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…

 

Advertisements

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…

 

Final Four…

With the Sooners taking a sabbatical from this year’s basketball season and with my bracket ripped to shreds, I had to search long and hard for reason to watch this year’s final four.

I found that I could scratch that itch by watching Oregon’s Payton Pritchard in this year’s final four. Yes, I know the five star athlete jilted us last year as he de-committed from OU to choose the other OU in Eugene, but that is life.   In the end, he chose a girl friend over Lon Kruger, which I can live with, especially after we got Trey Young…

Payton’s dad is the ex-Moore High School and OU football player, Terry Pritchard.   Dr. Tamage remembers Terry as the best football physical specimen to ever don a Moore High School football uniform. I remember Terry as the guy that saved an American Legion baseball season.

As a 6’5” 220 pound sophomore this guy was a monster on the mound. With the “Wild Thing” throwing aspirins for fastballs, hitters would duck for cover.  I knew down deep that his real sports were football and basketball, but I also knew that that kind of raw talent does not come along every day in any sport.     As a team we rode Terry Pritchard’s arm to state that year.

While, Terry’s son Payton and his Ducks will not make it to the final two this year, he looks like a chip off the old block.

As teachers and coaches we live vicariously through former students and players or in this case their children. 

This is the upside of being older than dirt.