Eddie…

First off, let’s give Eddie Sutton credit.  The guy could flat out coach…I hated those games when OU would have to play against his teams with their smothering defense.  At the same time, it is important to keep things in perspective.  While OSU fans and the local media will make Eddie out to be the greatest coach in basketball history.   Fans of James Naismith and John Wooden and for that matter Billy Tubbs and Kelvin Sampson might disagree.

While Eddie’s coaching record at OSU was .709 during the Billy and Kelvin eras, Kelvin and Billy had .719 and .716 winning percentages respectively during the Eddie era.  Not to be overlooked is the fact that for the most part both Billy and Kelvin had exceptional records when it came to the NCAA as well.  Kelvin had a minor skirmish while Billy’s record was spotless.   As for Eddie, he had his problems.  

Eddie caused his Kentucky program to get slammed with a near death penalty back in the day.  After getting canned by Kentucky, Eddie landed at the land of cheaters where he finished out his career.  Unfortunately, Eddie was eventually given the boot at OSU as well.  

Like him or not, what happened next was egregious.   OSU used Eddie as a prop in his later years as he was constantly carted from the local nursing home to GIA for half time shows.   At that point in his life, he was oblivious to his surroundings.  Even Eddie haters had to feel sorry for the guy as he deserved better than that. 

OSU fans eat up this tragedy stuff up.   They play that card every chance they get…they did it when Eddie was alive and now they will do it in his passing.   This is how OSU justifies their existence.     

They have no shame…

Let the games begin…

As I made my way into Walmart for my yearly suicide mission to pick up wreaths for my parent’s graves, it dawned on me…cancelling football season would  be like cancelling Walmart…that’s right, it ain’t going to happen.

None of the Walmart and the 7-Eleven shoppers that I observed on that day were the least bit concerned by Covid 19, social distancing or masking.   These crowds had declared mission accomplished.   With this in mind, I suggest that OU officials move forward with business as usual.   It’s game on…

The OU guys will do their part to reassure everyone that they are taking the latest coronavirus seriously.   Full body screening will be in vogue as fans move through both security and Covid 19 entry points before  entering the stadium.   Joe will even take this opportunity to introduce fans to digitized tickets.   Smart move on Joe’s part.   He’s been waiting for just the right time and he found it.  Even the old farts will have a hard time arguing against this move.

While I expect that masks will be even more optional by the fall,  OU officials will use this opportunity to have fans stripe the stadium for the Missouri State game.   OU fans will coordinate section numbers with the red and white masks.  Might be pretty cool at that.

With a second round of the Covid 19 on the way and with no vaccine in sight, Boomers may still be tentative to be part of game one.  Millennials who live without fear will step into the breach to snatch up Boomer tickets.   Thank goodness for millennials…the place will be sold out.

The players will report back to campus on June 15, students will report back for classes in late August and OU will open up on September 5th as planned.  Really…if we had relied on the Walmart barometer all along, we could have saved some stress…

Let the games begin…   

 

 

The Future…

Power Five Conference recruiting rankings…

Team       5 yr. avg   ’20     ’19      ’18       ’17        ’16         5 yr. record

Clemson…….9…………..3……..10……..6…….16……..10………..69-5

Alabama…….2…………..2………1……..7………1……….1………….66-6

Ohio State….5…………..5…….14……..2………2……….3………….61-7

Georgia………3………….1………2……..1………3……….7………….54-15

LSU…………….7……….,,4………5……15………7……….3………….51-14

OU…………..t10………..11……..6……..9……….8……..19………..41-10

Texas……….t10…………9……..3……..3……. 26……..11…………35-11

Not that long ago it appeared that Alabama would control college football for years to come.  Their recruiting over a five year period was off the charts.  The Crimson Tide averaged #2 in the recruiting rankings over a five year period which is simply mind-boggling.

Fortunately for Alabama haters, Clemson and LSU  had solid recruiting years, but also figured out a way to overcome the built-in Alabama advantage in other ways.  First, Dabo Swinney did a remarkable job of keeping his coaches from leaving Death Valley.   Part of his plan was to figure out a way to keep Brent Venables in South Carolina.   Clemson officials decided to fork over $12 million dollars over five years for Venables.   Dabo also recruited the best high school quarterback in the country in Trevor Lawrence.

Not to be outdone, LSU built a fence around Louisiana and recruited monster classes in 2018 and 2019.  Most importantly, they recruited the best graduate transfer in America in quarterback Joe Burrow. And as they say, the rest is history.  It is important to keep in mind that the Clemson and LSU teams in 2019 were outliers.   With Trevor Lawrence in tow for one more year, Clemson will  have one more year of being on top, while LSU will fall by the wayside this year.  In 2021 I expect that Clemson will drop off a bit as well.

Recruiting will tell us who will take up the mantel in 2021 as LSU and Clemson take a step back.  Take a look at the latest 247sports recruiting rankings and see what you think will happen.  I will share my thoughts on this subject in my next blog.

 

The Future…

 

Power Five Conference recruiting rankings…

                              Five year avg.        ’20         ’19         ’18         ’17         ’16         5 yr. record

Clemson……………………..9…………………….3………..10……….6……….16……….10………….69-5

Alabama……………………..2…………………….2………….1……….7…………1…………1………….66-6

Ohio State…………………..5…………………….5………..14……….2…………2…………3………….61-7

Georgia………………………3…………………….1………….2……….1…………3…………7………….54-15

LSU…………………………….7…………………….4………….5……..15…………7…………3………….51-14

OU…………………………..t10……………………11………….6……….9…………8……….19…………41-10

Texas………………………t10…………………….9………….3……….3………..26……….11…………35-11

Not that long ago it appeared that Alabama would control college football for years to come.  Their recruiting over a five year period was off the charts.  The Crimson Tide averaged #2 in the recruiting rankings over a five year period which is simply mind-boggling.

Fortunately for Alabama haters, Clemson and LSU  had solid recruiting years, but they also figured out a way to overcome the built-in Alabama advantage in other ways.  First, Dabo Swinney did a remarkable job of keeping his coaches from leaving Death Valley.   Part of his plan was to figure out a way to keep Brent Venables in South Carolina.   Clemson officials decided to fork over $12 million dollars over five years for Venables.   Dabo also recruited the best high school quarterback in the country in Trevor Lawrence.

Not to be outdone, LSU built a fence around Louisiana and recruited monster classes in 2018 and 2019.  Most importantly, they recruited the best graduate transfer in America in quarterback Joe Burrow. And as they say, the rest was history.  It is important to keep in mind that the Clemson and LSU teams in 2019 were outliers.   With Trevor Lawrence in tow for one more year, Clemson will  have one more year of being on top, while LSU will fall by the wayside this year.  In 2021 I expect that Clemson will drop off a bit as well.

Recruiting will tell us who will take up the mantel in 2021 as LSU and Clemson take a step back.  Take a look at the latest 247sports recruiting rankings and see what you think will happen.  I will share my thoughts on this subject in my next blog.

 

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The future…

The value of today’s coaching staffs cannot be overstated.   College football has changed and now these guys get paid head coach’s salaries and for good reason.  Since Lincoln has been around, Sooner fans have been blessed with a bunch of new coaches that will eventually return the Sooners to the top rung in college football.  These guys are not only great recruiters, they also know what to do with talent once they get it on campus.

While the current OU recruiting class has yet to move up the charts due to the Coronvirus, good times are on the way.   OU is in the process of putting together a top five recruiting class.  This class will be cemented in place when the Sooners take the field in the fall.

Most teams are stressing out over the lack of preseason preparation for this  year.   This may turn out to be a blessing in disguise for Sooner fans.   I will put this group up against any coaching staff in America at getting their players ready to play on short notice.  Connecting with your players goes a long way in creating quality play on the field.

Today, let’s highlight the coaching staff that Lincoln has put together over the past six years as an assistant and as a Head Coach.   Combine this group with Bill Bedenbaugh, the best offensive line coach in America and Cale Gundy who has become the backbone of this young group and you have one heck of a coaching staff.

DeMarco Murray – 2020 – running backs coach…

  • OU career leader in all-purpose yards – 2014 NFL Offensive Player of the Year Award winner with Arizona Cardinals.
  • DeMarco will be a monster recruiter of running backs over the next few years…
  • Lead recruiter for Camar Wheaton, the top running back in the country. OU leads on Wheaton.

Jamar Cain – 2020 – Outside linebackers and defensive ends coach…

  • Coached defensive backs at Arizona State where the Sun Devil defense improved to 26th from 74th.
  • Lead recruiter for four star prospect Nathan Rawlings-Kibonge

Alex Grinch –  2019 – Defensive Coordinator…

  • As Washington State’s Defensive Coordinator, the Cougar defense improved to 16th in total defense from 99th.
  • The WSU defense improved to 9th in pass defense from 127th

Brian Odom – 2019 – linebackers coach… 

  • As an assistant coach at Missouri, the Tigers defense improve to 54th in total defense from 89th
  • Improved to 22nd in rushing defense from 58th
  • Lead recruiter for projected four star WILL linebackers Danny Stutsman and Shane Whittier.

Roy Manning – 2019 – Cornerbacks Coach…

  • Formerly served as outside linebackers coach at Washington State. Under his leadership, the Cougar defense improved to 16th from 99th in total defense and 9th in pass defense up from 127th in two seasons.
  • Lead recruiter for four star corner back recruit Latrell McCutchin. OU has a 83% chance of winning this recruiting battle.

Shane Beamer – 2018 – Special Teams Coordinator…

  • Last year OU improved to 14th nationally in punt returns from 97th.
  • OU improved to 31st in kick returns up from 98th.
  • OU blocked two punts for touchowns in 2019. Before last year, the Sooners had not blocked a punt for a touchdown since 2002.

Calvin Thibodeaux  – 2016 – Defensive line coach

  • Named one of Rivals’ top recruiters in 2018 and 2019…
  • Recruited the top two juco defensive linemen in the country last year. The development of these players will be huge in measuring OU’s success this season.

Dennis Simmons – 2015 – Associate Head Coach and outside receivers coach…

  • Since Lincoln insisted that Stoops hire him in 2015, Simmons has produced receivers that have created the nation’s top offense. In 2019, OU’s offense ranked #1 in the country in total offense at 559.3 yards per game, with a passing efficiency rate of 69.2 percent and and average of 10.7 yards per pass attempt.
  • Simmons recruited and developed Dede Westbrook, Marquis Brown, and Cee Dee Lamb. This year OU has a commitment from 4 star Cody Jackson, and are in on 4 star receiver Mario Williams (100%, 247sports prediction), 4 star Christian Leary (100%, 247sports prediction), and four star Jalil Farooq.

 

 

 

Play for pay is now legal…

Apparently, the NCAA has grown tired of chasing its tail and has decided to legalize “pay for play.”  On the surface this may appear to be good news for OSU and the other cheaters of the world, but maybe not.  This move may actually turn out to be a good thing for the rest of college basketball.

The good guys assumed that OSU would be in the hoosegow by now for their ”pay for play” scheme that played out in Federal Court.  As of today, it appears that the bad guys will only suffer collateral damage.   OSU assistant coach Lamont Evans fell on his sword and is now cooling his heals in the Leavenworth Hilton.

The NCAA has apparently decided to give OSU and the other schools involved in the sordid affair a pass.  It has to be assumed that the NCAA believed that making sense of this mess would be far too challenging for the mortal man. The boys from Stillwater saw this coming and were able to use their connections with the underworld to come up with one last recruiting class using the old “play for pay” playbook. It worked as OSU just recruited a top five class.  I know it’s lovely in Stillwater this time of year, but really…

We will see where this goes from here, but I suspect that OSU may rue the day when the NCAA legalized “play for pay”.  The Ags had been using their expertise in this area for years to make themselves relevant in college basketball.  Now, the rest of college basketball will be able to do this sort of thing legally.  I suspect that the value of an endorsement deal for a player from a blue blood school like Kentucky, Duke or Kansas will be worth a lot more than that of OSU.

I could be wrong, but I doubt it.

Boomer Sooner…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s football time…in Oklahoma…

Last Friday, OU and OSU announced that on-campus classes would proceed as planned this fall.  Now we can start planning for football season.   OU officials have been looking for a way out of this Coronavirus mess and they have found it.   OU students took them off the hook by making it known loud and clear that they would not tolerate another semester of online classes.

Some colleges and universities can operate just fine with online classes, but not OU.  High school students work their butts off for years just to make the cut for OU admission.  These students compete for these slots in order to be part of the OU experience, an experience that includes Sooner football.

Interim president Joe Harroz realized that another semester of online classes would decimate OU’s enrollment and create a massive budget shortfall which would lead to layoffs across the board.  This financial avalanche would set the university back for years.   Harroz solicited good news and got it.  Now, we can get on with the real issue here, college football.

Now that students are set to return in the fall, conference commissioners can decide when the games will begin.  If we get a break from Covid 19 over the next few months, football practices can resume as scheduled August 1.  If a second round of Covid 19 cases surfaces in late summer, football would then be delayed until next February.  Either way, we’ll have football this school year.

Boomer Sooner…