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Berry Tramel: Power Lunch Chat transcript, September 6, 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.
by Berry Tramel Modified: September 6, 2012 at 4:14 pm •  Published: September 6, 2012
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DeMarco Murray looked pretty darn good to me last night. Your thoughts?

I thought he looked great. In the first half, when there was nowhere to run, he still looked OK. Then in the second half, he helped change the game, opening up the Dallas pass game. Murray is headed for a great career if he stays healthy -- which is a big if.

I understand about not having a clause in the contract where the game has to be shown in the opponent's market since the Pac-12 Network didn't exist when the OSU-AZ series was scheduled. No doubt, they are using it to their advantage to strong-arm the cable providers into carrying it full-time rather than one game. Since Cox in Oklahoma has little incentive to carry it full-time, it seems like Pac-12 Network would want to get a lump-sum, one-time payment rather than nothing. I think I saw where the Big 12 office has gotten involved.

You're right, there was no Pac-12 Network when this series was signed. But the same lesson applies to the Longhorn Network. Anybody signing up with Texas needs to get it in writing. And what's going on now is that a bunch of good games -- OSU-Arizona, Iowa-Iowa State -- are being put on conference network games. You'd think one of the big networks would scoop them up, but the Pac 12 Network gets first dibs some of the time.

Did OU underestimate UTEP, or did they just get off to a shaky start and will settle down for the balance of the season?

I don't think it was underestimating. I think everyone is fired up for the first game, no matter who or where it is. It's possible that UTEP outschemed OU, that the Sooners' game plan wasn't great and the Miners took full advantage. Sometimes, we don't know when that goes on, but it does.

It bodes well for the rest of the Big 12 if you are right that Gilbert was Texas' best QB last year. Gilbert looked awful against Baylor.

Gilbert did look awful. It's possible that Ash has improved. But I think last year, Gilbert was UT's best option. Politically, Mack couldn't play him -- the natives would have howled too loud. But at some point, Texas has got to throw the ball down field. If you don't throw the ball down field, you better run a mean option. I don't think Texas has a mean option in its arsenal.

If Dallas stays healthy this season, how far do you see them going?

I picked the Cowboys to win the NFC East. So I think they will be in prime position come the playoffs. But it won't be easy, even then. The last two Super Bowl winners came through the NFC wild card.

WVU gave up quite a few points last week, do you see them kind of like Tech in previous years? Lots of offense but can't stop anyone?

I think they're better than Tech, except maybe that 2008 Leach team, which was really good. But yes, I think you can score on West Virginia. And we'll see if the WVU offense can stay hot. The Mountaineers weren't great on offense until the end of the season. Now they've gone for 69 and 70 in back to back games. Keep that up, and it's Fiesta Bowl for West Virginia.

Do you know if Bob Stoops ever overrides Josh Heupel’s play calls, or it always Heupel’s decision?

If Stoops has ever overridden a call, I don't know about it. I think Stoops will often say -- time to run and eat clock. But I don't think he says, no, I don't want 32 trap, I want 45 load. He doesn't do that.

Do you think OSU will cover the 13.5 points this weekend at Arizona?

I'd guess it will be a close game. Heck, last year, OSU won just 37-14 in Stillwater. That's only 23 points, with Blackmon and Weeden and a home game and a terrible 'Zona defense. The defense is still bad, but it's hard to rout somebody on the road. OSU did it a couple of times last year, but it's still hard.

Any news on why Casey Walker took some time off?

Not to be rude, but we get these kinds of questions a lot. Let me blunt. If we find out stuff, we don't put it in our pocket. We print it. We put it in the newspaper and we put it on the website. As soon as we know something for sure, you'll know it for sure.

Is there any chance that we are going to get to see the OSU/Arizona game here in Oklahoma?

Yes. I think they are still negotiating. It's possible it will fall apart and the answer is no. But the Pac-12 Network wants Oklahoma cable providers to pick up the network, and that's not going to happen. So we'll see if the Pac-12 today or tomorrow relents and says, OK, you can have the game for this fee.

84-0....Your thoughts?

It could have been 184-0. There was nothing wrong in the way OSU handled that game. Other than scheduling it. That's where the travesty came in.

Other than the obvious (winning the game), what would you consider a successful outing by Wes Lunt in the Arizona game in terms of his development?

Hmm. Winning overrides everything. But I would say less than two interceptions. A couple of TD passes. A completion percentage over 60 and preferably over 65 percent. That would be a solid game for a road debut.

I hear some people calling for Bob Stoops’ head. How ridiculous is that?

Absurd. Totally absurd.

Your thoughts on Texas QB David Ash? He threw for 156 yards on 20-27 attempts. That is about 7.8 yards a completion which tells me Texas isn't trying anything downfield. Has Ash improved?

I'm sure he's improved, but it doesn't seem like Texas feels safe enough to go beyond the short passing game. The Longhorns have to do that, eventually, but they don't have to until they come to Stillwater. They've got New Mexico this week and Ole Miss after that.

I agree that Ash may be improved some since QBs do tend to improve a lot from first to second year, but I think his upside is limited.

It sure seems that way. That's why I kept saying Gilbert was their best QB last year. We saw in the 2009 title game that the guy can at least throw it. Texas' offense is not going to scare anybody.

Sooner fans need to understand when you play a team that is not as talented, or have the players that your team has, that team is going to pull out all the stops for a victory. UTEP did that Saturday -- they pulled out all the stops for a victory just like FAMU will do Saturday in Norman. Yes the Sooners are a much superior team, but UTEP tried everything in their power to win. An upset by a team like UTEP or FAMU would be huge. Look at Appalachian State a couple years ago when they beat Michigan it puts them on the map so to speak.

Well, yes, but the difference between going to UTEP and hosting FAMU is vast. UTEP didn't need a miracle to win last Saturday. FAMU would need a miracle to win Saturday. It's not going to happen. Or come close. This is a mismatch. FAMU is a mediocre I-AA team. It's a physical impossibility to match up with the Sooners. It was not a physical impossibility for UTEP.

Berry, shouldn't OU fans have foreseen a bit of a shaky start? One returning pass catcher, leader rusher coming off an injury, etc...

Oh, probably, though not that shaky. The Sooners played poorly. No excuses. They played poorly. There's never a reason to expect to play poorly.

OK, super. Really enjoyed it. Talked to you guys next week.

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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