OU football: Loss to Baylor exposed a litany of problems the Sooners face moving forward

The Oklahoman takes a comprehensive look at Thursday's rout in Waco, Texas.
by Jason Kersey Published: November 8, 2013

THREE THINGS TO BE HOPEFUL ABOUT

1. Defensive youth: Evans and Dominique Alexander, another true freshman linebacker, have both seen significant playing time this season, and Taylor started the Tulsa game when Colvin was injured. Even though all have had their “freshmen moments,” they've also demonstrated an ability to make plays that can be rare for such young players.

The fact that OU coaches trust those youngsters to play in big moments says a lot about their potential.

2. Mike Stoops: The OU defensive coordinator's performance this year could be considered one of the finest of his career. The adjustments and schematic changes he made in the offseason have worked well for the most part. His secondary has been strong for much of the season. And his defense played really well against Texas Tech and Baylor, even without two of its best players — Nelson and Phillips. If the defense had gotten any help from the offense against Baylor, the Sooners could've stayed competitive into the second half and maybe even had a chance to win.

3. Cody Thomas and Justice Hansen: Oklahoma could have another full-on quarterback battle during the next offseason, even though Bell and Knight will both be back. The fact that Kendal Thompson still hasn't played — despite all the struggles of the other quarterbacks — could be a sign that coaches simply don't think he's good enough.

True freshman Cody Thomas is redshirting, and Edmond Santa Fe senior Justice Hansen committed to the Sooners last April. Both of those guys would seemingly have a decent shot to compete for the job next season.

THREE MELTDOWN MOMENTS

1. Charles Tapper's ejection: Tapper's frustration led him to punch a Baylor player after an extra-point attempt early in the fourth quarter, and he was ejected from the game. His status is unclear for next week, but don't be surprised if the standout sophomore from Baltimore is suspended for next week's game.

2. Jordan Phillips' video games: In the second half of Oklahoma's blowout loss to Baylor, injured defensive tackle Jordan Phillips tweeted that Call of Duty was “calling my name.” Phillips responded to the ensuing criticism by saying he had two TVs and was watching the game, but it was still the last thing in the world Oklahoma fans wanted to hear during Thursday's rout.

3. Charles Thompson's radio call-in: Former OU quarterback Charles Thompson called into a sports talk radio show after Thursday's game to make the case that his son Kendal should get his shot as the Sooners' signal caller. Thompson is absolutely within his rights to say whatever he wants about his son, but the public criticism of OU coaches was yet another sign that all isn't well in Soonerland.

JOSH HEUPEL AS A PLAY CALLER

* Evidence supporting Heupel: To his credit, Heupel has showed some creativity over the past couple games in his play calling. Against Texas Tech, he allowed Blake Bell to throw the ball downfield on a key third down deep in OU territory, and Bell connected to keep alive an eventual touchdown drive. Heupel's called a balanced, effective game against the Red Raiders, and he showed a willingness to try some different things against Baylor, even working a special package with Knight at quarterback.

* Evidence against Heupel: When Oklahoma was still very much in the game against Baylor and retook possession of the ball, Heupel's calls made it impossible for the offense to stay on the field and give the defense a break. Oklahoma lost the time of possession battle against Baylor, and against Petty and that offense, it's virtually impossible to win without controlling the clock. The play calling was also suspect in the Sooners' loss to Texas earlier this year. Also working against Heupel? The serious lack of his quarterbacks' development this season.

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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