Spring football…

OU fans love the spring game as it serves as a lifeline between the past season and the next.  If coronavirus cases keep spiraling out of control, we may have 12 spring games this season. 

Just two months ago, we were all giddy as the coronavirus pandemic appeared to be leveling off.  Students were set to return to campus in the fall and everything was opening up again.  Then all hell breaks loose with the virus.   To say that this thing is contagious is an understatement. 

Covid 19 reminds me of those sex talks we use to give our students.  You know the one where we insisted that their bad choice on a weekend “made in the heat of the moment” could be multiplied by everyone else in the high school making bad choices.  That talk masterfully done had a shelf life of about 24 hours tops. 

Here’s the problem…those high school students are now adults of all ages.  They didn’t listen to us then and they won’t listen to anyone today.   Wearing protective gear didn’t happen then and it won’t happen now.    As a result, I don’t expect that this thing will turn around anytime soon.  This spells really bad timing for the NCAA and the Conference Commissioners who must make a decision about the upcoming season within a couple weeks.      

At this point, we should pray for a miracle that will allow us to play in August while being open to other possibilities.  The most likely option will be for the NCAA to move the 2020 football season to the spring of 2021.   While on the surface this may sound simply unacceptable, it could just happen and if it does, I have some positives to consider…

  • Spring football is better than no football at all.  
  • Spring football would allow all season ticket holders to attend every game.   
  • Full stadiums in the spring will allow non-revenue sports to avoid budget cuts and/or closures. 
  • Football fans will be granted two football seasons in one calendar year. 
  • Average Oklahoma temperatures in February are actually better than temps in November and December.
  • And, I saved the best for last…

Football programs like OSU and Texas who have taken body blows due to their handling of the Black Lives Matter issue may lose star players to the NFL draft next spring.  OU players will stick around to play for another National Championship…

Something to think about…

LincUp21…

The dog days of summer are even worse than normal this year…who knows when the NCAA will make a decision on the upcoming football season.  On the upside, I don’t remember a better recruiting summer ever.   While everyone else was making excuses about the coronvirus’ impact on recruiting, Lincoln was busy making chicken salad out of chicken poop.  

While official on-sites visits have been outlawed by the NCAA,  Lincoln has been blowing recruits away with virtual visits that from all accounts may be better than the real thing.  While other coaching staffs have been stumbling aorund in the dark during these times, Lincoln’s staff has been playing home run derby.  

As of today, the Sooners have yet to break the top 25 according to any recruiting service, but that will change in a big way, any day now.   Lincoln is on the verge of putting together a monster recruiting class.   As a matter of fact that change will become evident as soon as this next weekend. 

Caleb Williams, the number one dual threat quarterback in the country and a top five pick overall will make his intentions known on July 4. Keon Coleman, a four star wide receiver that the Sooners want in the worst way will make his intentions known that same day. 

This is what makes OU football special.  OU is loading up with the cream of the crop talent from the east coast who never imagined crossing the Mississippi for their college careers.  They are now relocating to the wild wild west in record numbers. 

If things go as planned, the Sooners are in line to get commitments from the top quarterback, the top running back and the top wide receiver in the country in short order.   Not since the Barry Switzer days has OU recruited at this level.   

One last thing…what you have to love about this recruiting class is the level of talent headed to Norman on both sides of the football.   If that fact doesn’t put a spring in your step, you need to check your pulse.    

Boomer Sooner…

Prospective five-star recruits…

  • Caleb Williams…#3 – Dual QB – listed as five-star recruit by 247sports…July 4 announcement date…
  • Camar Wheaton…#7 – RB – listed as five-star recruit by 247sports
  • Tristin Leigh…#11 – OT – listed ad five-star recruit by  247sports…CW will have impact on this possible commitment.  
  • Mario Williams…#12 – WR – listed as five-star recruit by Rivals100…committed…

Prospective four-star recruits…

  • Dallas Turner…#44 – WDE – July 1 announcement date – this one may be a stretch here, but we’re on a roll.
  • Bryce Foster…#65 – OT
  • Cody Jackson…#96 – WR – committed
  • Clayton Smith…#98 – SDE – committed
  • Marcus Burris…#102 – SDE
  • Kelvin Gilliam…#108 – WDE
  • Keon Coleman…#116 – WR – July 4 anouncement date…
  • Latrell McCutchin…# 127 – CB
  • Jalil Farooq…#133 – WR
  • Kendal Daniels…#143 – S
  • Ethan Downs…#161 – WDE – committed
  • Prophet Brown…#197 – RB
  • Tommi Hill…#217 – Athlete
  • Nathan Rawlins-Kibonge…#315 – SDE – committed
  • David Abira…#335 – SDE

I’m 50 and I’m a buffoon…

I am borrowing this line from college football expert Paul Finebaum, but it fits Mike Gundy perfectly.   Gundy burst onto the national scene a few years back with his I’m forty and I’m a man rant.  That speech created nationwide attention for the mullet man.  Finebaum’s phrase serves as book ends for Gundy’s before and after buffoonery.  

College kids, especially the ones that OSU recruits are easily enamored by middle school behavior on the part of their head coach.  A few years back Gundy grew a mullet so he could relate to his players.  Give me a break…cut your damn hair.   Next, he developed a penchant for locker room dances after wins.  A Michael Jackson he ain’t, but OSU fans ate it up. 

Next he realizes that he was dealing with fans with the IQ of a house plant, so he scams them into believing that he was leaving Stillwater for Tennessee.   This worked not just once, but twice.  Give me another break…the guy can’t locate Tennessee on a map, much less apply for a job there. 

OSU fans fearing that they might lose their Joe Exotic to Rocky Top insisted that the administration put Gundy on a lifetime $5 million per year contract.   That’s right this guy makes more money than the rest of Paine County comnbined.  Only at OSU…

This has to be the best part.   Gundy wears a racist t-shirt in the midst of the Black Lives Matter movement.  Heisman Trophy candidate Chuba Hubbard calls Gundy out and Gundy is forced to do some fancy footwork to make everything better.   The OSU staff produces a video where  Gundy is seen having an epihany on the issue of race relations.    Over night Gundy becomes a Civil Rights Advocate.  I was born at night, but not last night…basically, Gundy now believes that Black Lives do matter as long as they can help him win football games.

With all of this swirling around, recent revelations by former players and opponents that Gundy commonly used the N-word during  his playing days has garnered less than a blip on the radar screen.  That may be the saddest part in all of this… 

Gundy reminds me of Alabama’s Paul ”Bear” Bryant.  The “Bear” became a stauch believer in racial equality the day after his slow white guys were pummeled by USC in Tuscaloosa.  It was 1970 and the “Bear” began recruiting black football players the very next day.   Gundy used Bear’s m.o. when Chuba became upset.  Gundy immediately became a “justice for all” kind of guy as he walked Chuba off the ledge and back into the OK Corral.    

Okay, I know that Mike Gundy and OSU fans will never change.   After all beating OU is all that matters to those guys.   I can however take solace in the fact that they have the mullet man and we have Lincoln Riley…that’s right, I feel better already. 

Boomer Sooner…

Patty…

Football will always be the king of the hill because football is America’s game and because football pays the bills.   As a result, football gets 85 scholarships.  Softball pales in comparison with its 12 scholarships.  In Patty Gasso’s case, 12 is more than enough.     

This year the OU softball team will have a roster of 25 players not counting walk-ons and transfers.  Each of the 25 roster players and most of the walkons will be on a full ride scholarhip.  To make this work, Patty begins her recruitment process at the 7th grade level.  Players good enough to play for Patty must also sell out to her academic regimen program.      

7th grade recruits are encouraged to enroll in curriculum-based Honors and pre-AP courses.  This move prepares Patty’s prospects for Advanced Placement (AP) and/or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses at the high school level.  Then, as they say, the rest is history. 

These courses prepare students for ACT/and or SAT exams.  High scores on these tests can provide players with partial scholarships.   Exceptional scores on the PSAT can provide full ride National Merit Scholarships.  Last, but not least AP courses prepare students for Advanced Placement exams that will allow students to test out of multiple semesters of college course work. 

When you combine all of this with the 12 scholarships allowed by the NCAA, you have a total schlorship count that can easily top 30.   These numbers allow Patty to recruit the best players in America year in and year out.  Every recruit comes to OU believing that they will have a full ride scholarship for four years.  This a done deal with Patty’s plan. 

Here’s the hangup at many colleges…ten year plans require a coaching staff that is assured of being around for ten years to fulfill their promises.  Joe has done his part by upping Patty’s salary each year.  She is now making in excess of $1million dollars a year.  This may sound like chicken feed compared to Lincoln Riley’s salary, but Patty’s salary is the highest in the country for softball coaches.   

Here’s even better news…following her 4th National Championship in 2017, Patty signed a contract extension for seven years.  More importantly, the Board of Regents also guaranteed Patty a $200,000 per year stay bonus.   By 2024 Patty’s salary will top $1.8 million a year. 

OU fans, we are blessed… 

Boomer Sooner…

OU softball recruiting…

Next spring OU softball team will be something of a mystery.  No one will know how good we’re going to be until we know about pitcher Giselle Juarez recovery from injury.  If “G” is back or if Patty can convince another pitcher to transfer to Norman, we’ll be okay.  If not, OU fans will likely have to wait a year for a legitimate run at a 5th National Championship in softball.  Regardless, help is on the way…

Starting with this year’s junior class, Patty will have recruited the top ranked player in the country four years in a row.   She will also have recruited a top ten class in each of those four years.  She will also have commitments from what appears to be the top ranked class in the country for next year.    

In the 2021-22 class Patty Gasso has not only secured the commitment from the top player and pitcher in America in Jordyn Bahl, Patty has also recruited five of the top 12 players from that year’s recruiting class.   In 2021 all four of these star studded groups will be on the field at the same time.   Obviously, that team will have a legitimate run at a National Championship.  

With OU’s Marita Hynes Stadium already sold out for years to come, OU fans had better scarf up College World Series tickets now for spring 2022.  Even with Hall of Fame Stadium doubling its seating capacity, tickets will be hard to come by in those days.   

Here are recruiting numbers for years beginning in 2018-19 and running through 2021-22. 

Class of 2021-22 – potentially # 1 nationally…

# 1…Jordyn Bahl – RHP – Nebraska

# 3…Sophia Nugent – Catcher – California

# 5…Quincee Lillo – 2B-OF – California

# 7…Turiya Coleman – Catcher – Texas

# 12..Alexx Waitman – MIF – Oklahoma

# 51..Emma Guthrie – RHP/OF – Texas

Class of 2020/21 – ranked #5 nationally…

# 1….Jayda Coleman – SS – Texas

# 4….Nicole May – P – California

# 16..Tiare Jennings – SS – California

# 79..Paige Knight – SS – Oklahoma

Class of 2019-20 – ranked # 5 nationally…

# 1…..Kinzie Hansen – Catcher – California

# 31…Macy McAdoo – RHP – Oklahoma

# 49…Olivia Rains  – HP – Oklahoma

# 50…Rylie Boone – OF – Oklahoma

# 52…Alycia Flores – OF – California

# 59…Raylee Pogue – C – Texas

# 61…Alanna Nelson-Thiede – LHP – California

Class of 2018-19 – ranked in the top ten nationally…

# 1….Brooke Vestal – California

# 4….Grace Lyons     – Arizona

# 10..Grace Green – California

# 52..Audrie McValley – Oklahoma

Boomer Sooner…

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.

 

.

 

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.