Trouble in paradise for Sooners
The apparently-temporary absence of Blake Griffin was supposed to make the Sooners stronger mentally and emotionally. You know, one of those let’s-all-put-together moments that can make a team more resilient.
So why is Juan Pattillo getting suspended? The Oklahoma supersub, whose insertion into the rotation from redshirt status gave the Sooners a huge lift in mid-January, will miss the Sooners’ game Saturday at Texas Tech for an undisclosed violation of team rules.
So much for pulling together. Just when the Sooners need Pattillo most — a two-game losing streak in Griffin’s absence, compounded by his uncertain status down this homestretch — Pattillo does something to get in Jeff Capel’s doghouse.
This is where the wheels could come off. Some seasons arrive at a crossroads. Things are going great, special things appear on the horizon, then here comes a bump. Adversity arrives. The special teams fight through it, the weak teams succumb to it and the unlucky teams suffer through the unavoidable loss of a key member.
Right now, the Sooners aren’t fighting through it. Capel called out starters Austin Johnson and Tony Crocker for their dazed play against Kansas, and now OU goes to Tech without Pattillo and probably without Griffin.
There is plenty of time to regroup — March doesn’t arrive until Sunday — but that plenty status starts decreasing and soon. Griffin must return physically. Johnson and Crocker must return mentally. Pattillo must return physically and mentally.
As is, OU’s front line of Taylor Griffin and Ryan Wright, I guess now with Orlando Allen off the bench, should be enough against Tech, which is weak inside. But the Red Raiders played tough at Texas on Wednesday night, and an OU defeat in Lubbock would officially proclaim this Sooner team into free-fall.
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