NORMAN — Tavon Austin? Gone. Geno Smith? Gone. Stedman Bailey? Gone.
West Virginia is in town for a Saturday night showdown against the Sooners, but the Mountaineers are but a shadow of the crew that last November inflicted the worst beating ever on an OU defense.
But not all the perpetrators are missing. The Brothers Stoops are here.
And all the West Virginia talk this week is showing that the OU defense that night 10 months ago was even worse than we thought. Time stings all wounds.
You know the numbers — 778 total yards for West Virginia; 344 rushing yards for Austin; seven touchdowns in the final 40 minutes for the Mountaineers.
But not until now are we realizing the full absurdity.
OU safety Julian Wilson this week related the madness of that trip to Morgantown, when the Sooners disdained the use of linebackers.
“I feel like I'll have a way better game this year because I'll be playing a position that I know,” Wilson said. “It won't be a deal in the middle of a play I'm told, ‘Julian, you gotta play middle linebacker.' This year, I'll know what to do.”
What? Julian Wilson a middle linebacker? Middle of the play?
“I was surprised,” Wilson said. “When it happened it was mid play. It was like, ‘Julian, go in the box!' I was like, ‘What? What am I supposed to do?' I just didn't know then. In between them scoring or us getting a stop, I was going to the sidelines and trying to listen to Coach (Tim) Kish and Coach Mike (Stoops) tell me everything. It was really just crazy.”
That's one word for it.
If John Blake's staff had come up with such a stunt, he would have been roasted. Stoops gets a little pass because, well, 14 years of solid football counts for something.
But geez, to use a Stoops word. That defensive gameplan, that four-linemen, seven-back alignment that worked little against Baylor and none at all against West Virginia, made us wonder if Mike Stoops had lost his marbles.