Bob Stoops talked Monday of being “on the wrong side of some judgment calls” against Notre Dame. He was referring to the holding call against Bronson Irwin on Blake Bell’s touchdown run late in the second quarter, and the no-interference call when linebacker Dan Fox broke up a fourth-quarter pass intended for Jalen Saunders, and Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o’s made a diving interception, which some also disputed.
“In a tight football game, they’re part of the game,” Stoops said. “The holding call where you have a chance to score. Those take some momentum away. Whether it’s interference or not, it isn’t called. Whether it’s an interception or not, again, I’m not complaining at all. When you’re in a tight game, those decisions are tough to overcome.”
Complaining? No. Excuse-making? Sounds like it to me.
Stoops once had a no-excuse policy, but lately, he’s slipped. He indeed seems to make excuses.
I’m not one of these sky-is-falling guys. I think the OU program is in excellent shape. It needs to get better to compete for a national championship, no doubt. But the Sooners remain one of America’s five most successful programs of even recent years.
Alabama, LSU, Oregon, uh, that’s about it. You can’t put anyone else ahead of OU over the last three or four years.
The Sooners absolutely need to beef up their recruiting, get some stout linemen on both sides of the ball. But this is a program in excellent shape.
Yet excuse-making doesn’t help. The Sooners got outhorsed by Notre Dame. The Irish made the big plays; OU did not. The Irish made the majority of the little plays. The Irish made scant few mistakes; the Sooners didn’t play poorly, but they didn’t play pristine.
That had much more to do with “judgment calls.” The holding call was holding, albeit behind the play, which is even more maddening. No reason to hold. The non-interference call was fine. I like my interference penalties to be obvious. A bang-bang play should not draw a flag. The Te’o interception looked like a catch to me and certainly shouldn’t have been overturned.
Judgment calls did not determine the OU-Notre Dame outcome. And there was a time when Stoops wouldn’t have said anything even if they had.