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Oklahoma football: Former Sooner stars critical in wake of Cotton Bowl loss

Spencer Tillman says OU needs introspection. Jammal Brown thinks players aren't physical enough. Steve Davis believes it's a talent issue.
by Jason Kersey Modified: January 13, 2013 at 5:58 pm •  Published: January 13, 2013

NORMAN — Spencer Tillman believes OU coaches and administrators need introspection.

Jammal Brown went on the radio and said he was “mad as hell.”

Steve Davis thinks Oklahoma's football problems stem from a “talent recession.”

Several past Sooner greats haven't shied from criticizing the program they love in the wake of its embarrassing 41-13 Cotton Bowl loss to Texas A&M.

“When you're 14 years deep in it, it requires a unique coach, a unique administrator, to look at the program and judge it on its face alone,” Tillman said in a telephone interview, referring to coach Bob Stoops' 14 years as OU's coach.

Tillman, now the lead studio analyst for CBS Sports' college football pregame show, played running back on OU's 1985 national-title team and then eight seasons in the NFL.

“Programs move from concentrations of great things that make them successful to less concentrations of it,” Tillman said. “Whether that's talent, whether it's intellectual property in the form of coaches, whether it's administrators that hold them accountable.

“Whatever it is that made them great, it naturally goes from great areas of concentrations of that stuff to less concentration of it, and all of the sudden, you look up, and you're not who you once were. I think that's a little bit of what's happened to Oklahoma right now.”

Davis quarterbacked Oklahoma to back-to-back national titles in 1974 and 1975, and remains very close to the program. He said the role of a former player is to be supportive, but also call it like he sees it.

Here's how Davis sees it: The Associated Press crowned its first national champion in 1936. It took Oklahoma 14 years to win its first (1950), five years to win the first of two more (1955, 1956), less than 20 years to win its fourth and fifth titles (1974, 1975), ten years to win a sixth national title (1985) and 15 years to win its seventh (2000), which is its last national championship.

“If you look in terms of one single national championship, this is the longest stretch of time, 27 seasons,” Davis said. “The past 27 seasons, we've won one national championship. We've been in the running and been on the big stage many, many times. That is absolutely a positive because we've been there as much as anybody.

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by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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