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Chat transcript: OSU writer John Helsley revisits Bedlam basketball on the Power Lunch chat

by John Helsley Published: January 28, 2014
NewsOK Sports 10:04 a.m. Welcome to the Power Lunch chat with OSU writer John Helsley. Lots to talk about today post-Bedlam basketball and with Signing Day a little more than a week away. Get your questions/comments in and John will be on at 11 a.m.
NewsOK Sports 11:04 a.m. Greetings, on a snowy and chilly morning from the home office in Edmond. Some Bedlam leftovers, perhaps? All kinds of stuff to talk about. Let's get to it...
Mac 11:04 a.m. Is Ford finally on the hot seat or will Cobbins injury be his free pass (excuse) this year?
NewsOK Sports 11:07 a.m. I'm always amazed at how quickly folks want to fire up the hot seat on coaches. The Cowboys have won 16 games are ranked 8th in the country. And it's time for their coach to go? They've lost three road games in the Big 12 -- all against ranked teams, and all in places that are tough to play. Is it what they wanted? No. Is it ideal? No. This team is still working through some things, which we'll get to soon. The loss of Cobbins is one of them.
Cowboy organge 11:07 a.m. Is Ford the next Scott Drew or the next Quinn Synder? a coach who can "recruit" (wink wink ) but cant game manage at all? looked like a total mismatch last night on the bench.
Justin 11:07 a.m. Simply put good teams "win". Apparently in both the major sports OSU football and basketball seem to falling short of season expectations. If you're Mike Holder what/how do you fix it?
NewsOK Sports 11:10 a.m. Right. Kansas is a good team. Kansas State is a good team. OU is a good team. The road is a rough place to seize wins in the Big 12 and every quality conference. Look, I know this isn't the start to Big 12 play fans -- and the team -- wanted. But why is "fire the coach" always the default position? If the Cowboys beat K-State KU and OU in GIA, will you say fire Self, Weber and Kruger? Foul trouble is a major issue for this team right now. They need to adjust. I know it's being coached. So a lot of this is on the players.
dr. el prez 11:10 a.m. John, many regard Scott Drew as perhaps the weakest bench coach in the Big 12. Yet, we look at his resume at Baylor and see two Elite 8 finishes, one NIT runnerup and one NIT champion. Fast forward to Travis Ford. To date--Travis Ford has one combined NCAA first round victory, one NIT runnerup finish (UMass) at O State, U Mass and Eastern Kentucky combined. Is Travis Ford getting a free pass from the local media?
NewsOK Sports 11:13 a.m. Yep, those Ford teams at Eastern Kentucky sure underachieved, should have advanced farther in the NCAA Tournament. Let's see how this season plays out. The Cowboys were in a similar spot last year, played extremely well down the stretch and finished one game behind KU and K-State in the conference standings. Who would you rather be right now, Baylor or OSU?
Wilheim 11:13 a.m. If a team falls apart due to the loss of one player, then that team was very fragile to begin with. I would like to see the media cease and desist from reporting the loss of Cobbins as the reason for the Poke's decline. What is really wrong with this team; they are worse than last year's team.
NewsOK Sports 11:15 a.m. Who says they're falling apart? They are adjusting, still, with pieces that are not ideally suited for the roles they are being forced to play. Before the season began, interior play was always considered an area of concern for the Cowboys. And Cobbins was their best big man. The team's foul trouble is a direct result of trying the loss of Cobbins. They are having to play big. And physical. And it's not going so well right now. The Cobbins injury remains a significant storyline until they adjust.
Greg parham 11:16 a.m. Why is OAU a good school for me
NewsOK Sports 11:16 a.m. Not familiar with OAU.
Guest 11:16 a.m. I know we miss cobbins but its not like he was an all-American. Will they ever play like they belong in the top 10 the rest of the season?
NewsOK Sports 11:19 a.m. Cobbins wasn't an All-American. But he was a vital piece in what they do, as he provided a lot of positives, some that don't show up in the box score. This remains a very talented and dangerous team. They're not comfortable right now. Again, they fixed things a year ago and have traditionally been a good closing team under Ford. The upcoming homestand will be an important and telling two games for the Cowboys. Baylor on Saturday, Iowa State on Monday. Need to win them both.
skyler 11:19 a.m. I'm guessing its still been quite about the next o line coach. Do you think Gundy has already hired a coach and is waiting to announce it, or will he wait until signing day and then start the process?
NewsOK Sports 11:21 a.m. yes, all quiet on the O-line front. My guess is that Gundy has his man -- or maybe a couple of final candidates. He's always maintained that if not necessary, he doesn't like to impact another program's recruiting by taking away a coach so close to signing day. The Cowboys recruiting is all but done, so no need to rush.
Wilheim 11:21 a.m. What kind of player is Neph?
NewsOK Sports 11:22 a.m. Well, he'll be a walk-on. Honestly, I had never heard of him until last night. Nice hair. Cowboys coaches have done a good job of uncovering some gems. Maybe he's another.
LarryB 11:23 a.m. We were blatantly outcoached last night. Switching ball screens, attacking shooters, keeping different players rotated. Kruger was one step ahead. Adjustments from Ford were always late. Talented players playing with poor technique against well coached teams who may not be as talented individually still generally wins. Coaching does matter. We are mediocre at best. Your thoughts?
NewsOK Sports 11:26 a.m. Kruger is good, no doubt. He's got his guys believing in what they do and they're carrying it out well.
In Ford's case, do we just disregard the foul trouble and the problems it created in strategy? The mishmash lineups. Christien Sager played 18 minutes forcryinoutloud. And they were playing from behind. All these things make you change what you want to do and what you CAN do.
Travis Ford 11:26 a.m. Any advice on how to run an offensive set?
NewsOK Sports 11:27 a.m. Get your guys to quit fouling, so your best players can remain on the floor. Smart played six minutes in the first half. Nash played eight. You need more from those guys. At least it would seem.
Norman sooner 11:27 a.m. As a sooner fan, it seemed the OSU has more ball movement and offensive strategy when smart is on the bench. They seem very much one on one with smart in. Was this just this game or is that somewhat the case?
NewsOK Sports 11:29 a.m. Ah, a good observation. And from a Sooner! There have been times this season when Smart has tried to do too much. I don't think he's being selfish, I think he's trying to carry the team as many expect. But the Cowboys are definitely better when he's playing facilitator and not trying to do too much. When they're on the floor, he has good talent around him.
Steven 11:29 a.m. Do you think there are any spots left in the 2014 class? If so, any guesses on who OSU would go for?
NewsOK Sports 11:30 a.m. For the right guys, they will make room. LB Kenny Young would be such a guy. I don't believe they're really in on Stephen Parker, but he would fit. And there may be a few others we don't know about.
RCTex 11:30 a.m. The media needs to report the facts. Ford is consistently outcoached by the likes of Self and Kruger. He can recruit, but is in over his head in the Big 12. Sounds like you have drunk the Kool-Aid and continue to say that losing Cobbins is the real problem. The problem is with the coach.
NewsOK Sports 11:30 a.m. Noted.
OSUAlum 11:31 a.m. Neph sure has pretty hair.
NewsOK Sports 11:31 a.m. Sunshine, from Remember the Titans.
Clark 11:31 a.m. What are OSU 's chances to get a visit from Georgia LB Kevin Mouhon?
NewsOK Sports 11:32 a.m. Sure wouldn't count it out, knowing Glenn Spencer's pull in the state.
Travis Ford 11:33 a.m. I am good at finding excuse after excuse i.e. Cobbins, Williams, Williams,lack of depth. I hope Holder never holds me accountable for this.
NewsOK Sports 11:33 a.m. Fire the coach! Fire the coach! Off with his head!
Guest 11:34 a.m. John, I disagree with your earlier statement that Ford teams finish strong. I would say the post season results at OSU prove otherwise. This team has not improved since early in the season. The bottom line, if the players are not getting it, has to fall on the coach. This team has way too much talent to underachieve. If Kruger was coaching our team, OSU wins by a blowout last night. Why leave Smart and Nash on the bench in the first half to let OU extend an insurmountable lead?
NewsOK Sports 11:38 a.m. Disagreements are what it's all about in sports. Sparks debate and conversation, which is good. In Ford's first two years, his teams played well in February and March to get to the Tournament. After two seasons of roster overhaul, they did it again last year, won seven in a row at one point in the Big 12, and 11 of 13. The went 1-1 in the Big 12 Tournament and lost to an underrated and underseeded Oregon team in the Dance.
Kruger actually lamented the fact that the Sooners did NOT expand the lead with Smart and Nash on the bench in the first half.
Yes, this team has a lot of talent.
They had Cobbins in the middle all through the offseason, in fall workouts, the preseason and all of the non-conference schedule. Then he was gone. It has not been a smooth transition.
All is not lost.
There is still time.
Orange 11:39 a.m. I expect to see Glenn Spencer get a raise and be named associate head coach to help keep him here. What do you think?
NewsOK Sports 11:40 a.m. i think he would like you to be his agent. Seriously, makes a lot of sense. He fits the associate head coach mold beyond just the title. He's well respected within the program and outside of it. I would do what is necessary -- within reason -- to keep him as long as you can, before he gets a HC gig.
GilaPete 11:40 a.m. OState just scholarship'ed Walk-On FB Teddy Johnson. With the early enrollee TE Frazier, do you see Yurcich utilizing heavier short yardage sets this season?
NewsOK Sports 11:43 a.m. Teddy was rewarded for his work, which was good to see. And I think the Cowboys like the idea of having a TE, for the situations you mention, although I believe the all-out spread is what they prefer, and maybe Frazier can be a hybrid who fits. The other thing to consider is QB. If Walsh is the guy, the offense is different, more run heavy.
Guest 11:43 a.m. JOhn,
Guest 11:43 a.m. John,
NewsOK Sports 11:43 a.m. yes....
Brian Wick 11:43 a.m. Do you see a role for Lleyton Hammons at all this season or is his confidence too far gone?
NewsOK Sports 11:45 a.m. Travis keeps trying to put Hammonds in positions to succeed, and so far it just hasn't happened. He's a kid who has played well in practice, plays loose. They believe he'll be a key cog for the future. But when he gets in games now, he tightens up and is looking over his shoulder worrying about when he's coming out, rather than working on staying in. They could really use the Hammonds they see in practice.
GilaPete 11:45 a.m. John - What's the deal with Yurcich only having 2 scholarship QB's with incoming Rudolph? Most top 25 teams have 3-5 scholarship QB's on the roster. Does Gundy need to give Yurcich more QB scholarships to work with?
NewsOK Sports 11:47 a.m. Walsh and Rudolph. Daxx Garman is a scholarship-quality QB, was on scholly at Arizona. Jake Hubanek is better than anyone knows. Yeah, they could stand to be deeper at the spot. I don't see it as a pressing concern.
Guest 11:48 a.m. how big was the non 5-second in the lane call on ou right before smart picked up his second foul in the 1st half? if it would have been called smart may have played many more minutes.
NewsOK Sports 11:50 a.m. I don't know, always easy to bang on the officials. And officiating is ugly this season. Too many FTs.
But I'd suggest that Smart made a bad foul. Tyler Neal had put himself in jail underneath the backboard and had nowhere to go, with the shot clock winding down, and Smart bailed him out. Bad foul.

Ford's fault.
Tim 11:50 a.m. Do you agree that this is one undiscplined, emotional team? Nash acts like a child when he doesn't get his way. Smart doesn't know when to quit shooting. Fouls, we don't really have to bring that up again. With all this talent, we are still a mediocre team. 1) Do you think Eddie could do a better job with this team? 2) If so, they need to bring in an Eddie Sutton type coach back to OSU, don't you think?
NewsOK Sports 11:54 a.m. At times, sure. That's the way it always appears when you're losing. When winning, you're passionate. Look at the periods of these games when the Cowboys haven't been in foul trouble, they are much better.
Would Eddie do a better job? I don't know. Would these guys quit doing the things they do at times? I don't know.
Just for fun, to play along, who's the Eddie Sutton-style coach you guys want?
Fire away.
Chris 11:54 a.m. With not covering OU, how impressed were you with the Sooners last night?
NewsOK Sports 11:56 a.m. I like the way they play together. Clark is finally playing like the guy he was supposed to be. Spangler knows positioning.
They are a good team.
Their guards ultimately will decide how far this team goes.
NewsOK Sports 11:56 a.m. Coach suggestions, please...
Cowboy Forever 11:57 a.m. Has Mason Rudolph been named the starting QB yet? Long live the AIR RAID!
NewsOK Sports 11:57 a.m. Not yet.
Tim 11:57 a.m. Bill Self (he won't come), Scott Sutton
NewsOK Sports 11:58 a.m. Self won't come, you're right. Scott Sutton, based on what?
NewsOK Sports 11:59 a.m. We're into, what, Triple OT here at the OSU Power Lunch? The clock is finally winding down. Hoist your final shots now.
Dexter 11:59 a.m. Tubby Smith
NewsOK Sports 11:59 a.m. How many times has he been fired?
Guest 12:00 p.m. I wanted Lon Kruger before we hired Travis 2nd choice was Sean Miller from Xavier. I think Athletic Director is in my future.
NewsOK Sports 12:00 p.m. Who's next on your list!?
Dexter 12:00 p.m. Desmond Mason
NewsOK Sports 12:00 p.m. Des, coaching Markel, now that would be fun. Let's do it now.
Tim 12:01 p.m. Scott Sutton, 1) He's a Sutton, a good Sutton 2)Look what he's done at Oral Roberts
NewsOK Sports 12:01 p.m. Yes, what has he done?
Dexter 12:01 p.m. He can paint a mural in GIA as well... So there's that.
Guest 12:01 p.m. Brooks Thompson
NewsOK Sports 12:02 p.m. Oh boy. You actually have to do well at those lower-level jobs to move up. Just having a old OSU jersey in your closet doesn't warrant a promotion.
Insane Cowboy 12:02 p.m. Bobby Knight
Tim 12:02 p.m. Sutton: First or 2nd in the conference 9 times. What's Ford?
NewsOK Sports 12:04 p.m. Bad, bad conference.
Guest 12:04 p.m. I still say we need to trade in the Ford for a Chevy.
NewsOK Sports 12:05 p.m. Chevy Chase? At least we'd have some laughs.
Dexter 12:07 p.m. You want laughs? Jackie Moon. Hire Jackie Moon... We'll have bear wrestling matches at half time.
Guest 12:07 p.m. This chat has deteriorated like the Cowboys in the first half last night.
Cowboy Man 12:07 p.m. Scott Sutton is a really good guy and a good coach. But I think he is where he belongs.
NewsOK Sports 12:07 p.m. OK folks, a lot of Bedlam hand-wringing today. Understood. Completely understood.
It's just me, but I say give this team some time. I give them a great chance to beat OU, KU and KSU at home. And then how do things look?
I've enjoyed it, as always. Check back next week when we see if Leonard Hamilton is suddenly fondly remembered.
Have a great week ahead, everyone!

-- JH
by John Helsley
OSU Reporter Sr.
John Helsley grew up in Del City, reading all the newspapers and sports magazines he could get his hands on. And Saturday afternoons, when the Major League Game of the Week was on, he'd keep a scorecard for the game. So the sports appeal was was...
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