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Mike Sherman: Power Lunch Chat transcript, September 24, 2012

The Oklahoman's Mike Sherman took questions from readers in today's Power Lunch Chat. Join our Power Lunch Chats Monday-Friday at 11 a.m. on NewsOK.com/Sports.
Mike Sherman, Sports Editor, msherman@opubco.com Modified: September 24, 2012 at 12:33 pm •  Published: September 24, 2012
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The Oklahoman's Mike Sherman took questions from readers in today's Power Lunch Chat. Join our Power Lunch Chats Monday-Friday at 11 a.m. on NewsOK.com/Sports. Below is a complete transcript of today's chat.

The replacement refs aren't perfect, but do you think that coaches like the Harbaugh brothers and Bellichek exacerbate the problem by showing so much hostility toward them?

Great. an NFL question to start off.

It’s clear that NFL teams have a strategy for dealing with these guys: It's the same strategy middle school and high school students have for dealing with substitute teachers. Try to get away with everything you can, including intimidation if it comes to that. The flag against John Harbaugh for unsportsmanlike conduct last night was a good start. Start throwing more of those and order will be restored. No more of this double personal foul cop out stuff. This isn't the NBA.

OU-Kansas State was a horrible game, Mike. What do the Sooners have to do to get back into the national title picture?

The change has to happen in recruiting. There has to be a good mix of Oklahoma and Texas recruits for whom being a Sooner was something they dreamed of. Those are the guys who are beholden to the program and not the other way around.

Sure you've got to mix in Florida and California guys. Go get players where ever you can find them. Those three Muskogee guys who all washed out? That famed receiver class that included Josh Jarboe? These are the mistakes the Sooners are paying for now. That national title picture? They won't be in it this year, no matter what Landry Jones says. They're not good enough.

Landry's miscues not withstanding, but the OU offensive line isn't very good at all. I haven't been happy with Patton for several years and things aren't changing. Do you think that Bob will make any changes in the staff in the offseason? OU seems to be in a bit of a rut and maybe a shakeup of some coaches can reignite things. The defense is much better than last year

I posted a tweet on the Landry Jones sack rate the last four years a few minutes ago. Here it is: 4.4 percent of dropbacks this season, 1.7 pct in 2011, 2.9 pct in 2010, 2.1 pct in 2009.

The line is not dominant. Too many misses and washouts in recruiting. But the coaches have done a good job with the players they've got. Those Landry sacks are on him too. After going a long while without ever firing an assistant, Bob canned his secondary coach and replaced his coordinator last winter. So everyone should be on notice. I'd say it's possible, but not all that likely.

What are the chances of OU going to the national title game if they win the rest of their games?

Big, big, if. But I'll bite. The Sooners certainly have the games remaining to climb the ladder. Games with No. 9 (WVU), No. 10 (Notre Dame), No. 12 (Texas), No. 15 (TCU) gives you the rungs to climb. Again, a big, big if -- because I don't see them winning all those games -- but they could get close. I'd say yes if there was still a Big 12 title game because that would give them a shot at avenging that Kansas State loss. A home loss is difficult to surmount both for the perception and what it says -- you're not as good as you have been.

What is your prediction on Harden? I think he plays this year and in the offseason Presti gets the best deal he can in a sign and trade like maybe young players and/or picks.

The sign-and-trade option is interesting. But since he's a restricted free agent that would mean the team that offered him would need to gain a big benefit from it too. Probably would mean the Thunder would have to take on some salary (bad contract) and Presti doesn't have that flexibility any more.

The fact that they are still talking means a) The Thunder is still trying to make it work and b) Harden wants to stay here. This is a franchise with an intense focus. I can't see them losing it here, even if it means losing a key, key piece. I think Harden is probably gone and may go the route of Jeff Green, getting traded before the February deadline. If he stays he'll be staying for maybe $3 million a year under the market. I give that a 30 percent chance of happening.

Do you think the Sooners will lose any more games this season or you think they learned their lesson?

Here's how I'd rate the rest of the OU season:
DEFINITE WIN: Kansas
SHOULD WIN: Baylor, OSU, at Iowa State
TOSS UP: Notre Dame, at Texas Tech, at TCU
CLEAR UNDERDOG: Texas, at West Virginia

So, yes. I think they'll lose again this season. I think there are some improvements that can be made. But I don't think they have the players around Landry Jones that will allow him to function as he has in previous years. I just don't know if that's fixable this season. One thing I'm interested to see: Will Heupel go to the running game more? Try to shorten the game a la Kansas State. The offense is more mistake-prone and less explosive.

I am a big Chiefs fan and it was nice to get a win yesterday, my gloomy outlook has not changed. My biggest fear is that they stumble around and win enough games to keep Pioli and Crennel's jobs. The Chiefs are going nowhere with the current front office.

The Chiefs were torn up by injuries last season. Pioli has engendered almost zero good will, but Romeo should have for the way the Chiefs played tough down the stretch. Charles is back and in a big way. So is Eric Berry, who could be driving down Ed Reed Boulevard. Don't bury the Chiefs yet.

That was a big win yesterday no matter how bad the Saints are playing. Winning on the road in the NFL is cause of optimism. The 49ers, Steelers and Eagles couldn't do it yesterday. About 20 months ago my son and I drove up to watch an NFL Playoff game in Kansas City. The Chiefs aren't world beaters, but they can contend in that division.

College football is only mildly interesting if OU is a title contender. Now that is settled it is time to move on to something that I am much more excited about, Thunder hoops. Are we going to start seeing more Thunder articles on NewsOK as training camp approaches?

The Thunder coverage will soar. We're having a planning meeting to map out coverage this week. Darnell Mayberry and John Rohde have been cramming in some time off the last month or so, but they're both back and ready to go.

 So will the radio stations be on alert of get rid of Bob Stoops, the offensive coordinator and the quarterback?

About halfway through the game Saturday night I tweeted something to the effect that "remember Sooner fans, Bill Snyder can coach." The response I got back was a lot of insistence that Snyder had nothing to do with the current state of the game. Well, he had everything to do with the second half. He shortened the game, pulled some surprises out of his playcalling bag and outcoached the Stoops brothers. I don't see why that's such a surprise. No one paying attention should have underestimated Bill Snyder and the Cats. I think lots of us, me and Vegas included, have underestimated how much the talent is down at OU.

I think OU can scrap this season and work on Blake Bell or whomever for next season. They will not be able to get the beef on the line this year, due to their loses, or consistent quarterback play to do anything significant. I could be wrong, just my opinion.

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