Pass me the football please…

Yes I know we are still stuck with Mike Stoops and yes; we must learn to play without Baker Mayfield, the greatest baller of all time.   At the same time, I really like Lincoln Riley and the direction of this team.   Unlike most of us, Lincoln spent little time stewing over the Rose Bowl loss.   He knew he had work to do.   Lincoln knew that OU had three priorities for returning OU to perennial national championship status. Improve the play of the secondary, special teams and recruit SEC-type athletes.

Being far wiser than his 33 years would suggest, Lincoln avoided making a classic Schnellenberger mistake. With Bob Stoops still hanging around Norman, firing Mike Stoops would have been a huge mistake. He did the next best thing…he promoted Kerry Cooks to play bigger role on defense and sent Cooks out to recruit a difference-make for a much-aligned defense.

Brendan Ridley-Hiles was recruited during the late signing period and this guy was a huge get for the Sooners. OU has not had a lock-down corner for years so getting Ridley-Hiles was big time.   Bookie as he is known was recruited out of IMG Academy, the Florida high school football factory.   With or without Mike Stoops, our defense will be much better over the next few years due to guys like this.

Next, Lincoln went out and hired a co-offensive coordinator and a special teams guru in the same package. Given today’s coaching staff size restraints, this was a brilliant move.   Again, Lincoln is avoiding mistakes made by more seasoned coaches.   Play callers can make excellent head coaches, but only when they share the offensive load with someone they trust.

Hiring Shane Beamer to help with the offense and with special teams was remarkable move to say the least.   In case this name sounds familiar, Shane Beamer is the son of Frank Beamer, the former Va. Tech Head Coach. For years Vegas odds-makers have given the Hokies an extra 10 points per game because of the play of Frank Beamer’s special teams.   Shane Beamer is a chip off the Frank Beamer block. This guy will be the difference maker that OU has badly needed in this critical area for years.

There you have it…in the last three months OU football has gotten better in each of the three phases of the game…offense, defense and special teams.   After living through the Trae Young/OU basketball trainwreck, football can’t get here fast enough. Pass me the football please…

Boomer Sooner…

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Oklahoma wrestling…

In typical Aggie fashion, OSU named their basketball arena for a wrestling coach.   Then again, this is the same bunch that invented the term mythical National Championship. Even before they named themselves the 1945 mythical football national champions, they did the same thing in wrestling.

Since the days of Daniel Boone and Abe Lincoln, guys had been wrestling each other. Oklahoma A&M’s Ed Gallagher decided to turn this event into a sport. It was 1921 and A&M began beating up on high school teams in dual wrestling matches. The Ags won every match for 10 years and every wrestling National Championship for 20. That’s right, this is where all those national championships the Ags love to brag about come from.

After the war, other colleges, including OU and the best college wrestler of all time Danny Hodge got into the mix.   As a result Oklahoma became a hotbed for high school wrestling. Both OU and OSU won authentic National Championships in those days.

It was at the tail end of this era that the Bedlam term was created. OU’s Dr. Death (Steve Williams) had worked the Aggies into such a frenzy that OSU officials had to call out the Stillwater fire brigade to hose down the crowd.

In the 70’s girls decided they preferred watching guys run up and down the court while slam-dunking basketballs to guys rolling around on a mat grabbing each other crotches. High school wrestling in Oklahoma began to wane. When the Big 12 disbanded and Missouri and Nebraska left the conference the sport died on the vine.

Today, the Big 12 is made up of an OU program that is on life support, an OSU program in desperate need of a rival and Iowa State that is desperate of a men’s sport.  In standard idiotic style, Big 12 officials created a makeshift conference made up these three teams, North and South Dakota State, Northern Colorado and Utah Valley.

That’s right Oklahoma wrestling has gone from Bedlam to riveting matches against Utah Valley. Following suit…at this year’s national tournament, the once proud Cowboys finished 13th while the Sooners collected a measly one point to finish at #56.

Can anyone say…uncle…it is time to put this sport out of its misery.

 

 

Reflections…

While most would to prefer to burn the tape of this year’s basketball season, I suggest that we take another look…OU will never be a Kansas, Kentucky or Duke that can sign “one and done” players on a regular basis. Just as importantly OU is not going to interview for the FBIs Most Wanted List.   These facts create a conundrum of sorts for OU fans.  We want to win, but getting enough NBA-type players through the “one and done” process or by cheating is not in our future.

We are stuck with being a good, not great basketball program coached by a guy who will always do things the right way.   Kansas will get the one and doners while OSU will gets its players the old fashioned…by cheating.

On Thursday night in Pittsburgh, Trae Young and the OU basketball team will both be one and done. The good news is that Trae will make millions and possibly give some of that money back to OU for us to build a real basketball arena.  The other good news is that the Sooners will play one more game in the tournament than OSU.

I think that most of us believed that OU’s season would be over following that embarrassing loss to OSU in Kansas City. I believe that for OU to be playing one more game is a big deal.   Being the naïve sort of guy that I am, I believe the selection committee may have asserted itself by rewarding Lon Kruger the extra game instead of OSU.

The committee is made up a bunch of coaches who care about the game and who want it preserved for the next generation to enjoy.   These guys hate cheaters as much as I do and when given a choice between OU and OSU last Sunday, they chose the good guys.

Some may say, why does it matter with the Sooners likely headed back to Norman Thursday night. It matters because, it has to start somewhere and this may be a good place to start.  Good should always overcome evil.

This is my story and I’m sticking with…

Boomer Sooner…

Sherry’s new found BFF…

I had a tough time creating a title for this blog.   I could gone with a favorite Yogi Berra quote of “it’s deja vu all over again” but that would not work as we have seen this OU men’s team lay an egg time and time again this year…and for that matter we saw Lon’s boys meltdown at this same time last year.

I could have also gone with “it ain’t over ‘til it’s over”, after all the Sooners on many occasions have tempted us to the bitter end before bailing out the opponent with a barrage of three pointers that took out only cheerleaders.   Seriously, have you ever seen so many three-point shots miss iron?

Of course that standard “the enemy of great is good” phrase that has enveloped both the men’s and women’s teams would be a good title, but that would be way too easy. Instead I decided to go with “Sherry’s new found BFF”.

As you know I am an equal opportunity blogger…last time I hit Sherry pretty hard…this week it’s Lon’s turn. As everyone knows Trae Young is going to make a ton of money next year, regardless of how the Sooners finish.   He will become a special talent at the next level; in the meantime he has become the 2nd coming of a Mike Stoops defense…hard to watch.

While I hate this “one and done” deal, one can’t blame him for leaving, particularly in light of what college coaches make these days. By my math Lon Kruger is hauling down around $125,000 for every win this year. Of course you can double that amount for last season.   Granted paid fans are picking some of his salary, but football donors are picking up most of the tab. Trae has to do what Trae has to do…

The OU problem was here before Trae and it will be here after he is gone. For OU administrators, as long as Sherry and Lon can keep OU off the NCAA “most wanted list” and keep our newly found top 100 USNewsandWorldReport academic ranking in tact, Sherry and Lon will have lifetime contracts. I just wish OU officials could figure out a way to win a few more basketball games at the same time. By my count over a dozen universities ranked ahead of OU on the US News list have figured out a way to do both.

As for me I am not planning on spending my twilight years watching mediocre OU basketball, men’s or women’s. If that had been my course of action back in the day, I would have stayed on the farm and become an Aggie.

Boomer Sooner…

 

 

 

Joe’s in a pickle…

The OU women’s basketball program reminds me of days gone by. Back in the day, OU fans were torn by a similar predicament with John Blake.  We knew that he was not the answer, but we also knew that getting rid of him could be ugly.

OU fans had a real dilemma at the end of the 1998 season. The Sooners had won three (3) and four (4) games respectively in the previous two seasons and were looking at another four-win season in ‘98.  There we were rooting for our beloved Sooners to beat Texas Tech in the season finale, while realizing that losing this meaningless game would mean a four-win season that would make it easier for OU officials to do what had to be done.

As the OU football gods would have it, Sooner fans got the best of both worlds…we beat Texas Tech and the next day, Blake was still fired. Those were tough times.  Same goes today for OU fans and Sherry Coale.  OU fans owe Sherry a lot for bringing the women’s basketball program back from the dead some twenty-five years ago.  We also owe her for winning a ton of games over the years.

We also know that Sherry’s best days are behind her. Players that use to gloss over Sherry’s coaching skills, have stopped showing up in Norman.

Just like with John Blake back in the day, OU fans find themselves torn. We want to win, but we realize that the enemy of great is good.   We understand that as long as the women’s program is just good enough, Sherry will continue to hum along on the road to mediocrity.

Sherry’s Lady Sooners beat 24th ranked West Virginia yesterday to make my point.  Get swept by Texas and OSU on a yearly basis and then beat a bunch of Lady Mountaineers (that sounds scary, huh) to put off the inevitable.

I don’t know about you, but every time the cost of an OU football ticket goes up, I think of the red tape being absorbed by Sherry’s program. From her $700,000 yearly salary, to the charter flights to Morgantown and Ames, to the empty seats at the LNC.  Yes, I know that softball doesn’t turn a profit either, but at least we are getting some bang for our football buck with Patti Gasso.

Okay, here’s the deal…firing a men’s coach is one thing, firing Sherry will be something else. Making matters worse is Joe’s dilemma of how to arrange for Sherry to bow out gracefully.

Some have suggested that she be kicked upstairs to an Assistant A.D. position. Here’s the problem with that idea.  This would mean that Patti Gasso, the latest, greatest OU rock star would be working for Sherry.

Call me crazy, but for some reason…I just don’t think that this arrangement would work.

Regardless, I believe Joe Castiglione is the best Athletic Director in America. He also gets paid to be the best A.D. in America.  He tends to think outside the box, so hopefully he is developing a plan as we speak…

We can only hope…

Boomer Sooner…

Rushing the Court…

The bad news is that OU lost on Saturday, the good news is that we must be better than I thought. The scene after the game resembled a fan base that had just beaten the Big 12 Champion. I hope this still happens, but I would not hold my breath.

OU is a good team, but not a great team…to lose by two points on the road, particularly after trailing by double digits at half was pretty remarkable.

Of course as all of us know, OSU fans rush the court/field any time they beat the Sooners in any sport. This is what little brothers do.

Back in the day OU fans felt compelled to do the same thing.   The last mosh pit I can remember was back in 1997 when the fans of a John Blake OU team found themselves desperate for a win. The Sooners rallied and kicked a field goal to beat Syracuse at the gun causing an ecstatic student section to rush the field.

Right on cue, this was the highlight of a 4-8 season…in retrospect the mosh pit scene by Sooner fans made us look silly. Since those days, OU fans have come to expect wins, not crave them. Acting like we have been there before has become OU’s mantra.

Kansas does the same in basketball. When was the last time you saw KU fans who are arguably the best fans in basketball rush the court after a close win. Like OU in all sports and Kansas in basketball, KU fans expect to win and are not going to embarrass themselves by giving the opposition too much credit.

Finally, this OU team is vastly improved over last year and we need to embrace this thought.  Trae Young is a heck of a player, but now that Bob Huggins has created the template for shutting down his passing lanes, this team may have peaked.  OU should continue to improve next year with our without Trae Young.

As for the Cowboys, their day of NCAA reckoning is coming. The pipeline that has allowed high priced agents and OSU coaches to illegally place NBA-type in Stillwater is about to dry up.

As for the Cowpatty fans and rushing the court…let them have their fun. After all what else is there to do in Stillwater. I have been to Stillwater tons of times over the years and the best part of every trip was the ride out of town.

Boomer Sooner…

 

 

Road to Recovery…

Just like an alcoholic, I drank an excessive amount of OU Kool-aide once again and now I’m suffering from another OU football hangover.

For some reason I thought that Mike Stoops might develop a clue sometime during my lifetime. This was my first mistake.   Then, I assumed that this staff like every other coaching staff in America would have someone assigned to coach special teams.  Wrong again…

With both hands tied behind our backs, I should have seen this train-wreck coming. After all, I should have remembered that this is the same OU team that barely got out of Dallas and Stillwater with wins and lost at home to a weak Iowa State team. Baker, particularly a sick Baker can only do so much.

Then again, like all OU fans, I really wanted to believe in the worst way that we had turned the corner.

This would have been the time for me to remember that OU made its bed three years ago by deciding to stay in the Big 12. Recruiting that year took a nosedive as every 5-star recruit in Texas headed for the SEC.

I know OU fans get tired of hearing this, but the proof is in the recruiting pudding.

This OU team had one (1) five star player on the field in the Rose Bowl while Georgia had ten (10). Overcoming Mike Stoops with this kind of talent discrepancy is not going to happen.

However, there may be a light at end of the tunnel as OU got a commitment from five star defensive back this past Saturday…this guy will fit in nicely with the other five-star player (Caleb Kelly) currently on the OU roster. May not seem like much, but at least it’s a start.

Hopefully, history will repeat itself as well as OU fans can hope for more good news down the road.   The last time OU football suffered a loss like this one was the Bob Stoops/OSU fiasco of three years ago. That was when donors pressured Bob to get rid of Josh Heupel.

I have not seen Mike Stoops since the Rose Bowl game so we can only hope that he was left on the tarmac at LAX.   The same goes for our specials teams guru…Maybe these two idiot-sticks can take their Abbot and Costello Act on the road.

Okay, Lincoln here we go…these are your three steps you must take to ensure that OU can compete with the SEC

…Fire Mike Stoops.

…Make someone on this staff accountable for special teams (maybe you can give Ruffin McNeil something to do).

…Recruit SEC-type players.

If this does not happen, we must hope that football gods will spare us another Final Four/SEC matchup next year.   Give me a Cotton Bowl game against a slow-footed Big Ten team any day. Then, we can end the season on a positive note before going into the dreaded offseason.

Boomer Sooner…