NORMAN â€” Tight end Trent Ratterree doesn't have an OU football scholarship.
Even though he started four games last season and three this season. Even though he had a 38-yard catch against Stanford in the Sun Bowl, which set up a touchdown in a game OU won 31-27. Even though he scored a touchdown against Florida State in September by running over three Seminoles.
Consider Ratterree just more collateral damage from the Sooners' kicking odyssey.
Bob Stoops has granted scholarships to four kickers, with a fifth promised to yet another kicker.
I can hear the jokes now. How many scholarships does it take to screw in a field goal?
But it's true. Jimmy Stevens, Patrick O'Hara, Tress Way and Bryce Easley have scholarships, and Michael Hunnicutt has been promised one next year. None of the five are seniors.
So when the Sooners are running short of defensive tackles, or there's no scholarship available for a feel-good-story, hard-working kid like Ratterree, you know why.
Throwing good money after bad.
Stoops, who is more frustrated than anyone with OU's field goal fiascos the last three seasons, has reached the point where he's handing out kicking scholarships to everyone this side of Charlie Brown.
That kind of thinking is what got America in all this credit card debt.
Two scholarships to kickers (Stevens and O'Hara) who keep the position in chaos, two scholarships to guys (Hunnicutt and Easley) who can't beat out the first two and one scholarship to Way, who actually is a very good punter and a passable kickoff man. Guilt by association.
Hey, I know that scholarship distribution is a tough call for a head coach even with a dependable kicker, much less a coach who has to make casting calls.
And the easiest solution â€” revoking scholarships and starting from scratch â€” is not humane or even recommended, no matter how tempting.
Someone at OU this week said they believe Stevens gets a bad rap. That his numbers â€” seven of 10 on field goals this year, 11 of 13 last year, 61 of 63 on extra points the past two seasons â€” actually are decent college numbers.
Except for this. OU never tries a difficult field goal. Since Way missed three field goals from between 42 and 46 yards at Nebraska last November, the Sooners have attempted just three field goals from at least 45 yards out.
Stoops has clearly given up on difficult kicks. He'd settle for just making the easy ones.
And if Stoops believed in any of his kickers, he wouldn't be standing on the street corner, passing out books and tuition to anyone who can identify a kicking tee.
Five kickers on scholarship clearly is program mismanagement. No team should have more than two kickers on scholarship, maybe three if you count a punter. And Stoops knows that.
But Stoops also didn't want a potential solution to leave campus in search of a scholarship. You can understand his reasoning. There is strength in numbers. Hand out enough scholarships, and surely a decent kicker will turn up.
Hasn't happened so far. And it's cost the Sooners a chance to increase their depth at other positions and reward a dreamer like Trent Ratterree.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at email@example.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.