The Oklahoman's Jason Kersey took questions from reader in today OU Power Lunch Chat. Join our Power Lunch Chats Monday-Friday at 11 a.m. on NewsOK.com/Sports.
Why is there a lack of blitzing by this years defense? I know at times in past years Venables might have blitzed too often but we aren't getting much of a pass rush from the front four. My theory is Mike Stoops is afraid of giving up the big play which allows teams to nickel and dime OU down the field the proverbial bend but don't break mentality. Not sure that's enough to win big games this year.
I think you'll see more blitz packages beginning with the Texas Tech game next week. Coaches didn't want to blitz Collin Klein because when he's put under blitz pressure, he's dangerous enough with his legs to slip out of the backfield and get big yards. But when OU starts playing better passing teams, I'm sure they'll try more blitzing
I have been a huge supporter of Landry Jones but after Saturday’s game against Kansas State I don’t think he can get the job done as the QB of a program like OU. Is there any chance that Bell will be given a chance at getting valuable playing time this year?
There's no doubt that Landry Jones struggled last week and that his mistakes largely cost OU the game against Kansas State. But benching Landry in favor of Blake Bell at this point wouldn't make any sense. Bell certainly has shown signs that he could be a great QB someday for the Sooners, but I don't see how tossing him into the fire midseason would make things any better. I think that sort of impulsive decision would make things worse and, frankly, be unfair to Bell. He'd have to adapt to being a starter against a tough, tough Big 12 schedule and it might destroy his confidence if things don't go well.
Are the Sooners still in the national title picture if they win the rest of their games?
Well nothing is impossible, and if OU wins all the rest of its games and is impressive in doing so, the Sooners certainly could find themselves back in the discussion. If that's to happen and OU had to lose a game, it's a good thing it happened this early in the season. But I think OU climbing all the way back into the national title conversation is unlikely, just because of how tough the Big 12 looks like it'll be this season and all the problems OU has shown through three games.
How can a big-time college program use 5 of its timeouts in the way OU did Saturday? That was Mickey Mouse in how all that happened. I think Stoops is more worried about playing at Pebble Beach than coaching.
It certainly was puzzling, especially considering OU had an extra week to prepare for K-State with the bye week. The timeout that made the least sense to me was on the 2-point conversion. I think in that situation, just run the play and hope for the best, but don't waste an important timeout that you might need late in the game to mount a comeback on a potential game-winning drive.
What do you foresee for the Sooners the rest of the season?
The only game on OU's remaining schedule, in my opinion, that is not losable is the Kansas game at home. I'm not saying OU will go 3-9 at all, but I could see any of those other team giving the Sooners trouble. If I had to guess right now, I'd probably say OU finishes the regular season at 9-3 or somewhere in that vicinity.
Do you think it would be worth a try to have Bell start? If not, why?
No, I don't think that would be worth a try at all. Even with Landry's problems, there's no reason to try something that radical at this point. Benching a fifth-year senior and four-year starter at quarterback because he lost by 5 points to a ranked team at home? That seems like a big-time overreaction.
In the game Saturday the up-tempo was working and then they want away from it. Are they going to get back to that? I like coach Heupel, but you can tell we miss Kevin Wilson’s up-tempo offense, the time it takes to get to the line. I think OU wins against Texas Tech on Saturday. How does the rest of the season look in your opinion?
I think they'll pick the tempo up as the younger, new players get more used to the offense.
Why wouldn't OU start Shepard in the slot, move Stills to the outside, and have Metoyer come off the bench where he can be eased into the line up? Would seem to be a stronger line up.
I think that's probably not a bad idea at all. Metoyer isn't making plays right now, but I think he's talented enough to get there eventually. Stills, Justin Brown and Shepard have clearly been the best receivers and give Jones his best options, but I'm not sure if we'll see a lineup change.
Is Geneo Grissom still considered the starting tight end? If so, what has he shown to make him the starter? Seems that Brannon Green has played well.
True freshman Taylor McNamara has actually been announced as the starter for the last two games, which did seem kind of strange because Brannon Green, to me, has been the best tight end. I don't think there really is a designated "starter," they'll all three continue to get playing time.
Why isn't there any talk of playing Trey Millard at tailback when OU has Dom Whaley and Damien Williams? Both are really good backs and both can handle more carries. Stoops should put an end to this distraction.
I don't hear the Millard at tailback talk all that much anymore. I do think he should be getting more carries, but I don't think there are really all that many people that think Millard should be getting more carries than Damien Williams or Dom Whaley.
How much longer do you think Stoops will stick around if he keeps up his last two season's records?
I think Stoops will be OU's coach as long as he wants to be OU's coach.
I should rephrase my last question, how much longer will OU keep stoops around?
I still think Stoops will be around as long as he wants to be. He's one of the country's best coaches, and it would be silly to run him out of town because of the last couple years.
It OU's top two tacklers are the two safeties, what do you think will happen when the team faces a good passing team? Seems that the safeties are looking run first and likely will be burned for long receptions, or the opposing team’s run game will be tough to stop, since this front 7 has not shown it can stop the run without help.
I think that's a good question. I would imagine the defense's schemes will be tweaked here and there to adapt to different opponents, but Tom Wort did say that Mike Stoops' system is designed more to allow safeties to make plays than linebackers, which I thought was interesting. I do think OU's front 7 has to get better, though, especially if they are going to make a run at the Big 12 or — unlikely as it is — the national title
You dang Sooner fans stop talking about the NC game! Sheesh! IF you made it there some how Big Game Bob would lose it!
It definitely seems unlikely that OU would get to the title game, but it's definitely not impossible.
Does OU have a shot at the Big 12 anymore?
Most definitely, OU still has a chance to win the Big 12. If they can get some of these problems fixed up and Landry Jones takes better care of the ball, anything is possible
I am really curious why the local media has been so critical of the loss to KSU. The Sooners played well enough to win that game. I know you can't blame any one person for any loss, but Bell doesn't fumble the Sooners win ceteris paribus. This is not an elite team, but all programs have years where they don't have elite teams. Ask Florida, Texas, USC, and until recently Alabama.
Things are never as bad as they seem or as great as they seem. It's the media's job to tell its readers/viewers/listeners about the team and why games went the way they did, so things will naturally seem more negative after a loss because everyone wants to know what happened. And even though it was a close loss, the KSU game still exposed some big flaws in this OU team.
And I disagree that OU played well enough to win, because any team that turns the ball over 3 times — all of which either led to KSU touchdowns or cost OU one — just flat out didn't play well enough to win. Kansas State was the better team Saturday without question.
One more thing I'd like your opinion on: OU seems soft. I know that sounds bad but they don't appear to play physical even against lesser teams. Excluding Kansas State — they played physical on both sides — and in the end mistakes doomed them. Just seems in the past OU was more physical. Poor tackling makes them soft.
I wouldn't call the team soft, but there were definitely times when the Sooners didn't seem very physical. The last KSU touchdown, when the RB broke several tackles and scored on a tough 9-yard run really did make OU look bad, but those things happen sometimes. OU has some big problems, but I really don't think being soft is one of them.
Bob seemed a little upset at the lack of up-tempo offense and the lack of touches that Williams got. Is there a storm brewing between him and his OC's?
I think he probably would like to see a few things change, but I don't think there is any storm brewing.
Metoyer seems to be out of bounds a lot on his routes. Is he not strong enough yet to handle big time corners or is he overzealous trying to make plays?
I asked Jay Norvell about this yesterday. He said Metoyer just needs to be more aware of the boundary on those plays, and that a lot of it stems from just being excited to make a play.
What do you foresee for the Sooners the rest of the season?
Lots could change during any given week, but like I said earlier, at this point I think OU probably finishes something like 9-3. The schedule is extremely tough and I think OU is probably in for another couple losses. Texas and West Virginia seem like the teams most likely to best the Sooners, although I think just about any game with the exception of Kansas is losable in one way or another
A lot of talk about the front 7 after last week. Would having McGee back really make that big of a difference? I know he's a solid player, but he's not a game changer.
I think it would help with depth if nothing else. He's not going to come back and be a world beater, but he'll definitely be a welcomed addition if he makes it back
How about this idea to help Landry's confidence, give Sterling a #85 jersey and tell Landry it's 2010, what do you think?
Interesting though, I suppose, but even with Landry's on-field problems, I think he's a pretty bright, intelligent guy. He might not fall for that one.
So when there is a question in the press conference about Millard getting more touches, the questioners are asking about getting more touches for him out of the full back position?
Yes, sometimes, or getting him touches via the passing game. And even putting him in sometimes as the tailback to switch it up doesn't mean anyone thinks he should be the full-time tailback. People switch things like that up all the time
Do you agree with Coach Stoops that OU's offensive problems are just small mistakes in various places? I mean, the loss on Saturday was ugly, but 4 plays (pass to Green, Landry Fumble, Bell fumble, Landry pick) cost OU 24 points. OU wins that game by 3 touchdowns, it's a pretty good game.
I do think there are small problems in various places that might've made a difference Saturday, but I think we'll really know more over the next stretch. At Texas Tech, the Red River game, Kansas and then Notre Dame will tell everyone a whole lot about how good this team can really be, and how bad the problems really are.