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Mike Sherman: Power Lunch Chat transcript, Oct. 1, 2012

by Mike Sherman Modified: October 1, 2012 at 4:10 pm •  Published: October 1, 2012

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?

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by Mike Sherman
Sports Editor
Mike Sherman is sports editor of The Oklahoman, where he has a combined 18 years of service during two stints as a writer and an editor. He covered high school sports for The Oklahoman from 1984-93. He also worked as a news writer for the...
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