule.  Next, the Sooners came within a whisker of taking the series from OSU and Texas.  Then they got hot down the stretch and won the Big 12 tournament going away. 

Then we were snubbed by the NCAA, in part due L. Dale Mitchell Park, for a regional and super regional.  This bunch shrugged that insult aside as they took down Florida and Virginia Tech in Gainesville and Blacksburg in the regional and super regional. 

Fortunately, since I have no life, I spent many a Friday night checking out the Sooner baseballers on the World Wide Web.  Trust me these guys are pretty good and will be hard to beat. They can hit with anyone and now they have found a pitching staff to go along with their hitting. 

Here’s the deal…teams will not want to play this team…they are a blazing hot having won fifteen of their last eighteen games with two of those losses coming in the regionals and super regionals.   More importantly, this team has found the formula for success.  To win in Omaha a team must have bono fide starters (which OU has) and a hard throwing closer which they have developed over time. 

I love lefty/lefty match ups from a pitching standpoint.  That formula works 90% of the time and are sure fire rally stoppers.   This team reminds me a lot of the 1994 that won it all.  For me that game was like the moon landing…I remember exactly where I was at the point in time when Bucky Buckles came on in relief to shut down Georgia Tech for the Natty in Omaha. 

I would reserve some t.v. time for the 3rd week in June…this is going to be loads of fun…

Boomer Sooner…

Summer recruiting…

Recruiting under Brent Venables has changed dramatically. The day of players committing one day and bailing the next is a thing of the past under BV.  In the past it was like a revolving door at OU when it came to football recruits. This new format will also take adjustment on the part of OU fans.  That’s right, we are going to have to be more patient which of course is not in our DNA. 

I follow football recruiting religiously and I have savored those years when OU would be on the cusp of a top five class early in the process.  I have also been burned more times than I want to remember by high school kids who have left us at the altar. 

For this reason, I am excited to give BV’s plan a shot.  He compares his recruiting style to dating and marriage.  He expects his players to stop dating once they decide to marry into the OU family.  BV will insist that his recruits stop taking recruiting visits once they have committed to the Sooners. 

With all of this in mind, let’s see how we are doing and what that hill we have to climb looks like.  The Sooners currently rank #34 in the latest Rivals recruiting rankings with our five recruits.  By comparison Texas Tech is ranked #2 in Rivals with their 20 commitments. 

Given these rankings, one must wonder how many future OU commitments will be big-time in nature that have bought into the Brent Venables’ recruiting style.  Conversely, it will be interesting to see how many Tech commitments fly the coop between now and December.      

In the end, the proof will be in the pudding.  We shall see…

Boomer Sooner… 

That damn pesky fly…

OSU is like that pesky fly that just won’t go away. Here we are on the roll to another National Championship in softball and that fly is back.   It all began in the Big 12 Championship game as we did not swat that fly when we had the chance.  That win for the Cowgirls put them on a path to the WCWS finals against the Sooners. 

OSU has utilized an unbelievable soft regional, super-regional and WCWS bracket to waltz to the finals.  The NCAA with Patty leading the charge also created additional breaks between sessions for this year’s tournament that has helped the OSU cause as well. 

The OSU ace Kelly Maxwell has gotten on a roll of late and is dangerous.  She has won two games in the tournament so far and is set to win a third on Monday.  With Jordy still a question mark the OSU series could get interesting.  Like I said, here comes that pesky fly again…

Boomer Sooner…

WCWS…

Obviously the WCWS will be more of a challenge for the Sooner softballers than the regionals and super regional were.  However, like we said, if this team is as good as we think they are and if Patty is the Hall of Fame coach we believe her to be, we should be just fine. 

With OU’s help, OSU is now on a roll and will be a force to be reckoned with in OKC.  OU created the OSU monster by losing to the Cowgirls in the Big 12 Championship game.  Hopefully, the Sooners will remind themselves of that game and take care of business this time around.  Getting Jordy Bahl back will go a long way in making that happen.   

Adding to our fun this week will be the Sooner baseballers who won their first Big 12 Championship in almost a decade this past weekend. The Sooners will be the #2 seed in the Gainesville regional.  The Sooners deserved the opportunity to host a regional, but the NCAA selection committee does not award regional sites to programs with miniature stadiums. 

As fans, we can blame the NCAA all day for this snub, but these sites are awarded to a great extent on stadium size.   Case in point is that OSU and Texas finished behind the Sooners this year, but both are hosting regionals this next weekend.  

Getting to Omaha may be a lost cause for the Sooners, but then again OU is on a roll right now.  We have won 6 out of the last seven games including a win over Texas in the Big 12 Championship game so don’t count the Sooners out of the running.   Regardless of what happens this week the Sooner baseball program has come a long way.  Hopefully, this year will provide the Sooners with the impetus for a new SEC-type baseball stadium in the future.

Finally, the Sooner golf team will be vying for another National Championship this week in Scottsdale with the Sooners playing in the quarter finals on Tuesday.   

At least we will have something to do during the dog days of summer this week…

Boomer Sooner…

Sooner Magic…

It was almost like the Sooner softballers were hungover from the previous night’s celebration as they faced OSU on Saturday.  The championship dance routine would have been perfect at the end of the Bedlam series, but not the day before.  Then again, possibly our Sooners were toying with the Lady Ags.  Regardless, it was simply a matter of time before OSU snatched defeat from the jaws of victory once again. 

Nicole May got off to her normal slow start by giving up a walk and a home run early in the game.  After that, she settled in and did a really nice job both as the starter and as the reliever.  Here’s one for the books…Hope Trautwein got the win even though she walked four of the six batters she faced.  That’s softball for you.   

Of course, for OU fans who have seen this act before, the Jocelyn Alo grand slam could not have come at a better time.  The greatest hitter in softball history is normally pitched around by coaches in order to avoid her sultan of swat routine.  Unfortunately for the OSU coach, he was left with no options.  Walk Alo intentionally would mean walking in the tying run.

Coach G. bit the bullet and pitched to Alo and right on cue, she goes yard with a grand slam and as they say the rest is history.  Granted, there was a bit of drama later in the game, but for the most part the game was over at that point. 

As I said before the series began, I wanted a sweep and as the game went into the 5th I realized how badly I wanted for that sweep to happen.  A loss in that last game would have undone all the good that had been created in the previous two.  Fortunately, Jocelyn and Sooner Magic were not about to let us down.

Now, we are one step closer to another Natty…    

Boomer Sooner…

Bedlam softball…

Hopefully with our move to the SEC, this Bedlam thing will go away, but until that happens, we are stuck with it.  We will also be stuck all week with the incessant overuse of the term by the local media to describe the upcoming softball weekend.  Those guys love to stir the pot and give OSU an extra boost any time they can.  This is one of those times. 

This OSU softball team is the best bunch to hit Stillwater since Sandy Fischer was coaching the Cowgirls back in the day.  Fischer owned the state in those days as she won 901 games during her career.  Fischer was forced into retirement in 2001 as Patty Gasso began breathing down her neck.  Patty needs to keep that same pressure on Kenny Gajewski, the current OSU coach.  That’s right, no wiggle room.

This week, the Cowgirls will attempt to duplicate or even better last year’s win production over the Sooners.  Last year the Cowgirls beat the Sooners for the first time in over a decade.  The good news is that last year’s win came in Stillwater while this year’s games will be played in Norman.  The bad news is that this year’s OSU team is much better than the one that Coach G. put out there last year. 

Here’s the bottom line…the Sooners need to sweep OSU in order to shut these guys up and more importantly to nail down the #1 seed throughout the NCAA tournament.   If we are as good as we say we are, we need a series sweep this weekend.

Boomer Sooner…

Be careful what you ask for…

“Little brother” may be the biggest threat to wrecking OU’s plans for another softball national championship.  That’s right, it’s going to get really interesting over the next month in college softball. Here’s the rub…OSU is really good and much of this has to do with Patty Gasso’s act of kindness.   Of course, in her defense, she was probably taking advice from Joe C., the biggest Aggie lover of them all.     

Kenny Grajewski, the current OSU head coach was a Florida assistant coach when the OSU job opened up a few years back.  Patty Gasso recommended Coach G. for the OSU position.  Oh well, what’s the harm, she must have thought.  The harm is that there was a time when OSU dominated the Oklahoma softball landscape.  It has taken Patty Gasso twenty years to turn things around.  I for one don’t want to give that up. 

Keep in mind that coach Grajewski’s team beat the Sooners for the first time in over a decade last year and they have added two pitchers to that team, including last year’s Texas ace, Miranda Elish.  That pitching staff held Texas to 3 runs for an entire weekend while OU’s pitchers gave up four runs in one game to the Horns. 

What’s my point…my point is that we must start taking this OSU team seriously…they are loaded this year and they still have the same coach.  Coach G. was tutored by former OU baseball player turned softball coach Tim Walton.  This guy uses the same approach to softball as a baseball guy would.  Go with your starter and then shut the door with your hard throwing closer.  It’s a time-honored formula that works.

This is really my point…OU people need to stop worrying about OSU.  Remember how it felt last November after OSU beat us in football.  They’re not our friend…they would love nothing more than to derail our quest for another National Championship.   

Boomer Sooner…

Jordy Bahl’s post…

“Glory goes to God in every outcome. We are undeserving of the abilities, relationships, and passion he’s gifted to us.  Its humbling being able to wear your heart on your sleeve battling under his name.  We are so unworthy of these things, but his love is so much greater.  #butGod…