Mike Sherman: Turnaround for OU starts with recruiting

by Mike Sherman Modified: September 24, 2012 at 12:47 pm •  Published: September 24, 2012

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.

What will be the keys to the game this Saturday for OSU to be able to get the win?

OSU's defense has to get back in the business of creating turnovers. The Cowboys aren't built to get a ton of three-and-outs. They are still a bend-but-don't-break defense that last year depended on turnovers. Teams could put together 8-10 play drives, but that 10th play was going to be a pick. Need those. Depend on those. Without them this is the Longhorns' game, and it's even more important if Walsh is the starter, and I'm expecting him to be.

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.

Read the complete transcript here.

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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