The Caleb Williams’ decision is still on hold a month after he left us at the altar. Speaking of CW, he looks like a really mixed-up kid. It’s been over a month and the guy still can’t make up his mind about his college future.
For the record, the USC enrollment deadline passed this past Friday so who knows at this point. Some people are insisting that his final landing spot will be Wisconsin, seriously…Wisconsin. Is it possible that Carl misled his son into believing that he could broker a multi-million-dollar NIL deal with any college team in America and that some colleges are actually backing off that suggestion.
As we move on…we know that Porter Moser will eventually fill the bill as OU’s men’s coach, but this may not be that year. His team plays excellent defense but are devoid of difference makers on offense. With the Big 12 being exposed on Saturday, making the tournament took a hit. I would suggest that simply making the tournament in his first year would be a positive step forward for the program.
As for softball, the Sooners are preseason picks to win it all again and with this lineup and the home field advantage in June anything less than that will be a major disappointment.
That leaves us with Jennie Baranczyk’s bunch of overachievers. The Sooner women knocked off Texas on Saturday after putting away Baylor and OSU earlier in the season. The OSU win against the Lady Ags was a 30-point beatdown. As we know dominating Bedlam gives softball and basketball dominion over in-state players so that kind of authoritative win is a big deal.
Coach B. was a great hire, and she not only has her players playing at a top level, she also has her fans showing up and making some noise. It’s amazing how OU officials can configure LNC seating to create a home court advantage for the women, but not the men. I know winning helps but putting fans at courtside helps as well.
Sorry, I digress…the bottom line is that we have a women’s basketball team that’s playing lights out…
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.
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.