The Oklahoman's OU football writer Jason Kersey took questions from readers in his Power Lunch Chat today. You can join our Power Lunch Chats Monday-Friday at 11 a.m. on NewsOK.com/Sports. Here's a recap of today's Q&A:
How do you think OU's defense will do against the very athletic West Virginia offense? My gut feeling is West Virginia will try to do the same thing Baylor did trying to exploit the secondary on play-action, however, West Virginia has better athletes to execute which worries me.
I think OU's defense will be able to slow West Virginia down enough to win, but I still think the Mountaineers will score points. They might try some of the same things as Baylor, but West Virginia doesn't have the same ability in the run game that Baylor does, so that might not work quite as well.
Anything could happen in Morgantown. Do you think OU will lose?
Anything could happen indeed. I think it's extremely unlikely that WV would beat OU, but the Mountaineer offense is certainly still capable of scoring points. This is the kind of game that could make WV's entire season, so they've got a lot to play for.
Are there any difference-makers at defensive tackle available from the juco ranks? If so, is OU in the running for them? I think OU's defense could really benefit from more playmaking at the linebacker position. I think Wort and Nelson have probably reached their ceiling. Besides possibly Frank Shannon, are there any difference-makers on the depth chart (or on the recruiting radar) that might someday be a real star?
Right now OU doesn't have any DT commits, juco or not, but there are some DTs the Sooners are targeting. One that gets a lot of attention is Justin Manning, DeMarcus Granger's little brother. I agree about needing better play from the linebackers. I think Corey Nelson's ceiling is still higher than he's reached, and I really think Frank Shannon could wind up being special. Aaron Franklin is another guy that has good potential.
Also, coaches are high on true freshman LB Eric Striker.
Has Geno Grissom moved back to DE permanently? Besides Chuka, who will be in the DE rotation next season?
Yes, Grissom is, for all intents and purposes, a DE again. Chuka, Grissom, Michael Onuoha, Charles Tapper, Rashod Favors, PL Lindley and Chaz Nelson are all guys who will compete for PT at defensive end.
Why the sudden decrease in playing time for Dom Whaley? Is it a lack of recovery, the improvement of Brennan Clay, the emergence of Damian Williams, or something else?
From what I'm hearing, Whaley just hasn't been the same since coming back from his ankle injury. They're saying he's healthy, but I think his ankle is still a lingering issue. But I don't think it's anything Sooner fans should be too worried about, in all honesty, because Clay and Williams are playing well right now.
It looks like OU is losing its run game. Your thoughts?
I don't think it seems like OU is losing its run game at all. Damien Williams is playing well, as is Brennan Clay.
OU is really missing the tight end position. Any chance they bring that position back next year?
Trey Millard has really been the Sooners' best "tight end" when they've really needed one, but I still really think Brannon Green has potential to be a solid contributor. He's shown some playmaking ability in limited action. I also think Taylor McNamara has a lot of potential; he's just got to get healthy.
Your prediction on OU's final regular season record?
I don't see OU losing another one, honestly. I think they finish 10-2 and go to the Fiesta Bowl.
Do Sooner fans really want another Fiesta Bowl?
The Fiesta Bowl would be a great destination for the Sooners. It'd also be a nice end to a season that might be considered disappointing to those who saw this as a championship team. I think the Rose Bowl or Sugar Bowl would be neat for OU, just because those are bowls they haven't been to as much, but there's definitely nothing wrong with the Fiesta Bowl. I don't think OU can do much better at this point than the Fiesta because of their two losses and K-State's increasingly probable title game berth.
I think there’s some fan-fatigue with the Phoenix/Fiesta Bowl destination. I realize you are new to the OU beat, but I sense fans want a different destination.
I completely understand. That's why I think the Rose or Sugar Bowls would be exciting destinations, but I don't think the Fiesta would be any cause for great disappointment. Especially since OU won't, in all likelihood, win a title of any sort.
ON COLLEGE FOOTBALL AROUND THE COUNTRY:
Since Texas A&M went to the SEC and they are doing real well, it gives me hope that OU can make in the SEC as well.
I don't see OU going to the SEC anytime soon, but I think you're right that A&M's success does bode well for Big 12 success against the SEC in the Champions Bowl and in the future playoff system. It's kind of put a damper on the idea that the SEC is invincible.
What is your take on Tuberville and the incident on the sidelines? Has he been disciplined in any way?
I think Tuberville's explanation for the incident seemed kind of ridiculous ... he definitely looked angry and didn't look like he was just trying to get him off the field. Texas Tech has an image problem, between Mike Leach, Bobby Knight and Billy Gillispie, and having another angry coach outburst doesn't help. The Big 12 reprimanded him publicly but it seems like that might be as far as this goes.
Is the door closed on the SEC’s seventh national championship?
Definitely not. Crazier things have happened this late in the season, and Alabama only fell to No. 4 in the BCS standings. All it's gonna take is two of the three unbeatens to lose for Bama or Georgia (if it wins the SEC title game) to be right back in it.
What are your predictions on how the BCS top 3 teams will finish, record-wise? K-State, Oregon, and Notre Dame.
I think Kansas State and Notre Dame finish unbeaten, and for some reason I feel like Oregon loses one of these final games. K-State and Notre Dame, to me, feel like teams with a little bit of destiny attached to them, and Oregon's remaining games are tough ones. And I'd pick K-State to win a KSU-Notre Dame title game.
Do you think Texas A&M is for real? Do you think the win over Alabama was just a fluke deal due to Bama coming off emotional victory at LSU? How do you think A&M would finish in the Big XII this year, all else being equal?
I do think Texas A&M is a really good team. I really don't think the Bama win was a fluke, because the Aggies played LSU and Florida really well in those losses, so it's not like they came completely out of nowhere. In the Big 12, I think they'd probably be right behind K-State.