When Tom Wort was recruited he was supposed to be the next coming of Brian Bosworth. To me, he has been nothing but the opposite. He doesn't tackle hard. He doesn't cover well. And his gap play is awful. Does OU not have anyone better than him, to play middle LB?
I don't know that I've seen a lot on this, but one question I'd have about Wort is size. To say he's 6-foot seems to be stretching it a bit. When the emphasis is on filling a running gap — as it has been in Mike Stoops' defense — you're not filling it with a big guy in Wort. I'm not sure he's the best fit for this scheme, and we've heard about tension involving Wort and what he's being asked to do. He may not be able to do it. That's the risk you run with coaching changes. Someone brings in a new philosophy but has not yet recruited the players who can fulfill it.
The other thing I would say is this: Where have all the great linebackers gone? Defending the spread changes the emphasis. Strong safeties who can tackle are more valuable than linebackers who can handle pass coverage.
Quarterback controversy for Oklahoma State?
In whose mind? Fans? Not yet. And the conditions aren't really ripe for one. Beat Texas and Walsh's case would have been strengthened. But what's the longest Lunt could be out? Open week, at Kansas, Iowa State at home. Let's just say Lunt stays out for that stretch and Walsh leads the Cowboys to victory in all three. I don't see how that leaves him with a strong case for replacing Lunt. Any chance of making Gundy's choice a tough one diminished greatly Saturday.
Do you see any Sooners leaving early for the 2013 NFL draft?
I guess there could be a scenario in which Damien Williams' productions increases dramatically and he becomes a 1,500-yard rusher, pushing him into the second or third round. It's possible he could go under those circumstances. Who knows. Running backs from Florida Atlantic are becoming lead backs in the NFL right now. Why couldn't Williams and would he even need more production at OU?
Is James Harden the next Joe Johnson? A pretty good player with a (soon to be) horrid contract.
Interesting analogy, but I don't think it fits. Joe Johnson is a scorer who really doesn't create much for anyone else. Harden's skills at elevating the play of those around him is his most valuable trait. He certainly didn't display it in the NBA Finals, but the Thunder would not have made the Finals without him.
Joe Johnson hasn't delivered like that in the postseason. Johnson is a better scorer. For my money, Harden, potentially, is a better player. That said, he could be playing for a max contract in Phoenix next year and we'll see how well he can carry a team without Durant and Westbrook. Max contracts to someone who hasn't made an NBA All-Star team seems a little risky.
How do you see OU doing against Tech on Saturday?
I think it's a tossup game. It would be best for the Sooners if they commit to a running game a little more and produce. I just don't know if they're built that way anymore. If Williams rushes for more than 100 yards I think their chances improve significantly.
Do you think Texas has any shot at beating West Virginia?
Absolutely. Baylor nearly beat the Mountaineers in Morgantown. WVU needed a near-historic game from its quarterback to beat Baylor at home. So of course Texas has a shot. West Virginia made Maryland's freshman quarterback look dangerous, made Robert Griffin's backup look like Tom Brady. This might be just what David Ash needs to get critics off his case once and for all. I thought he was pretty dang good in Stillwater Saturday.
Who from your staff will be covering the OU/Tech game?
Berry Tramel, Jason Kersey, Stephanie Kuzydym are headed to the land of wide streets (Lubbock) this week.
When will Sam Presti get the best offers from other teams for Harden? Before the 31st with enough time for a new team to sign James to an extension or at the trading deadline? And what kind of offers do you think there would be in the summer for a sign and trade so that the new team would have James' bird rights?
That's a great question. Time to start checking teams with cap room and players with untapped potential and rookie scale contracts. The idea that Harden will leave and the Thunder will be left empty-handed seems unlikely. Berry Tramel believes the Thunder wants to play this out and keep Harden the whole season, so if you're a team that wants him under that scenario the price is probably going to be more expensive during the season rather than after. The Jeff Green trade proves to me that Presti doesn't get so attached to players that he won't consider a deal that's best for the franchise. I'd make Phoenix the leader among teams that want Harden.
What are the chances that Presti trades Harden for another top level player who may be in the Thunder price range due to a couple of subpar (for them) years, a la Tyreke Evans? Maybe a change of scenery and a better organization can get the best out of Tyreke. What do you think it would take to sign him to an extension?
I'd say Evans is unlikely. He's a restricted free agent like Harden, and someone like the Knicks will probably throw a lot of money his way. How about this: Suns center Marcin Gortat is signed through 2014, with a final year deal of $7 million. What if the Suns offered the Thunder a first-round pick and Gortat? Or a first-round pick and Jared Dudley, who is signed through 2015 at $4.5 million. I'd say something like that is more likely.
When does the Thunder media day stuff start? Will NewsOK be streaming anything?
We won't be streaming it, but the Thunder will be. We'll be blogging and tweeting from the Thunder's old practice facility, where it starts at 1 p.m. today.
Dallas or Chicago tonight?
Dallas, but without conviction.
Is it too early to predict a Heisman winner?
The Geno Smith Bandwagon has pulled out of the driveway. I'd like to see how he fares against someone who is actually trying to play tackle football on the defensive end first, but the absence of that sure didn't hurt Robert Griffin's chances, did it.
Do you think Kendall Thompson has a legit chance of competing and possibly taking over the QB spot for OU next season?
It seems doubtful. Did my son put you up to that question? He's 14 years old and talks about Kendall Thompson frequently. I think it comes from playing him in video games. Apparently Thompson is pretty good in NCAA Football ‘12, the last version of the game that entered our home.
Do you think the Thunder has a better chance to beat the Lakers with Serge and Perk than with Harden and Perk? Do you think that Presti agrees since he signed Serge to an extension first?
Sam Presti is consistent in his belief that defense wins. That's that statement made by the signing of Ibaka, whose ceiling hasn't even begun to be approached. So I'd say yes, Presti believes the Thunder has a better chance to beat the Lakers with Ibaka than Harden, if you have to choose one.
How many wins will OU football team have this year?
Counting a bowl game? 9 or 10.
What team is playing the best in the NFL right now?
I know there's a temptation to say the Houston Texans and to mark the 49ers down for that loss at Minnesota. But I can't really separate the two. Both have great defenses and running games.
What about Steph Curry, is he going to get more than his injury riddled career has shown he is worth?
Steph Curry is in the same draft class as Harden. And I haven't seen much evidence that he can guard anyone in the NBA. The Thunder has enough confidence in Harden's defense to put him on LeBron in the NBA Finals. Put me down for a "no way" on Curry.
Any news on the Thunder alternate uniforms?
I think they're going to keep a lid on them as much as they can. Here's where that news could break: the release of the NBA 2K13 video game.
The Chiefs are approaching worst franchise in the NFL status. Do you think that Pioli gets axed, or will Hunt keep him because the Chiefs are profitable?
The Chiefs were in the playoffs 19 months ago. That said, Pioli's goodwill account is zero. If they don't show improvement I think he could be gone. That said, I'd rank the Chiefs ahead of the Raiders and Browns.