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Oklahoma lacks a much-needed aerial attack

The Sooners' loss to Texas shows what happens in the modern era when a team can't throw. With no aerial supplement, an offense struggles.
by Berry Tramel Published: October 13, 2013

Texas shockingly beat the Sooners 36-20 Saturday and the reason was singular.

Texas' Case McCoy threw with efficiency and effectiveness. The Sooners' Blake Bell did not. It's not any more complicated than that.

Both teams ran the ball well. Texas' superior numbers were the product of more opportunities; OU didn't get the chance to run as much. Both teams scored a defensive touchdown. Both teams had huge kick returns — UT's Daje Johnson returned a punt for a TD; the Sooners' Roy Finch returned a kickoff 73 yards to set up a short TD drive.

Yet a mighty gulf separated the passing games. McCoy threw two deep balls for touchdowns and completed a variety of clutch passes. Bell did neither, though it wasn't all his fault.

Remember over the last year, when Bob Stoops would be asked about using a running quarterback, and Stoops would be quick to remind us that OU still valued foremost a guy who could throw?

Now you know he wasn't yanking our chain.

The Sooners' loss to Texas shows what happens in the modern era when a team can't throw. With no aerial supplement, an offense stagnates.

Bell threw downfield only seven times, despite UT admittedly stacking the middle to keep Bell from trudging up the gut and despite OU trailing by a significant margin much of the day.

And by downfield, I mean at least 10 yards past the line of scrimmage. Bell completed just one of those seven, on a nifty play in which Trey Millard came out of a fullhouse backfield and found himself open down the middle for a 29-yard gain.

One of seven. It was a 1950s offense. Or, in the Sooners' case, a 2013 offense. In three Big 12 games this season, the Sooners have totaled four offensive touchdowns. They survived West Virginia (16-7) and TCU (20-17), but not the Longhorns.

In those three games, Bell and Trevor Knight have combined to complete 42 of 78 passes for 404 yards, four interceptions and one touchdown.

That's a typical Landry Jones stat line — for one game. Last November, Landry thrice threw for more than 404 yards in a game. And if you're keeping score, the Sooners scored 16 offensive touchdowns in those three games against Iowa State, West Virginia and OSU.

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by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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