What is it about rivalry that this guy does not get…

About the time one would think I can give Pete Hughes a break, the OU baseball coach goes out and breaks one of Ed’s cardinal rules.   He took his foot off the throat of our rival and allowed the Ags to play another day.  Beat the Ags one game in the weekend series and they would be toast for 2017.

Instead Pete decides to play good guy/good guy and allow OSU to hang around for the Big 12 and NCAA tournaments.

Am I being too hard on the OU coach, probably, but then again, like former OSU coach Gary Ward use to say, this ain’t Sunday School.   That guy took no prisoners and when he got a team, particularly the OU team down, he exerted whatever pressure necessary to make them yell uncle.

Of course, we should have seen this one coming as OU was already assured to do no better than a three seed in the Big 12 tournament.   Subsequently, Hughes decided to put the team on auto-pilot.

Hughes probably has one of those OU/OSU family feud license plates on his car.

I lived through years of experiencing the other side of this coin. Back in those days, Gary Ward owned the Sooners in baseball and being the prick that he was, he rubbed it in our faces every chance he got.

There is a reason that Patti Gasso has beaten that bunch up north 17 times in a row and that OU has beaten OSU in football 86 times. In those sports, OU has the mental edge.  We expect to win and they expect to lose.  Pete Hughes needs to teach his OU baseball that same mindset when it comes to the Cow Patties.

OSU fans are like Cubs fans, they love their team regardless of how many times they lose to OU. That’s why they call them Aggies.  OU fans expect to win… I am putting Pete Hughes on notice…start taking this rivalry thing seriously or we will find someone who will.

Boomer Sooner…

Patti Gasso…

Like a lot of kids, I dreamed of playing baseball when I grew up…Fortunately for me that growing up thing was a long time in coming.  As a result, I played baseball for as long as I could and then took up softball, which I played way past my prime.  Even after my church softball days were over, I either coached baseball or softball.  Finally, I was blessed with a daughter who had a hankering for the game as well.

Some of my favorite memories are of those days watching her play fast pitch softball. I especially enjoyed our times at Hall of Fame Stadium as her teams would play at the Stadium’s “Big Field.” In a couple weeks we will make the trip over once again to hopefully watch Patti Gasso and our Sooners defend their National Championship.

Unknown to a lot of Sooner fans is that OU’s football program is making this possible… I say this because back in the day, we almost lost Patti Gasso due to a lack of funding.

Shortly after Patti Gasso arrived from California the OU Athletic Department was swimming in red ink. It appeared at that time the Reeves Park (seating capacity – 55) might become the permanent home for OU softball.

Back in those days, when Athletic Director was not hanging out in bars looking for the next OU football coach, he was busy mismanaging the OU athletic department. Things were so bad that Gasso sent her husband back to California to make a living so the family could stay in Oklahoma permanently.

Patti Gasso weathered the storm long enough for Joe C. to replace Donnie Duncan and for Bob Stoops to be hired to re-start the OU football program.   Ironically, Patti Gasso’s first OU National Championship was in 2000, the same year as Bob’s.  Of course there is no irony to that statement; football financially drives both sports and football getting better made funds available for both sports.  It also allowed  Patti Gasso to stay in Norman and to become the next great OU coach.

During her 22 year OU coaching career Gasso has won 1073 games and three National Championships.   That’s right only Bud and Barry can rival Patti Gasso in that area.

Even more exciting for OU fans is that Patti Gasso supplanted OSU as the state’s premier softball power. OU beat OSU four times this year and have not lost to the Lady Ags since 2011.   That my friend is the kind of Bedlam domination that all OU fans live for.

One last thing about Patti Gasso…I love the fact that she never rests on her laurels and is not afraid to admit her mistakes. Last year she admitted that she wore out Paige Parker and she swore that she would never do that to one of her pitchers again.   As the father of a former pitcher, I appreciate that kind of courage in a coach.

She went out and recruited two other pitchers to support Paige Parker.   Now, she has three starting pitchers.  A dominant starter, an overpowering closer and a freshman that will be mentored by both Paige’s as she preps to be the next dominant OU pitcher.

This year’s team is peaking at just the right time. Sooner fans had better buckle up for another National Championship run.  This has become a fun time of year for Sooner fans…

Boomer Sooner…

The end of time…

Like so many I assumed that Donald Trump would never win his party’s nomination, much less the presidency. I was obviously wrong.  I also assumed that OSU would never be up on the Sooners in recruiting this late in the recruiting process. According to this week’s Rivals recruiting rankings I was wrong again.

I think Bill Murray said it best as he described the Ghostbusters end of time as a disaster of Biblical proportions…human sacrifice! Dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria.

Okay, that may a bit over the top, but I still don’t like it…Of course OU will eventually find their sea legs and make their way back to the top, but I still don’t like it.

Recruiting for a national power like OU should not be this hard. It’s like OU has to struggle mightily to get its share of four and five star prospects while other national power simply open the doors and these guys appear. Of course, it has to help when those doors are right next door to where these guys live.

OU has always overcome Oklahoma’s lack of population with its OU and Big 12 name. This fact is becoming harder and harder.   Barry Switzer said it best recently by stating that the current Big 12 conference is the reason for OU’s recruiting woes.

To reinforce his point, take a look at the latest NFL draft.  The SEC had 53 players drafted while the Big 12 had 14. The conference NFL draft breakdown looks like this…

SEC – 53

ACC – 43

Pac 12 – 36

Big Ten – 35

AAC – 15

Big 12 – 14

Trust me Power Conference recruiters pull out this tape every time they go up against OU in recruiting.

Basically, OU is playing with a shotgun that has to be reloaded while the Alabama’s and Ohio State’s of the world are playing with automatic weapons. While Alabama can trot out a National Championship caliber team every year it takes OU three years to assemble that kind of talent.

OU has assembled that kind of talent for 2017.  A National Championship season will allow the Sooners to reload for the next four years.

I expect the Big 12 to be defunct in 2024 so buying four years will go a long way of allowing the Sooners to survive the demise of the Big 12.

Boomer Sooner…

Cameron Rising…

What the heck is going on these days…first, we lose four-star defensive back Josh Proctor to Ohio State, next we lose four-star quarterback Cameron Rising to Texas and then we lose Ron Tatum a second Oklahoma high school defensive player to Texas.

At first I was ready to unleash a heated blog blasting Mike Stoops for letting the defensive guys go. Thankfully, I drank of glass of OU Kool-aide and had second thoughts.

First off, we should have seen the Cameron Rushing flip coming. His departure from the OU commitment list was sealed the day Kyler Murray starred at the OU spring game.

In addition to Murray, OU has sophomore Chris Robison and freshman Kendal Austin lined up to play quarterback for the Sooners once Baker is done…For Rushing to leave the Sooners now instead two years from now is probably a good thing.

Of course losing a good player to Texas hurts, but even with this guy, the Horns are a couple years from competing with the Sooners.

Losing Josh Proctor out of Owasso is a much bigger deal…This guy is a big time player that OU needed to close on.   Making matters worse is the fact that OU never loses players to Ohio State?  When was the last time that happened…how about never.  I suspect that the OU-OSU home and home series may have cost us Proctor.

At the same time, keep in mind that it is a long time until signing day…If OU can pick off the Buckeyes next year on what will likely be an ESPN Game Day Saturday, Proctor may have second thoughts.

I wouldn’t lose any sleep over losing a three-star PC Original player to Texas. When was the last time Putnam City Original produced a quality player. How about Kelly Phelps some forty years ago and even Phelps was a bit of a bust.  As for me as soon as he flipped all OU fans off with his hook ‘em horns sign he became Texas trash. Good riddance.

Reinforcing my decision not to go off the deep end was the late week commitment from four-star Miguel Edwards out of Florida.   OU beat out the entire SEC and Miami for this kid.  When evaluating the value of a recruit, it is best to go with the offer list…this kid apparently is big time.

It is this type player and not the ones from PCO that make OU, OU…

Boomer Sooner…

 

When coaching matters…

As a pretty good player that became a pretty decent coach, I can tell you from experience that coaching matters…I love baseball and/or softball where smarts matter. Out coaching the other guy can be very gratifying.

The OU baseball/softball tandem of coaches perfectly illuminates the importance of coaching in these sports. As I noted in an earlier blog, OU baseball coach Pete Hughes led with his heart by playing part time player and automatic out Kyler Murray against Texas.

That loss sent the Sooners into a tail spin that has produced ten losses in the last 12 games. The baseball team went from a #9 ranking and a regional host to being a bottom feeder team in the Big 12 Conference.

The antithesis of Pete Hughes is OU softball coach Patti Gasso. Gasso always does what is best for her team, regardless of how her moves can upset a player or a parent. She never shows favorites. Players either perform or they are shown the door.

Last season, the Missouri and Oklahoma players of the year failed to get ‘er done as Paige Parker’s backup and both are now pitching in the B league.

Taking their place is the other Paige (Lowery) who will now get more innings as she develops into a solid backup for Parker. Never resting on her laurels, Patti Gasso has pitchers committed far into the future. She has pitchers still pitching in junior high lined up to become future Sooners.

While I love the speed of the softball game, I also love college baseball and would love to see OU good again. At this point, I am not sure Pete Hughes is the answer.

Thankfully for Sooner fans, as baseball remains in limbo, Patti Gasso continues to fire out College World Series contenders. After a slow start the Sooners have won 18 of 19 and are poised for another run at the series. Can you imagine Patti Gasso jeopardizing this momentumm by playing favorites? Not likely.

The good news is that Patti Gasso’s office is right down the hall from Pete Hughes. Possibly, she can stop by some day and give Pete a quick tutorial on how to win championships.

Boomer Sooner…

Changing the OU Culture…

As a disclaimer to this blog, I must make a confession.   By religiously following recruiting I sometimes fall prey to overestimating Sooner talent.

I was certainly guilty of this fact last year. I felt comfortable that OU’s name players could play with Ohio State.   As we know the Sooners got schooled by the Buckeyes in that one and yes, I overestimated OU’s talent.

As a result of this confession, I will understand if you want to dismiss my opinion on the 2017 Sooners.

If not, here we go…

I really like this OU team…I believe the football culture has changed in Norman and as a result, I believe this OU team has a chance to be really good.

Several things have happened to make this happen. First and foremost, Bob Stoops jettisoned his albatross Josh Heupel.   Heupel was holding back not only the football program; he was killing Bob’s chance of taking his place alongside Bud and Barry.

Top-flight prospects hated Josh and the ones he convinced to come to OU hated him even more once they arrived in Norman.

Secondly, Bob rebooted the program by retooling his coaching staff.  Not only have the Sooners struck gold in terms of the new coaches, the program has hit paydirt in terms of recruits and the development of those recruits into quality players.

To underscore this point, we had a solid group of recruits in 2016 and a top ten class in 2017…It appears that OU is on the verge of another top ten class in 2018. Many of the 2017 recruits went through spring practice and are now competing for positions.

It traditionally takes a staff three years to turn things around and yes, you guessed it this will be this staff’s third year.

The final reason for my confidence is the fact that the OU administration’s financial support of the program is finally paying off.   The facility upgrades appear to be a hit with more and more top flight recruits.

National Championship banners only impress recruits when they are underscored by 21st century facilities that can produce a banner for the new guys.

As a former school administrator I can personally attest to the value of an organization’s culture. Organizations are either moving forward or backward, there is no such thing as staying put. This OU program is moving forward, hopefully at warp speed.

Call me crazy, but I really like the makeup of this team…while the early Ohio State date bothers me, I really believe the Sooners will match up against the Buckeyes much better than last year. Play the Buckeyes close and the rest of the Big 12 season will take care of itself…

Call me a homer, but please call me an educated homer…The 2017 Sooner team has a chance to be really special…

Boomer Sooner…

Pick a lane…

Kyler Murray is a better than average baseball player. He is an excellent football player. I just wish he had picked a lane before this weekend.

Having a part time baseball player, particularly one as raw as Murray on a college baseball team seldom turns out well. I wish coach Pete Hughes had figured this out before the Texas series.

It appears that coach Pete Hughes felt compelled to pencil Murray into the lead off position on Friday night. After all, he had to justify having Murray flown special deliver to Austin for the game and then back to Norman the next day for the Spring Game.

Murray responded by being an automatic out for the pivotal 1st game of the series. The Friday night loss led to another one on Saturday.   The Sooners eked out a win on Sunday, but the damage was done.

The ton of momentum that the Sooner baseball team had built over the past two months was effectively snuffed out. In the wink of an eye the Sooners who had been projected as a regional host at the beginning of the week became a team fighting to remain relevant in the Big 12 race.

Making matters worse is that that same Kyler Murray flew back to Norman Saturday morning where he starred on the football field. This kid can be a special football player for the Sooners. He just needs to pick a sport and dedicate himself to that sport…

Kyler Murray and the Sooner Nation would be better served with Murray using his 4.4 speed on the football field instead of sprinting to catch flights for baseball games.

I wish he had picked a lane before the Texas baseball series…

Boomer Sooner…