It's Josh Heupel's turn to be second-guessed as OU's playcaller

by Jenni Carlson Modified: December 14, 2010 at 8:54 am •  Published: December 13, 2010

Hoisted onto his linemen's shoulders, Josh Heupel took a ride across Orange Bowl sod and into Sooner Nation lore.

It's been almost a decade since that night in South Florida, and yet, the image of the former Oklahoma quarterback pumping his fists into the confetti-filled air has become iconic. A sign that the Sooners were back. A start of an era of dominance.

No wonder Heupel is one of the most beloved Sooners of all time.

But how much love will he feel the next time the Sooners have a couple three-and-outs?

Monday afternoon, OU announced that Heupel and fellow Sooner assistant Jay Norvell have been named co-offensive coordinators. They will share the game-planning duties once held by Kevin Wilson, now the head coach at Indiana, but when it comes to play calling, that will be Heupel's responsibility.

It's quite a promotion for the 32-year-old.

It's quite a pressure cooker, too.

Every offensive coordinator who has worked for Bob Stoops has drawn fire. Kevin Wilson. Chuck Long. Mark Mangino. Mike Leach.

Yes, even Leach drew some criticism. Too much high-risk passing. Too many fancy-pants formations. Not enough running.

Never mind that the Sooners won more games in Leach's lone season in Norman than they'd won in any of the five previous seasons.

Offensive coordinators are punching bags, easy targets for fan frustrations. Everyone thinks they can do it better. Everyone knows things would be great if only they would stop calling those gosh darn swing passes or those cotton pickin' off-tackle runs.

Heck, with the Big 12 Championship game a couple weekends ago, Wilson's offenses won four conference crowns in five seasons, did it with four different styles and three different quarterbacks, and still, there were plenty of Sooner fans who prayed for Indiana to hire him away.

Tramel: Heupel is the right call Trotter: Heupel or Venables for future head coach?

by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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