Sooner coach Bob Stoops’ upper lip doesn’t always stay stiff. He got all fired up when asked about blaming his players instead of his staff for the 5-4 start. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
Not a guessing game. Not rock-paper-scissors.
The coaching fallacies of this star-crossed 2009 season occurred not on headsets, but on the recruiting trail and the practice field.
This coaching staff whiffed on evaluating receivers. OU’s pass-catching corps is Ryan Broyles and a bunch of guys. Some might still develop, but others are veterans who have proven they can’t produce on the Oklahoma stage. And since budding star Broyles was a last-minute signee, unwanted by OU until the midnight hour, it makes you wonder what in the heck they look for when eyeballing receivers.
And player development on the offensive line has been atrocious. These blockers weren’t ready for the start of the season and haven’t progressed over the last two months. Still jumping before the snap. Still popping opponents after the whistle. Still getting whipped up front.
Maybe it’s on Cory Brandon and Trent Williams to stay onside, but it’s on the coaches to make sure they’re better linemen in September than they were in March, and better in November than they were in September.
"You’re only as good as your last play or your last game,” Stoops admitted. "That’s how it goes. All of us in this profession are very aware of that.”
His offensive coaches — who now are missing Sam Bradford, Jermaine Gresham, Brody Eldridge, Brian Simmons and Jarvis Jones — have been cursed by injury.
"They’ve had a lot to juggle through the year,” Stoops said. "Certain parts of the year, they’ve managed it well. Other times we haven’t.
"Some of the discipline issues ... our players need to make improvements.
"Ultimately, we gotta get them to do it right. In the end, it’s always the two of you. End of story. It’ll be that way till they quit playing football.”
The press conference continued, and soon enough, Stoops was back in Gary Cooper mode. Straight back, stiff lip, still trying to figure out how to turn his 11th OU football team into something he can stand to live with.
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