Seismic cultural shift…

At the beginning of the season, we heard rumors that Spencer Rattler was having trouble fitting through the locker room door given his oversized ego.  Being a team game, his teammates did not respond well to his approach.  Sooner fans thought that possibly the solution to this problem could be Caleb Williams. 

After Caleb rallied the troops against Texas, we all became believers.  Not so fast Kemosabe…apparently, Caleb Williams was born with the same affliction, that of an oversized ego.  Mix in a couple dads grooming their sons for the NFL and we were in trouble. 

We were at fault here as well.  I remember thinking that we could have the best of all worlds.  We would have a Heisman Trophy winner in Spencer Rattler for one year and then have all-world quarterback Caleb Williams for the next two.   I had become a greedy, unrealistic OU fan.  

In the end, the students got their way and Spencer was benched and his OU career was finished. Now Caleb has one foot out the door which means the OU careers of both five-star quarterbacks will be over in the span of two months.   Just as well…we needed a complete makeover in the locker room anyway. 

The word on the street is that the locker room has experienced a seismic cultural shift led by quarterback transfer Dillon Gabriel and quarterback recruit Nick Evers. The team has rallied around these two players and the word “team” is back in vogue. 

Of course, given the stark difference between the personalities of Lincoln Riley and Brent Venables, none of this should come as a major surprise.  Sometimes bad things have to happen in order for good times to take their place. This is one of those times.

Boomer Sooner…

We shall overcome…

We’ve been through a lot here of late. First, we lose Bedlam for only the 19th time in our history. Next, we lose our football coach that we thought was the best thing since sliced bread. Then a few weeks later we lose our Heisman Trophy quarterback and his five-star buddies. Finally, we lose our share of players to the transfer portal. That my friend is a rough month.

Some would say that no football program in the history of the game has been asked to endure this type beatdown and live to tell about it…that would not be the case.  From 1988 until 1998 things were worse for OU football. I won’t rehash the litany of shots to the bow that the program endured during that time, but Sports Illustrated had the OU information director on speed dial in those days. It was the worst of times.

The good news for Sooner fans today is that in ’88 OU couldn’t spell leadership.  The OU president at the time was an OSU grad and the athletic director was Donnie Duncan…enough said.  While today’s issues are not nefarious in nature, they have been just as heart wrenching.  Thankfully, we have had President Joe Harroz and Joe Castiglione to deliver us from these perilous times.  These guys have been on top of this deal from day one.

The NIL (name/image/likeness) era has turned Huck Finn-type players into green back pariahs. These players and their parents can fool the best of us, including me, but the college game will survive NIL.  College football is a team game that will be won by team players.

As Bud once said, “in order for a team to reach its potential, each player must subordinate his personal goals to the goals of the team.”  Brent Venables will find players who want to be here and players who will make us better as a team. 

Brent Venables is a replica of Bud Wilkinson. Five years from now we will look back and see this situation as a blessing in disguise. Lincoln Riley was not up to the SEC wars, and he knew it. Brent Venables is up to the challenge.  With this guy at the helm, we shall overcome, and we’ll be better for it.

Boomer Sooner…

Caleb…

After hearing a recent podcast interview featuring Caleb Williams, I have no doubt that CW will be back next year. This guy’s a class act who wants to see every task through to the end. This time last year, he was preparing to move to Norman and take over the reins at quarterback while enrolling in eleven courses, six in high school and five at OU.

His high school in the D.C. area does not allow students to graduate early regardless of credits earned so he was required to take a full load at Gonzaga H.S.  In order to go through spring drills, he also enrolled in five courses at OU as well. CW could have transferred to a cross town high school that allowed students to graduate early.  This would have reduced his workload in half, but that’s not the Caleb Williams’ way. It probably never occurred to him to take the easy way out.   

Another reason for my faith in Caleb staying at OU is the fact that he recruited a bunch of players from across America to move to Norman with him. I just don’t see him turning his back on those players. This guy is a man of his word, and his teammates love his leadership skills and the way he is wired.

I also love how he handled the Spencer Rattler saga last year.  He could have moaned and groaned about playing second fiddle to Rattler even though he knew he had superior skills, but he refused to do that. He simply worked his butt off and waited his turn. And of course, we all know how that turned out.

Only Oklahoma could recover from a nuclear attack like the one Lincoln Riley leveled on Norman this past year, but none of this seems to have fazed Caleb Williams. Lincoln will surround himself with enough L.A. talent to win a bunch of games at USC in the upcoming years, but he will miss the point. He will never possess the character and intestinal fortitude of Caleb Williams.

The sky will be the limit for the Sooners with Caleb Williams in charge of things on a full time basis next year.  Of course, a big win in the Alamo Bowl with Caleb Williams at quarterback will serve to set all of this in motion.

Boomer Sooner…

The season from hell…

How did we arrive at this lowly state…we started out the 2021 season with serious hopes for a National Championship year and then we got soap poisoning. The summer football magazines misled us into believing that we would beat Iowa State for the Big 12 Championship and play in the CFP.  After all we had the shoe-in for the Heisman at quarterback with next year’s Heisman winner backing him up. 

We teetered on the danger zone meter for most of the year only to get a respite against Texas in the Cotton Bowl.  We kept thinking that things were going to turn around as we were told that we were getting close, but of course that never happened. Then we end up losing two of the last three games including Bedlam and lose our head coach that same weekend. Unreal…

Again, as Bud said, things are never as bad as they appear to be at the time…and this is going to be one of those times. In the end, Sooners fans will rejoice at the new hire/s at OU.  We needed a real head coach, and we needed an offensive coordinator/play caller, and we needed a defensive coordinator. I suspect that all of these issues will be addressed over the next 24 hours with the Brent Venables hire and the filling of his staff.   

We also need a shot of adrenalin as we prepare our team for the 2022 season.  The Alamo Bowl will provide us with just that.  Oregon will be a respectable program that will be without its head coach. We, on the other hand will be coached by a Hall of Famer, Bob Stoops. I can’t wait for Bob Stoops to be drenched in Gatorade after the Alamo Bowl win…

I also suspect that this new staff will replenish the recruiting holes created by Lincoln’s leaving with transfer portal studs anxious to join the Sooners and the SEC. Brent Venables will swing for the fences…this is not his first rodeo…we done good with this hire…

Oh, and one more thing about turning around the season from hell…only a bunch of Aggies could blow a chance at the CFP by squandering a first and goal from the two-yard line with four shots to score. That last play was priceless…I could watch it again and again and again.  Seriously, you can’t make that stuff up….

Boomer Sooner…

The new normal…

As we know college football is changing as we speak. Politicians have changed the game with the new and emboldened transfer portal and the money grabbing NIL.  These moves with more to come are the price college fans will have to pay for staying with the college game. 

Just like we will see players come and go, we will also see head coaches doing the same.  Of course for older OU fans, this is nothing new.   Back in the day Chuck Fairbanks who had restored our football program to respectability in the late 60’s and early 70’s left us for the New England Patriots.  Ironically, he was about the same age as Lincoln Riley at the time.

I had similar feelings of betrayal back then that I had when Lincoln made his announcement.  I had a hard time letting those feelings go.  At the same time, even as good as Fairbanks was, a better coach was waiting in the wings to take his place.  Barry Switzer was hired to take Chuck Fairbanks place and we all know how that turned out…three National Championships. 

I know we are all upset at Lincoln for leaving the way he did, but it’s time to move on.  USC wanted him in the worst way, and they were going to work until they made that happen.  My issue of course is with the recruiting side of this thing; as we know we were all set for the move to the SEC with the top ranked recruiting Class of 2023.   That class will be hit hard by this move, but the right hire can minimize the long-term impact on recruiting by hitting the ground running.  The new coach will still have a great product to sell recruits.  The transfer portal can also help as well.

Here’s another thought about hiring a new head coach…everyone has said that Lincoln needed to hire an offensive coordinator to call plays.   The new guy can do just that.  We can also hire a new guy that create new energy for the program as we move to the SEC.    

Remember what Bud Wilkinson use to say, “things are never as bad as they appear at the time”.

Boomer Sooner

Sooner Magic…

Let’s cut to the chase…we love winners and loathe losers. When we lost to Baylor, it was depression city. No one and I mean no one saw that coming. We knew they were good, but not that good and we never dreamed we would play that poorly. We had anticipated that the off week would allow us to get our players back and that we would unload a can of you know what on the Bears. 

We saw that game as the first of three games that would impress the CFP selection committee, but of course that did not happen.  Caleb Williams looked like the true freshman that he is and not a Heisman Trophy winner and when Spencer Rattler got his chance to shine, he did not.  All of this has created a bad case of angst regarding this year’s Bedlam game.

Now we can expect the OSU coaches to use the same template that the Baylor coaches used to dismantle our offense. If that happens, we could be in real trouble on Saturday. This OSU defense is undeniably good, and their offense is decent enough to give us fits. 

At 10-1, the Ags appear to be pretty good this year, but it is important to point out that a lot of luck has gone into creating their gaudy record.  They played no less than four trap games this season.  In most cases the Cowboy opponent had played their best game of the year the week prior to OSU and were ill prepared for their game against the Cowboys. OSU also played two teams that were going through coaching changes in mid-season.

In spite of this momentum and a roster full of experienced fifth- and sixth-year seniors, I still believe the Sooners have a legitimate chance of derailing the OSU train. Here is my formula for success on Saturday.

  • We need to score first which will hopefully take the liquored-up Aggie fans out of the game.
  • We must find a way to turn that lead into 10 point spread at some point during the course of the game. 
  • Unleash Alex Grinch’s “Speed Defense” on Spencer Sanders in the same manner that Baylor terrorized Caleb Williams in Waco. Spencer Sanders is a different quarterback with some one’s hand in his face.     
  • Create a semblance of a run game that will take the pressure off Caleb Williams…
  • Utilize Caleb Williams’ run/throw options that will open up the Aggie defense.  If Lincoln insists on playing a drop back/pocket quarterback style of offense, he should insert Spencer Rattler into the game who can find his receivers. 
  • Keep the game close going into the second half and fourth quarter.
  • Make sure we have the west wind at our backs in the fourth quarter. Weather forecasts indicate west wind on Saturday. 
  • Pray for Sooner Magic to happen…

Boomer Sooner…

Sooner Magic…

Let’s cut to the chase…we love winners and loathe losers. When we lost to Baylor, it was depression city. No one and I mean no one saw that coming. We knew they were good, but not that good and we never dreamed we would play that poorly. We had anticipated that the off week would allow us to get our players back and that we would unload a can of you know what on the Bears. 

We saw that game as the first of three games that would impress the CFP selection committee, but of course that did not happen.  Caleb Williams looked like the true freshman that he is and not a Heisman Trophy winner and when Spencer Rattler got his chance to shine, he did not.  All of this has created a bad case of angst regarding this year’s Bedlam game.

Now we can expect the OSU coaches to use the same template that the Baylor coaches used to dismantle our offense. If that happens, we could be in real trouble on Saturday. This OSU defense is undeniably good, and their offense is decent enough to give us fits. 

At 10-1, the Ags appear to be pretty good this year, but it is important to point out that a lot of luck has gone into creating their gaudy record.  They played no less than four trap games this season.  In most cases the Cowboy opponent had played their best game of the year the week prior to OSU and were ill prepared for their game against the Cowboys. OSU also played two teams that were going through coaching changes in mid-season.

In spite of this momentum and a roster full of experienced fifth- and sixth-year seniors, I still believe the Sooners have a legitimate chance of derailing the OSU train. Here is my formula for success on Saturday.

  • We need to score first which will hopefully take the liquored-up Aggie fans out of the game.
  • We must find a way to turn that lead into 10 point spread at some point during the course of the game. 
  • Unleash Alex Grinch’s “Speed Defense” on Spencer Sanders in the same manner that Baylor terrorized Caleb Williams in Waco. Spencer Sanders is a different quarterback with some one’s hand in his face.     
  • Create a semblance of a run game that will take the pressure off Caleb Williams…
  • Utilize Caleb Williams’ run/throw options that will open up the Aggie defense.  If Lincoln insists on playing a drop back/pocket style offense, he should insert Spencer Rattler into the game.
  • Keep the game close going into the second half and fourth quarter.
  • Make sure we have the west wind at our backs in the second half.
  • Pray for Sooner Magic to happen…

Boomer Sooner…

Moving on…

We knew it was coming, but like that wreck along the highway, we just had to look. Speaking of wrecks, that would be a perfect term for what happened on Saturday.  We kept believing that Sooner Magic was going to happen, but it never did.

I know Sooner fans are blaming the coaching staff, the officials and the whacko Waco environment, but in reality, we have only ourselves to blame.  We had played one complete game all year and that game was against a weak Texas Tech team; we had no reason to believe that the lights were going to come on overnight. We simply believed because we wanted to believe. 

Granted the defense gave up too many yards and too many big plays but given the fact that they were on the field most the day, they played pretty well. They were on the field way too much because we have no running game. Running games are boring, but running games are essential for a decent passing game.  Proficient offenses just don’t happen without a running game. We have one running back while the rest of the world has a stable full of those guys.    

Both quarterbacks were off, but in reality, Spencer Rattler did throw one pass that could have been a game changer if our receiver had not gotten mugged trying to make the catch. As for Caleb Williams, asking a true freshman to be successful in that kind of hostile environment was ludicrous. Of course, asking anyone to play quarterback when nine out of ten passes were being dropped by the receivers would have been a stretch for even John Elway.   In any case, it’s time to move on. 

This team is still pretty good, just not as good as we had hoped. The bad news is that our worst nightmare is about to be realized. At this point I don’t want to think about the rest of the season with this team, but we have no choice. That choice includes what apparently will be two Bedlams this year.  We’re in a bind and T. Boone is eating this stuff up…   

Oh, well now that a National Championship is out of the 2021 picture, we can settle back and dream about what may happen in the future with SEC-type recruits. I understand fully the demands of playing in the SEC, but at least we will have players that can go into battle for us. If we can keep Joe Castiglione from negotiating future Bedlams games for the Sooners everything will be just fine.  

Boomer Sooner….

Confidence factor…

This may the craziest football season ever. We started out the season believing that 2021 would be the year that we broke through the National Championship barrier. Even after the Tulane and Nebraska games we still believed…

We also saw an OSU team that was simply not very good…Sam Mayes, a former OSU player and sports talk show guy said as much after the Tulsa game. We also assumed that at the end of the day, it would be us and Texas in the Big 12 Championship game. Then it happened, OSU beats Texas, which I said then was a bad thing, and OSU has not looked back sense.

Now, we have a mess on our hands. OU is 9-0 and getting no respect due in part to the Kansas debacle. OSU is 8-1 and likely to be 10-1 going into Bedlam. We entered the season hoping we would hear the last of this Bedlam crap sooner rather than later and now it appears that we will have two Bedlams in one year.

I have even heard some people go as far as to say that at least OSU will have to beat us twice this year. I don’t know about you, but that does not make me feel any better. From a national perspective, we will have nothing to play for in Arlington if they beat us in Stillwater.  

Okay, here’s the deal…I agree that we simply must get wins against Baylor and Iowa State the next two weeks, but I think we need more. I believe we need to make a statement against those two teams in order to build our confidence level going into the first Bedlam game.

A dose of Sooner Magic here at the end might come in handy. 

Boomer Sooner… 

Ramblings…

  • Oklahoma has now won 17 games in a row which is the longest winning streak in the country.  It is also longer than more than 95% of America’s football teams will ever have during their football histories…Pretty impressive, but not nearly as impressive as this next tidbit of information… 

The OU seventeen-game win streak is only the seventh longest winning streak in OU football history.  This would be a good piece of information to drop on your Aggie water cooler crowd.  

  • Forget the Kansas game, no one in Norman gave a rip and we righted the ship against Texas Tech.  The bad news is that the selection committee will likely hold the Kansas game against us on Tuesday night.  That’s okay, hammer our last three opponents and we can make up for lost time. 
  • Baylor in Waco will be a tough game, particularly at night, but then again, we own Baylor, so I feel pretty good about that game.  Getting our walking wounded players back on defense should help. 

Here comes the hard part…we will have to root for OSU this next week against West Virginia.  I can’t make myself do that, but I assume that the Gags will grease out another win that will help our cause anyway.   Look for Game Day or the Fox Sports team to be in Stillwater on November 27.  

  • This brings me to the main course…the Big 12 in its infinite wisdom, or lack thereof has set up a two-game set of games between OU and OSU at the end of this year.   The first will be played in Stillwater and the second, the following week will be played in Arlington.   That’s right…two Bedlam weeks in a row…What a bunch of idiots…no wonder we’re leaving for the SEC. 

I do have a suggestion; I think we should take a page from baseball and turn those games into a day-night doubleheader. We’ll play both games at Jerry World with one game at 11:00 and a night cap at 7:30. That would give us a couple Bedlam beat downs in one day.  I can live with that. 

  • One last thing…the OU softball team was the highlight of Saturday’s game as the team was honored during one of the fifteen-minute t.v. timeouts.   It looks like Patty Gasso’s Stadium will finally happen…I know, we will have to name the stadium after the Love family, but we can still name it Patty Gasso Field when the time is right. 

Boomer Sooner…