Saturday, November 29, 2014

Tell Me, Who Are You?

I woke up in a Soho doorway
The policeman knew my name
He said, "You can go sleep at home tonight
If you can get up and walk away"
I staggered back to the underground
The breeze blew back my hair
I remembered throwing punches around and
preachin' from my chair

Well, who are you?
Who are you
Who, who, who, who?
I really wanna know
Who are you
Who, who, who, who
Tell me, who are you?
Who are you
Who, who, who, who?
'Cause I really wanna know

The most disappointing season in Bob Stoops 16 years as head coach of the University of Oklahoma comes to a whimpering stop next Saturday.

And, it's fitting the season of futility ends against a Bedlam opponent that has shown no teeth this year and has been close but no cigar in several years past against the Sooners.

No championship this year for the coach who continually says he coaches to win championships.

In fact, there has been only one championship for Stoops and his Sooners the past five years. That's not the intended meaning of the oft-repeated school slogan "There's Only One Oklahoma!"

A closer analogy is the Big 12's dual-meaning "One True Champion!" moniker that repeatedly aired during Big 12 games this year. Since 2010, the Big 12 has had five different champions:

Oklahoma State.
Kansas State.*
TCU/Baylor/Kansas State (TBD)

*No, we're not claiming a co-championship in 2012 with Kansas State because we lost the head-to-head in Norman.

So, the five year Big 12 conference record for Bob Stoops is: 32-11, 74%.

Decent numbers but not by Oklahoma standards. And therein lies the rub.

Bob Stoops has slipped the past five years.

Art Briles, Gary Patterson and Bill Snyder have caught up and passed his Sooners.

Gone is the 39-game home winning streak. Up in flames to a bad Texas Tech team in 2011. Gone is the stranglehold he had on Big 12 Championships his first 10 years. Gone as in winning the recruiting wars in Texas.

And what is worse yet for Sooner fans, gone is his Big Game Bob advantage in key games. Just ask any TCU, Baylor or Kansas State fan about how good Oklahoma used to be...


No, just pragmatism.

A closer look reveals why Oklahoma football has slipped.

PLOT STEALER: It all points back to the head coach who has lost his identity!


Bob Stoops is loyal to a fault. Perhaps too loyal.

He brought his brother back from Arizona in 2012 after he was run out of the desert in hopes of resurrecting the defensive mojo of the early 2000's.

The results: 0 Big 12 Championships. The worst defensive showing in school history in 2012 in West Virginia. Two back-to-back beat-downs by Baylor. That's right. Baylor. The team his brother was
brought back to beat!

After his corner who had a broken thumb and couldn't tackle continually played soft against a lethal pitch-and-catch Baylor offense opening the second half, Mike Stoops even had the audacity to say this post-game:

"There's been some separation in the programs."

Ya think? And it's not just on the field.

And what is worse, Mike Stoops has become a defensive sideline, side-show with his former Arizona assistant Tim Kish. The Stoops defense has not only been destroyed on the field but mocked by television announcers live on network television and chided by the fans in the stadium.

It's not just the win loss record. It's the way the record is being accomplished.

Embarrassing total breakdowns in coverage which result in angry outbursts at players.
"John Blake Bad" sloppy time management.
Inexcusable substitution penalties.
And, one statistic that any true Sooner fan will get: Oklahoma was once tied this season with Kansas and Iowa State for defensive time outs with 12! That my friends is inexcusable.

And those examples are just on the defensive side of the ball! A Stoops area of expertise in past years.

There is only one way to describe Mike Stoops and his defensive scheme: epic failure.

And that falls back directly into the lap of the person who sent the Sooner Schooner to Raising Arizona for him three years ago.

Bob Stoops has lost his defensive identity.

He made his chops on press-man coverage. Dana Holgorsen, a longtime Stoops brothers nemesis, once called it "cat" coverage.

You know. "You got that cat, I got that cat."

It was vintage Bob Stoops defense.

I'll put my best man on your best receiver.

Lock them down.

And force you to beat us one on one.

That philosophy went up in flames for the second year in a row in Norman on November 8 and is the Rosetta Stone of everything that is wrong in Stoops Land.

Baylor marched right down the field untouched for two opening second half touchdown drives.

Sooner corners played 8-10 yards off the ball every snap.

No adjustments from Mike Stoops.

Just a lot of sideline yelling at broken thumb corner Julian Wilson from the brothers Stoops.

National television cameras just happened to catch the exchanges.

A fiery Wilson was unapologetic and unwavering in his response.

From the sounds of the boos ringing down from the soon to be half-full crowd in the stands surrounding Owen Field, most of the fans took Wilson's side of the debate.

A coach who has lost his identity.

A brother who is trying to find his.

Somewhere in Waco and Austin and Fort Worth and Manhattan, smiles are beaming from ear to ear.

Josh Heupel

On the offensive side, Josh Heupel continues to show his amateurism by his on-the-field play-calling and personnel management.

Think I am being too harsh?

Check this out. SMU isn't even considering Josh for their vacant head coaching job. Do you blame them?

I could go on for days about my disappointment with Josh Heupel and his lack of development as an offensive coordinator. But I'll save you some reading time and be concise.

In four years as offensive coordinator, he has averaged one game per season that is in the loss column because of his ill-conceived game plans (you can read further if you want but you get the point!)

OSU in 2011.
Kansas State in 2012.
Texas in 2013.
TCU or Kansas State in 2014. Pick one!

In just four seasons, Josh Heupel has shown he has no grasp of how to consistently put his players in position to win games by his game plans. He is too "textbook" in his approach, has no clue what situational football means and continually calls plays where his players make bad, game-changing choices.

I know. Players make plays.

But oh my gosh, Josh, what in the Heupel were you thinking on these four examples:

2011 Stillwater

An injury-depleted Oklahoma team limped into Stillwater in 2011 against a senior-laden OSU team laying in wait to win their first Big 12 Championship against their arch rival.

Everyone in Oklahoma knew the only way the Sooners had a chance was to control the clock with a run-heavy offense into a weak OSU defensive front seven.

So what did Sir Josh do? He unveiled a pass-heavy game plan with a depleted receiving corps that resulted in a 24-3 first half beat-down. Sooner running back Damien Williams had 10 carries for the entire ball game. Sound familiar Sooner fans? Samaje Perine had five carries against Baylor!

What did Bob Stoops have to say for himself afterwards:

"I noticed that too during the first half. (OU ran 8 running plays vs. 38 passing plays in the first half.) I brought it up to our coaches at half time."


2012 Norman

Sooner fans will remember two quarterback fumbles in the red zone that resulted in defensive touchdowns or stopped Sooner drives as the reason for this loss to Kansas State.

But I will submit that Josh Heupel's ill-conceived game plan also contributed heavily.

He continually put Landry Jones in bad situations with his play-calling that caused this loss.

His pass-to-run ratio of 47-23 flies in the face of reality. He had an injury depleted receiving corps and a strong running attack.  Instead, he chose to pass and "Bad" Landry reared his ugly head.

First up, with 7:38 remaining in the first quarter of a 3-0 Sooner lead, Heupel calls a three-wide set to the wide side of the field on 3rd and 13 from his own 13 yard line. If the ominous numerology of this play didn't hit home to him, he should of at least had a memory recognition back to last December in Stillwater.

Early in the 2nd quarter facing a 10-0 deficit, Heupel faced a similar situation and called a similar play with similar results. Landry Jones was flushed from the pocket from blindside pressure, scrambled to his right and was stripped of the ball resulting in a 59-yard fumble return to the one yard line that OSU punched in on the next play to make it 17-0. Later in the 3rd quarter down 24-3, flashing back to Saturday night's near fumbled pitch that was ruled an incomplete pass, Jones somehow lost the ball during his throwing motion which was picked up and returned five yards for an OSU defensive touchdown. This was just one of four turnovers by Landry Jones.

Kansas State circumstances were virtually identical. Jones faced blindside pressure, panicked and scrambled to his right when all of his receivers were spread left, was blindsided, stripped of the ball and Kansas State recovered for a 1-yard defensive touchdown.

Think Kansas State didn't notice his bad play calling tendencies?

“What we did all week was work on trying to flush him out of the pocket,” defensive end Adam Davis said. “We know he’s not good with pressure. If we get to his blind side he’s going to start getting jittery and try to move out of the pocket and scoot up and stuff. We really tried to cause pressure and get after him.”--Kansas City Star, September 23, 2012.

When pressed further, Stoops said,

"It was bad football."


2013 Texas

Anyone else still baffled how bad Heupel's game plan was in the Cotton Bowl?

A running quarterback had given Texas all kinds of problems in previous losses.

So what did Josh do? He tried to make Blake Bell a statuesque pocket passer and he got clobbered by an inspired Texas defensive line in Mack Brown's last stand in the Cotton Bowl.

No BellDozer, no diamond formation, no running game. Let's try and make good ole' Blake a pocket passer ala Peyton Manning or Tom Brady.

The Texas fans are still laughing at this one they stole.

And this was a year before Texas Strong came to town!

2014 TCU or Kansas State--Pick-em'

Ok, where do we start?

How about 3rd and 2 late in third quarter in Fort Worth in a tied game.

Instead of bulking up behind the largest offensive line in the nation, ESPN crawls continually showed how the OU line would rank as the 2nd largest in the NFL, Josh outsmarted himself again and called a slant pass that Trevor Knight telegraphed right into the TCU linebacker's arms.

Pick 6.

Ball game.

Let's try 4th and 1 late in the game trying to take the lead.

Instead of going heavy with the BellDozer or diamond or pistol formation, Josh dials up a quarterback read option out of the spread complete with a pulling left guard who runs right by the A-gap which Samaje Perine will soon occupy.


Stuffed. No gain.

Ball game.

How about K-State in Norman?

First and 10 on your own goal line?

Let's not try and hammer out a few yards and punt for field position

No. That's not in the Josh Heupel playbook.

Unfortunately, what is in there is sadness in Sooner fans eyes.

Josh dials up a pop-up pass down the goal line that everyone in the stadium including the K-State corner knew was coming.

The Wildcat corner took one step and picked off the lame duck for another pick-6.

Ball game.

How much more do you need?

Just like his head coach, Josh Heupel is living off his past glory in Norman. He also has a sister who is married to President Boren's son. Think he is feeling any pressure? Hardly.

Keep on keeping on, Josh. You'll be a fine assistant head coach at North Dakota State when your run is done in Sooner Land.

Unfortunately, by then Bob Stoops legacy will have been written in Norman and you'll be in the epitaph as an in over your head play caller who should be coaching quarterbacks somewhere in the Mountain West.

Bob Stoops

I'm afraid I am seeing an imperial head coach in Norman.

Coach Stoops body language, actions and words have been screaming he is not happy or just doesn't care to be in Norman.

He doesn't seem to get too much involved in the game plans anymore by his on-the-field results leaving most of the heavy lifting to his coordinators and just offers his Monday morning excuses, bye week vacations and post-game comments.

Yes, it was Sooner legend Jimbo Elrod who called into a Tulsa radio station after the Baylor loss and said Bob Stoops doesn't work hard anymore. Said he went to his Florida vacation home during the off-week before TCU. Say it isn't so Jimbo!

His arrogance, stubbornness and complacency has resulted in legendary shortness with reporters and is well documented during his 16 years in Norman. But now his comments are aimed at the fans with his unusual post-game response to a question about his thoughts on fans comments following the Baylor melt-down:

"So What?"

He tried to crawl back the next day and explain his comments were directed at social media and taken out of context but it was too late. Us season ticket holders who like to post on social media got it the first time.

Only time, built-up success equity and a mediocre team the past five years have sharpened the tone of his barbs with the media.

I would submit that Coach Stoops run of 16 seasons in Norman should come to an end sooner than later if this is as good as it gets.

He won't ever satisfy all of the boo-birds who finally surfaced at Owen Field on November 8 against Baylor and there aren't enough records to run through against the bottom half of the Big 12 to satisfy the remaining 50% of fans.

Bob Stoops isn't going to fire his brother or his disciple Josh Heupel and it's doubtful any other Power 5 conference would hire either of them.

And, David Boren nor Joe Castiglione aren't going to fire him either.

No, he will have to take a long hard look at his future and decide where he wants to be in five years.

Frankly, I don't see him coaching in Norman that long.

So why not go out on your own choosing instead of being run out of town by your record, attitude and nepotism?

At $5 million plus a year we don't have the luxury of waiting any longer to prove us wrong. And before you say I am being too harsh, we are not paying him Nick Saban money to go 9-3 every other year while making the same mistakes year after year!

We're appreciative of the results the first ten years. You resurrected a dire program looking for its' past success.

Unfortunately, the record the last five years shows a program on the decline that has been passed by the former Big 12 rug rats who are now laughing at the once mighty Sooner program.

We are now once again a program looking in the rear view mirror for its' past success.

I think a new approach from a new coach, or the old Bob Stoops, would be the best place to start. I just don't know where to find the old Bob Stoops. I think he has been kidnapped by arrogance, stubbornness and complacency.


The Oklahoma program is bigger than one coach.

Ask Bud who never resurrected his program after his former player turned nemesis in Austin and was run out of town with his three national championships in 1963.

Or Barry, who did resurrect his program and claim another run and national championship #3 and was still run out of town three years later.

Just don't ask Bob, with his one national championship claimed 15 lonely seasons ago.

He acts like he is untouchable, isn't listening and doesn't care.

Leaving the fans who have supported him asking:

Who are you?

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