OU football: Finally, the secret behind all the injuries
A reader sent me on a mission. Would I ask Bob Stoops if he had considered activities like mixed martial arts and tumbling to help his football players avoid injury?
Considering the rash of injuries the Sooners have experienced in recent years, I thought it was interesting. Exactly what have the Sooners done to try to stay healthy.
Stoops, of course, was not crazy about the question. He asked if I was asking if OU had figured out a way to keep an interior cruciate ligament from popping.
But Stoops did start talking about injury prevention, which was semi-interesting.
“We have guys that take yoga, Pilates. Extra stretching,” Stoops said. “We do a lot of things in different ways in trying to help guys and stretch ‘em.”
DeMarco Murray was involved in mixed martial arts the last couple of years and added yoga and Pilates (which seems to be similar to yoga), “trying to get him more flexible,” Stoops said. “But to prevent a knee injury, short of wearing a brace?
“This year’s been pretty tough to manage. What hurts you, it’s some of your best players. That changes the complexion of your team some. That’s just the way it is.”
But another reader tossed out a theory. Are the Sooners encountering more injuries because they’re playing more plays?
Think about it. The 2011 Sooners have had 1,706 plays from scrimmage, combining both offense and defense, in 11 games. That’s 155 per game. The 2008 Sooners, who pioneered the hurryup offense for OU, had 2,002 in 14 games. That’s 143 per game, so even more plays now than in what seemed like the frenetic 2008 season.
OK, now go back to 2004, which was a heck of a Sooner team. A powerhouse offense, a dominant defense. That team had 1,783 plays from scrimmage in 13 games. That’s 137 plays per game. Go back to 2000. That 2000 team had 1,669 plays, offense and defense combined. That’s 128 per game.
Think about that. OU is averaging 27 more plays from scrimmage, offense and defense, now than 10-11 years ago. Over 13 games, that’s 350 extra plays.
Now, that doesn’t explain Jermaine Gresham stepping funny in August and ending his season. That doesn’t explain Sam Bradford going down in the first half of the first game of the season. But when you play 350 extra plays, maybe it does help show why Ryan Broyles and Ronnell Lewis suffered November injuries.
This is not an excuse defense for OU. Every team faces it, to some degree. Longer season. OU played 10 games in Steve Owens’ senior season, 1969. Senior tight end James Hanna has played in 52 games already, with two more to come. But not just longer season, but longer games. More plays, more exposure to injury.
Those 350 extra plays is equivalent to at least two extra games.
I don’t know about yoga and tumbling. But I know this. More football means more injuries.
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