WACO, Texas — The last time Bob Stoops came to Floyd Casey Stadium, he went home whipped, taking stock of his defense.
This time Stoops came to Floyd Casey, he went home whipped, taking stock of his offense.
Good thing Stoops won't have to return to this bound-for-the-wrecking-ball coliseum. He might have to take stock of his entire program.
Which wouldn't be such a bad idea, come to think of it.
Baylor whipped OU 41-12 Thursday night in a verdict that most saw coming, but few in this manner. With the Baylor defense dominating.
The 12, not the 41, was the embarrassment of this blowout loss to what not so long ago was the Big 12's doormat.
Baylor's offense can light you up. But when Baylor's defense shuts you down, there is trouble in Soonerville.
“Defensively, they were all over us all day,” Stoops said.
This was bad. On a night when the OU defense held up for longer than anyone had a right to expect, the offense did not pull its weight.
“It's extremely disappointing that we didn't come out and play better,” offensive coordinator Josh Heupel said. The reasons were many.
“Throwing and catching it,” Heupel said. “Third-down conversions. Being more efficient running the football. The penalties that get us behind the chains.”
The Sooners finished with just 237 total yards. The only touchdown came on a third-quarter drive that was full of innovation (inside screen, fake reverse, a rollout pass) and execution but served only as a reminder of how futile were OU's other 13 possessions.
This was a performance so rotten, it makes you wonder if Heupel's or Blake Bell's or anyone's job is safe.
Stoops said Bell wasn't the problem Thursday night and would remain the OU quarterback. That's probably true, though you wonder if Bell will keep the job going into 2014, when the Sooners will have a veteran team but will need a quality QB to return to championship status.
Bell was not good at all against Baylor, but he wasn't the only suspect.
The Sooners failed to block the Bears at the point of attack. If this OU team can't run on this Baylor team, the Sooners have no chance.
“They give you the box, you've got to block it,” said OU center Gabe Ikard. “There's no excuses for not being able to run the ball.”
The accepted blueprint to beat Baylor is control the ball. OU ran for 98 yards on 34 carries. That won't get it done.
And sure, the Sooners missed fullback star Trey Millard, who is lost for the season to a knee injury. But Baylor lost star tailback Lache Seastrunk early in the game, and his backup, Shock Linwood, ran for 182 yards on 24 carries.
But Heupel's status never has been lower. His gameplan, much like the Texas fiasco, didn't work at all.
And yes, if you've got quarterback trouble, you've got offensive trouble. But Heupel is the QB coach. Bell is a fourth-year junior who has had his moments (Notre Dame, Texas Tech) but who also hasn't seemed to develop like you'd expect from a veteran.
Two years ago, after Robert Griffin torched the Sooners for a 45-38 upset, Stoops was motivated to switch his defensive leadership. Within six weeks, Mike Stoops was in and Brent Venables was out.
So the Heupel watch officially has begun. Bob Stoops went 13 years without firing a coach. Now he's fired four and demoted another in the last two seasons. Stoops has proven he's got a guillotine and will use it.
The offensive failure was even more disappointing after the success against Texas Tech 12 days previous. You thought maybe the Sooners had turned the corner.
But no. At halftime, the Sooners had eight first downs. Four earned, four via Baylor penalties.
OU had third-and-goal at the Baylor 2-yard line (courtesy of three straight penalties) and fourth-and-goal at the 1-yard line. And was stuffed.
OU got a 55-yard kickoff return from Jalen Saunders, to the Baylor 12-yard line, and settled for a field goal.
OU had a first down at the Baylor 31 and a 5-3 lead, and settled for a 48-yard field goal try that Michael Hunnicut pulled left.
Soon enough, the Baylor offense kicked into high gear, and the rout was on.
So the 7-2 Sooners are left to scramble for minor bowl positioning, while Baylor, Texas and OSU wrestle for the Big 12 championship.
And leaving Stoops to decide where to go next season with both his quarterbacking and his coordinating.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.