NORMAN — Oklahoma did not play particularly well last week against Missouri because it did not practice well before it played Missouri. That's been the consensus from the Sooners' players and coaches, including Bob Stoops on Tuesday in his weekly news conference.
Defensive coordinator Brent Venables said OU's bad practices last week were the first ones since preseason camp began.
“I could tell we weren't as on edge or on point as we had been in the previous few weeks,” Stoops said. “It hasn't been a trademark of the better teams we've had.”
He added that Monday's practice, the beginning of Ball State preparation, was much improved.
“I told them our best teams got better through the year,” Stoops said. “Each and every week, regardless of who we were playing, it was more about us making improvement. The guys were (eager) to make improvement. Those better teams we've had, when we had undefeated regular seasons, were just that way.
“I called them like robots, which I say that in a complimentary way, because they had one way to practice and one way to play. It was always pushing themselves to make improvements. If we're going to have any kind of year here, we're going to have to do that. It's a long road. The better teams get better. Hopefully we'll make some strides here this week.”
With veteran leaders such as receiver Ryan Broyles and linebacker Travis Lewis, is it at all surprising for Stoops to have to remind this group of Sooners how to practice nearly a month into the season?
“Yeah, it is,” Stoops said. “In my eyes, that was disappointing, that we had a week of practice like we did at this point in the year.”
The Sooners (3-0) defeated Missouri 38-28, but it had periods of ragged play – especially on defense – early and late in the game. The Tigers had 532 total yards, including 262 rushing yards.
As much as Stoops has been critical of his team, he has repeatedly mentioned that he thinks Missouri is better than it's being given credit for.
“We won by 10 points against a team that won 10 games last year and we thought would be a tough game,” Stoops said. “Sorry we didn't play perfect. Bottom line is, it's a win. It's the third game. We'll get better, I hope.”
Stoops on some other topics:
On Ball State. Is there something special about MAC teams springing upsets each year?
“In today's world, there's a lot of good football players everywhere. There really is. They've got a lot of good players. They're very sound and good at what they're doing, schematically. Sure, they're capable of that. Like you say, you see it from a lot of these teams every year.”
Safety Aaron Colvin, who might have suffered a concussion late against Missouri: “He's feeling, uh, good. He went through practice (Monday), so we'll see. He's playing really well.”
Receiver Kenny Stills, who missed last week's game because of lingering concussion symptoms, available? “Yes.”
Receiver Trey Franks: “He's still suspended.” Back for Texas? “We'll see where it goes. Right now he's not back with us.”
Freshman running back Brandon Williams. If he doesn't play this week, does that mean he's destined for a redshirt?
“I wouldn't say that's at all fair to say. We continue to bring Brandon along. He's a great young guy that's working hard. We love him. He's going to play, as time goes. He knows that it's being more and more reliable and taking care of the football and being assignment-correct. … It's only been three games. There's a long way to go. We intend to play Brandon. So hopefully he'll continue to practice in the way that we know we can count on him.”
Will OU look ahead at all to Texas this week, with Ball State coming in?