Texas A&M 69, OU 54: Thoughts and observations
Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel opened up more than he has all season following his team’s 69-54 loss to Texas A&M. After leading early, the Sooners were never in the game in the second half. It was OU’s eighth straight loss, the program’s longest skid since 1969.
Here’s some of what Capel had to say during the postgame press conference:
On why the team has struggled:
“I haven’t been successful this year. It’s one of the worst jobs — the worst job I’ve ever done. I haven’t been able to push the right buttons.
“There’s a sense of entitlement with some young kids. … Kids don’t fear anything. They don’t respect anything. But it goes back to me. I’ve done a poor job. I’ve always felt one of my strengths was being able to figure out what buttons to push, how to get best out of guys. I haven’t been able to do that this year. It’s been frustrating. Frustrating to me, frustrating for people to watch. It’s embarrassing. I’m ashamed.”
On playing in the Big 12 Tournament:
“(Next week) needs to be our only focus. Hopefully, it’s something after that. Hopefully, we can play well enough to earn a right, but we haven’t earned that right now. The only thing we have earned is an opportunity because everyone gets to play in the Big 12 tournament. It’s important for us to go and play well and try to get a win. Obviously we haven’t won in a while, since we beat Texas here. But we have to have better effort and better discipline in order to get that. It looks like we are going to play Oklahoma State and certainly they beat us really bad last time we played them. It’s certainly going to take a big-time effort from us.”
On if he could take any positives from today’s game:
“Not really. The emotion of the seniors at the end. You can’t have emotion like that unless something means something to you — unless you care deeply or passionately about something. A lot of our younger guys should take a cue from that. But this younger generation, I don’t know if they know how to care about anything.”
On the youth and injuries of the team:
“We’ve really only played four conference games with Willie (Warren) where he was healthy. If you look at it, he had struggled against Baylor, struggled against Oklahoma State, played very well against Missouri and I thought he played well at Texas A&M. Then he gets hurt in practice (before) Texas Tech and was never the same after that. That gave us only two guys that had any experience in Big 12 play and as far as extended playing time — that’s Cade (Davis) and that’s Tony Crocker. I hear a lot of teams and a lot of people in this league talk about they’re the youngest team or they have so many young guys. But we’ve played seven guys with Willie out and four are freshmen. (Other teams) may have a lot of young guys, but (they) don’t play a lot of young guys. Again, it’s not an excuse. A lot of this stuff is self-inflicted. We can’t do anything about injuries, but some of the stuff that has happened to this team is self-inflicted. That’s something we can control , and we haven’t done a good job of doing that and I haven’t done a good job of doing that.”
On why his team has struggled:
“You never sign a team. You sign individuals and you hope they can become a team. That’s something we’ve struggled with all year,. You look at the teams that are at the top, they have a definitive guy who is their best player. And no one has a problem with it. No one has a problem saying Sherron Collins (Kansas) is our best player, James Anderson (Oklahoma State) is our best player, Donald Sloan (A&M) is our best player. There are no other agendas besides winning. To be completely candid, we’ve struggled with that all year. If I would have said earlier that Willie is our best player, I may have had three guys in the locker room upset. In conference after five-six games, I say Tommy is our best player, still you may have three guys upset in your locker room. That falls back on me. Whether it’s Nate Carter, Blake Griffin, Longar Longar for a stretch, I’ve been able to say these guys are our best player and everything has fallen into place and guys have settled into their roles. On a team, everyone has a role. Everyone has to fall in love with their role. You have to love and embrace your role. If you do that, you have the opportunity to be a good team. And we haven’t been a good team all year.”
On if this has been his toughest season ever:
“Yes it is. You go through things like this, and guys are in the hall of fame who have gone through it or may be currently going through it. You have two choices. You can give into it or you can learn from it. The thing I have been saying is no regrets, just lessons. This has been a tremendous learning experience for me.”
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