Maybe it's time to give Jay Norvell a shot at calling plays on offense

But Sooners coach Bob Stoops has been so resistant to coaching change over his tenure that an in-season upset of the fruit basket seems almost unfathomable.
by Jenni Carlson Modified: November 12, 2013 at 12:00 pm •  Published: November 11, 2013

NORMAN — Bob Stoops promised an evaluation of all things offensive after being blown out by Baylor.

And by offensive, we mean things relating to the Oklahoma offense, not things that are unpleasant to the senses.

Though these days, those are one in the same.

So, about that evaluation?

“Yeah, we've talked about a lot,” Stoops said during his weekly press conference on Monday, “and there's a lot we'll work on this week in practice.

“But that's all I'll say about it.”

Maybe we'll see evidence of those evaluations and discussions Saturday against Iowa State.

Maybe not.

But it's safe to assume that Stoops isn't pulling the trigger on the change that many in the Sooner Nation want most — play-caller.

Perhaps in his post-Baylor evaluation, Stoops came to a conclusion about Josh Heupel. Perhaps after another lackluster game plan in a big game when Heupel seemed to be over thinking things, Stoops has made up his mind that Heupel isn't going to be his play-caller next season.

If so, here's a radical but rational idea for Stoops: make Jay Norvell the play-caller for the rest of the season.

Yes, Stoops has been so resistant to coaching changes over his tenure that an in-season upset of the fruit basket seems almost unfathomable. And in most cases, I'd advise against change this late in the season. I'd say it would be a panic move.

But in this instance, there's a case to be made for the Sooners changing play-callers.

They have some very specific and very important pieces lined up.

For starters, the Sooners have another assistant already on staff who's called plays before. Norvell did it at Nebraska and UCLA, so the Sooners could place the play-calling duties in reliable hands.

After all, this season is not a total loss. The Sooners still have a chance at double-digit wins, still have a shot at a good bowl game. You don't want to jeopardize all of that by giving the play-calling duties to a novice.

Norvell is no novice.

And if Stoops has decided to go a different way with his play-caller, you have to think Norvell will be considered for the job. He already has the title of co-offensive coordinator and is heavily involved in the game planning. Why not use these next four games as a play-calling audition?

Rarely does a head coach have a chance to test drive a play-caller. Usually, you make a hire and live with it. But in this case, Stoops has a chance to see if Norvell could do the job moving forward or if he needs to go out and find another play-caller during the offseason.


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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