Oklahoma football: Sooners are hardly playing like one of college football's elite teams

COMMENTARY — Damien Williams' performance gave Sooner fans reason for optimism, but there's plenty left to worry about even after a 69-13 thrashing of Florida A&M.
by Jenni Carlson Published: September 8, 2012

NORMAN — The rankings and the pundits say otherwise, but Oklahoma isn't one of the best five teams in the country.

The Sooners might get there eventually, might be among the country's best squads by the time the season is over. But on a night when they again struggled, it became obvious that these guys aren't playing like an elite team.

Yes, the scoreboard said this was a dominating performance.

OU 69, Florida A&M 13.

But anyone who made the trip to Norman or shelled out $39.95 for the pay-per-view broadcast knows that the score covers up the fact that the Sooners once again had their problems.

“We're playing as well as we can play,” Sooner center Gabe Ikard said, “and we're getting better every week.”

Do you read that comment as a positive or negative, Sooner fans?

How you answer that is likely indicative of your take on this team.

After last week, lots of you were concerned. And rightfully so. This is supposed to be one of the best teams in the country, a team that will contend for a national championship, but it went to UTEP and fought for its life.

But many of you decided not to hit the panic button just yet. After all, the Sooners have a history of so-so openers in championship seasons. You figured there was no reason to start pounding the panic button just yet.

Now?

I suspect some of you are probably pushing the panic button so much after Saturday's game that you're developing carpal tunnel.

“We still had lots of mistakes,” Sooner receiver Kenny Stills admitted. “We still have corrections to make.”

After last week's game, you'd have thought the Sooners would've played a much more focused game. You'd have thought they would've honed in on those areas that needed fixing. You'd have thought they would've been razor sharp.

Instead, Landry Jones threw a couple passes directly to Florida A&M defenders, one that was dropped and one that was intercepted. Stills dropped a would-be touchdown. Dom Whaley fumbled. Ikard and fellow offensive lineman Lane Johnson committed personal fouls.

Each mistake is correctable, but against an outmanned Florida A&M squad it's troubling that OU had those mistakes at all.

Some of the problems were smoothed over by Damien Williams. The junior college transfer is a big-time talent. He followed up his hundred-yard debut last week with another stellar performance. His 156 yards rushing were the most by a Sooner in his home debut.

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by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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