Berry Tramel: Power Lunch Chat transcript, September 19, 2012

The Oklahoman's Berry Tramel took questions from readers in today's Power Lunch Chat. Join our Power Lunch Chats Monday-Friday at 11 a.m. on NewsOK.com/Sports.
Berry Tramel, Staff Writer, btramel@opubco.com Modified: September 19, 2012 at 1:04 pm •  Published: September 19, 2012
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The Oklahoman's Berry Tramel took questions from readers in today's Power Lunch Chat. Join our Power Lunch Chats Monday-Friday at 11 a.m. on NewsOK.com/Sports. Below is a complete transcript of today's questions and answers.

Good morning Berry, I was watching the video from last year’s KSU game, and Finch looked like a beast on a lot of runs. What is the deal with him? Is he in Stoops’ dog house? I don't understand why they don't use him more.

I think Finch is in the doghouse, to some degree, but even if he wasn't, would he be higher than third team? I mean, he didn't beat out Whaley last season, and now OU has recruited over both of them with Damien Williams. Now, playing Clay over Finch is a clear sign that Finch is in the doghouse. But it's also possible that he's just not that good.

What is your take on the next three games for OU?

The easiest of the three is K-State. That's my take. Texas will be a dogfight, and I don't think it will be easy to win in Lubbock. The Sooners haven't won out there since 2003, for a variety of reasons.

On Perry Jones: You also don't seem to be too optimistic about him. In the Finals, the Thunder clearly didn't have anyone to backup Durant when he was in foul trouble or even to rest him and bring in someone to make LeBron work on the defensive end while Durant is taking a break. Cook is surely not effective if he's not scoring.

Everything you said is true, but even if Perry Jones is a good rookie, that's not going to change much in the Finals. Durant will still play 45 minutes a game. Once you get to the Finals, depth becomes less important. The foul trouble can still get you, but at this stage of Westbrook's and Durant's career, foul trouble should not.

In my opinion, Damien Williams should start this week against K-State based on how he has played so far. Your thoughts?  

Oh, fine by me. I don't really care too much about who starts. I do think it matters how much you touch the ball, and the Sooners clearly will feed Williams a ton. Much more than Whaley, I'd say. I'd expect to see Williams carry 20 times a game from here on.

Berry, I'm curious about the "identity" of the offense for OU this season. I heard Norvell make a comment a week or so ago about the fact that they were still trying to figure out what the strengths of this team (offense) were.

It appears as if some changes in this year's lineup vs. last year's that an identity change might be in order. Irwin and Shead are known for being better run blockers than pass blockers; I heard Teddy Lehman talk about what a punishing blocker Grissom is in the running game, Damien Williams has obviously added a new dimension and the receivers are bigger and more physical this year than last.

Is it possible that the personality/identity of this offense leans more toward the running game?

It's quite possible. The problem is, there hasn't been enough evidence to know. Florida A&M absolutely doesn't count. You can't base anything off that. So we're just going off one game, and so are the coaches, really. At UTEP, OU run blocked better than pass blocked, in my opinion. So we'll see. We'll know a lot more Saturday.

I envision a second unit of, Maynor/Jackson at PG, Harden at SG, Perry J ones at SF, Collison at PF and Thabeet at C. What would your second unit would like?

Well, I think Maynor is the backup point guard. I don't think there's any question about that, unless his knee doesn't respond. And I think Aldrich might still win the backup center job.

I think the Thunder should keep Harden for the last year of his contract and then let somebody else overpay him. If the Thunder could bring in a JJ Redick or an OJ Mayo, or even Reggie Jackson if he improves, the Thunder will be alright. I mean KD, Westbrook and Serge will still be on the team, right?

The Thunder would take a step back if tries to replace Harden with someone like Mayo, Redick or Reggie Jackson. Now, you might take steps forward in other areas, but one of the few flaws on this team is imbalanced scoring. Three guys carry the load. Lose one of those guys, and who's stepping up? I don't know that I see someone on the roster capable of scoring 13-14 points a game. Serge, maybe, but it's risky.

My Chiefs are terrible and I see no hope for the future unless Pioli gets fired. It makes it even worse as a Chief fan in OKC when you watch what Presti does with the Thunder and then watch as Pioli just bumbles his way around.

I don't like Scott Pioli for the culture that he created in KC. It's apparently a very despondent place, according to a Kansas City expose' I read awhile back. Not a place you want to work. Pioli is like every other GM in the NFL. He's got to win. And right now, Kansas City is showing no signs of wining.

I say the best coach in the Big 12 is Bill Snyder, second best is Art Bryles, third is Gundy, and fourth is Patterson. Stoops and Mac are obviously good, but have far more to work with. What say you?

Snyder is the best. In this league or any other league. Everyone else, you can make a good case for in a lot of different ways. Paul Rhoads is excellent. Stoops and Brown have won big for a long time, which is not easy to do. Gundy and Patterson have built something special out of not great tradition. Briles is working towards that, though it's early.

Any news on Big 12 expansion?

Yes. The news is, they're not going to expand. At least not for a few years. The Big 12 will sit back and see how the new playoff system works before it considers expansion. That's not good news for Louisville, but that's just the way it is.

If OU ends up establishing the run and runs it well against KSU, this offense begins to take on very interesting dimensions. Solid running game + dynamic slot receiver + big vertical threats in Brown and Trey, sprinkle in Bell Dozer and some tight end and Millard = ?

Not making any predictions, but isn't this the type of offense that could give even a great Alabama defense some real trouble?

I don't know about giving Alabama trouble. Let's see OU score more than 24 points against a I-A team first. But the Sooners do have lots of weapons and a track record of prolific offenses. So I don't think there's any great reason for pessimism.

Sam Bradford looked good last week against the Redskins. Your thoughts?

The Rams aren't half bad. They could have (should have?) won Week 1 against Detroit, then beat the 'Skins. So I like what I've seen out of Bradford so far.

I called it before he even called a game, but Josh Almighty's head is being called for by never-happy OU fans. If favorite son Heupel is not good enough for OU fans will anybody ever be?

No offensive coordinator. It goes with the territory. The most popular man on campus is always the backup quarterback. The least popular man on campus is always the offensive coordinator. Chuck Long was phenomenal as OC; he was lit up in the marketplace. Kevin Wilson set NCAA scoring records; he was lambasted. The only offensive coordinators who are popular are guys who have just won the national title or haven't been around long enough to get everyone against them.

FSU didn't vote for the $50 million exit fee. If they ever want to leave for say the Big XII down the road I bet that will be an interesting court case and I don't think there is any way that FSU will be forced to pay the full fee

Well, so far, no one has paid the exact exit fee. Everything's been negotiated. But if FSU doesn't want to be held to the regulations, I'd recommend it not take the TV payout money. Take the conference money, then say you're not subject to the conference rules? That's a loser in court.

Aldrich will not be the back up center I guarantee you that. Last week we didn't get to finish up on Thabeet and you seem not too optimistic about him either. Are you saying the Thunder is not a good organization who developed young talent? Memphis didn't do it, Portland and Houston didn't do it.

I'm saying it's possible that Thabeet is just not very good, and organizations might not be able to do anything about it.

With AEG now for sale, what does that do the NFL to L.A. movement?

There's no way it can help. No way. Do you realize we're coming up on 20 without Los Angeles having the NFL? That's crazy. With all that said, I still think there is enough momentum in L.A. for the movement to continue. But you've got to have two things come together: a stadium plan -- a real plan, with the money on the table and the land secured -- and a franchise that wants to move.

Your thoughts on the Dallas/Seattle game? And what do you foresee for the Cowboys the rest of the season?

Bad spot for Dallas. Seattle has two good cornerbacks, which negate a Cowboy strength. Tough place in the schedule, too, with the Seahawks playing their home opener, after a tough Week 1 defeat that Seattle easily could have won. Plus Dallas coming off a statement game. This is the NFL. Wins are hard to come by. I expect Dallas to rebound nicely. I still think the Cowboys are a playoff team.



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