Berry Tramel: OKC Thunder can only benefit from more playing time for Thabo Sefolosha

The Oklahoman's Berry Tramel took questions from readers today in his Power Lunch Chat. Topics included the Oklahoma City Thunder, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State football, college football from around the nation, the NFL and more. Here's a recap of today's chat.
Oklahoman Modified: November 13, 2012 at 3:44 pm •  Published: November 13, 2012
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I think the OU defensive line is solid. Not great, but solid. The linebackers are a little iffy, but not terrible. I'd say the Sooners also have good depth on the line. At least three good tackles, 2-3 solid ends. The problem is, most are seniors. I'd be really worried about OU's defensive front NEXT season.

Seems that the dismissals have caused a lack of depth in OU. What happened that the program to recruit so many malcontents? I don’t think we’ve seen this to that degree before. Has Stoops regained control?

It looks to me like Stoops has regained control, although you never know. I think the Sooners have gotten a little shy on numbers. We'll see how it plays out in the future.

I assume the players that were dismissed last year at OU were dismissed as a result of smoking dope and not going to class (though Stoops would never address this publicly). If so, how can that be? They aren't watching these guys like a hawk, especially their school work?

Well, you can't keep guys from smoking dope. As for going to class, they do monitor these guys. And when they don't go, they discipline them, and eventually, they release them. But sometimes, the academic side is not just going to class. Sometimes it's not doing the work.

Looks like if OU wins out they will go to a BCS. I consider this a successful season if they make it to a BCS. I know the goal at OU is championships. But you can't do that very single year.

I would largely agree, although it certainly would help if the Sooners win in the BCS. 10-3 with a Fiesta Bowl loss would be an OK year, but also would be disappointing.

If Blake bell can throw -- we know he has a cannon -- but if he's accurate, then you have to think the sky's the limit for OU next year. They'll have great running backs. Great receivers. A decent enough o line. Need some d lineman. Your thoughts?

The sky's the limit is a little strong. If Bell is an accurate thrower AND a good decision-maker (the latter is more important), then the OU offense should indeed be strong. But I see no way Blake is as effective as Landry Jones. Maybe he will be. I just don't see it.

Do you think OU's defense would look any different if Venables had decided to stay?

Yes. I loved Venables, but clearly, Mike Stoops has made a difference for the Sooner D. It's playing better, with mostly the same guys.

 

ON OKLAHOMA STATE FOOTBALL:

Ten years ago, Oklahoma State is 3-6, not 6-3, if it had used 3 starting QBs in a season, including a true freshman. That's how much I believe that OK State has enhanced its program in the last decade. Thoughts?

No doubt about it. Think of the old days. Al Pena. Aso Pogi. BJ Tiger. Bo Bowling. The Cowboys always were looking for a quarterback. If they found one, they certainly didn't have two.

Do the Pokes have another kicker (Quinn Sharp?) who will play on Sundays? It sure seems like it based on his performance to date.

I would agree. I think Sharp is too good at a lot of different things to miss. He could be a punter, a kickoff man, a field goal man, although the latter is clearly his weakest.

What is your best guess on who OSU's starting QB will be on Saturday?

Best guess? Chelf. He's played well. No great reason to change. But it's fascinating. Here's a good question. Why not play multiple QBs?

 

ON COLLEGE FOOTBALL AROUND THE NATION:

Looks like Mack Brown will win 10 games if Texas loses to K-State. Do you think he would leave on his own since he would have had a successful year?

Interesting twist. I would guess that it would be easier for him to leave. Walk away a winner.

Pat Jones was overly reactive to what Tommy Tuberville did on Saturday. Jones said that Tubervile acted in the heat of the moment and he had seen a lot worse. Do you think Tuberville went too far?

I think Tuberville was out of line. Keep your hands to yourself. Here's why college football is so screwed up. Lots of places, your boss does that, you cold cock him. If that dude had decked Tuberville right there, Tuberville's career — not that guy's — was in the crapper.

I heard that Al and Sam Mayes got into a major argument on Saturday after the game regarding recruiting. Sam thinks that A&M will be helped in recruiting just because they went to the SEC and that is where all the great recruits want to be and Texas will start losing to them in the recruiting war. Your thoughts?

I think it will be a wash. I think A&M will have some benefits from being in the SEC. That will appeal to a lot of players. But losing so many games in the region — far fewer drivable road games for the Ags — will hurt some Texans in recruiting.

Any chance Gary Patterson or Mike Gundy bolt for Arkansas or Tennessee?

I can't see Gundy leaving. OSU is a better job. Easier access to the Big Bowl. Patterson? That's a good question. Personally, I'd take the Arkansas job over Tennessee. Arkansas has self-inflicted injuries. Tennessee seems in a perpetual slump.

Is it possible for the college football playoff to go from 4 to 8 within the next 12 year contract or do we have to wait until that expires?

It's possible, but I think the four-teamer survives all 12 years. I think they want to preserve the bowl system, and eight teams ends the bowls.

What do you like and dislike in the new college playoff system that was finalized yesterday?

I don't like the Orange Bowl being tied to non-champs. I think that's goofy. Otherwise, I'm fine with it. Get back to me when we find out the format for the selection, etc.

Do you think Mangino will be back in coaching next year?

I would guess yes. But I have no great guesses. Some of these new allegations of physical and verbal abuse of players won't help Mangino's cause.

 

ON COLLEGE FOOTBALL BOWL PROJECTIONS:

I expect USC vs. Oklahoma State in the Alamo Bowl and LSU v OU in the Sugar Bowl ... that sounds great, right?

Does sound great. LSU-OU is more likely in the Fiesta. OU-A&M, OU-Florida, sign me up for any of them.

Thoughts on a potential Nebraska-Oklahoma Rose Bowl?

Sign me up for it. I'm all for it. It would take a series of unlikely events to occur — Notre Dame and Oregon would have to make the Big Bowl, and no other Pac-12 team could finish in the top 14. But if the Rose Bowl had to take someone besides Notre Dame, it would probably vote for OU, with the endorsement of Nebraska.

I see K-State-Oregon for the BCS National Championship title game. And OU vs.  LSU in the Fiesta. Your thoughts?

I think OU-Florida is more likely. If the Gators beat Florida State, they would be 11-1 and might jump LSU in the BCS.

 

ON COLLEGE BASKETBALL:

In your article that you will be writing on college basketball reform, will you also include what it will it take to convince the NCAA to implement those changes?

Good question. The conferences, the big conferences, will have to step up and demand reform. That's the only thing that changes anything.

 

ON THE NFL:

How is anybody with any authority at all with the Chiefs still employed? Now it sounds like ownership problems, and that is bad news because Clark Hunt can't fire himself. There is a new report that Todd Haley still hasn't been paid the remaining amount owed him from his guaranteed contract.

Well, I don't know anything about the contract stuff. But the Chiefs are a mess. Scott Pioli's is a failed administration. You might have hit on it. Ownership problems.

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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...
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