Power Lunch Chat with Jenni Carlson transcript, Sept. 14, 2012

NewsOK Sports Columnist Jenni Carlson took questions from readers during Friday's Power Lunch chat. Participate in our Power Lunch Chats Monday-Friday at 11 a.m. on NewsOK.com/Sports.
by Jenni Carlson Modified: September 14, 2012 at 1:13 pm •  Published: September 14, 2012

The Oklahoman's Jenni Carlson took questions from readers in Friday's Power Lunch Chat. Below is an unedited transcript of the chat.

NewsOK Sports 10:35 a.m. Jenni will be signing in at 11 a.m. You can start submitting your questions now.
Jenni Carlson 10:45 a.m. Hey, all! We'll start the chat at 11 a.m., but you can send your questions in now. We'll talk about anything -- OU, OSU, Thunder, high schools. It's all up to you!
Jenni Carlson 10:58 a.m. Keep those questions coming! We're about to start.
Jenni Carlson 11:00 a.m. All right, folks. It's go time!
Billy Joe Bob 11:00 a.m. Any chance Roy Finch will transfer?
Jenni Carlson 11:01 a.m. I think there is that possibility. I mean, the guy looks like he's capable to do lots for the Sooners, but he hasn't been able to get on the field. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:02 a.m. He seems to be in the doghouse, and he is struggling to get out of it. Josh Heupel said the other day that Finch needs to continue to earn touches by what he does in practice. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:03 a.m. I guess Finch isn't doing what the coaches want him to do in practice because it looks like he can do things plenty of things the coaches want on the field.
Jenni Carlson 11:05 a.m. By the way, folks, I'm doing our Google+ hangout while I'm chatting, so if my answers are a little slow here, you'll know why.
Cody W McPherson 11:05 a.m. What do you think of the new face mask? Is this something that will hurt the players by limiting their vision?
Jenni Carlson 11:06 a.m. The Justin Tuck-like facemasks have already been used by guys in games, so I don't think it's hindered anything yet. If a facemask was detrimental to the way a guy could see, I doubt they would continue to use it. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:07 a.m. A lot of these guys pick their facemasks on style, not on substance. That makes me believe that the facemasks are all pretty much the same in terms of how they protect a guy and how a guy can see out of them.
Billy Joe Bob 11:07 a.m. Do you think that Damien Williams gets to start vs KSU?
Jenni Carlson 11:09 a.m. I'm not sure if he'll start, Billy Joe, but I do know that he'll get the most carries. He has really shown an ability that no other Sooner tailback has. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:09 a.m. He has speed and toughness that none of those other guys are displaying. I mean, I love Dom Whaley as much as anyone. The guy was a great story and a great player last year. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:10 a.m. But he's not running as hard or as well as he was last year. Now, I think it might just take him a bit to get his legs back under him after his injury. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:12 a.m. But while Dom is getting his legs back under him, Damien Williams looks to be running right by him.
Tom 11:12 a.m. Is the talent level down at OU. Is that the reason they have been losing an average of 3 games/year for the last seven years? Do you think that the rise of OSU football has hurt the recruiting at OU?
Jenni Carlson 11:13 a.m. I'm not sure the talent level is down, but the depth clearly isn't as good as it has been. You see it at several different positions. Offensive line. Safety. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:13 a.m. The deeper you go on the roster, there seems to be a bigger talent drop off than there used to do. So, I'm not sure the starters now are any less talented than teams of the past, but the depth sure doesn't seem to be there. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:15 a.m. I'm not sure OSU has hurt them with recruiting because there aren't a ton of stories about guys picking OSU over OU. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:17 a.m. I think what has hurt the Sooners is the evaluation of some players. They've had some guys who haven't come close to being as good a players as they were projected. They've had some guys who left the program or quit football all together. They've had other guys get suspended or booted. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:19 a.m. To me, that's a reflection on recruiting. The coaches have to dig deep into a recruit's personality. Obviously, you can't know EVERYTHING a guy's going to do once he gets on campus, but if you have a BUNCH of guys who are quitting or faltering, then that is a problem.
Larry 11:19 a.m. Your pick for the best active head coach in college football?
Jenni Carlson 11:20 a.m. Gotta go with Nick Saban. The guy isn't beloved, but you sure can't fault what he's done. Alabama has been a force and is going to continue to be force for a long time to come, and when you're trying to fight through the SEC each year, that is a huge accomplishment. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:20 a.m. And that's a nod to Saban.
KJ 11:20 a.m. Lot of concern over Harden and how a new contract could cause problems for the Thunder. Can KD and Westbrook restructure their contracts to provide some relief and help with signing Harden or is that not really an option in the NBA?
Jenni Carlson 11:21 a.m. I suppose it's possible that KD and Russ could restructure their contracts, but I doubt that would happen. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:23 a.m. It just seems like Harden might be the odd man out. He was the youngest of the three perimeter guys, so KD and Russ were already signed when it came time to extend Harden. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:24 a.m. Add in the fact that he's the same age as Ibaka, I think the Thunder may have decided to extend the big man first, then try to get a deal done with Harden. And in the end, they might not be able to make that Harden deal happen.
Billy Joe Bob 11:24 a.m. Why is there such a glaring difference in receptions between Kenny Stills and all other WR/TE? Is Landry Jones becoming too dependent on Kenny Stills, or is no one else is getting open on a consistent basis?
Jenni Carlson 11:25 a.m. I don't think Jones is becoming dependent. I think he's becoming comfortable, and that is a great thing for the Sooner offense. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:25 a.m. Think of it this way -- was the OU offense better when Jones had Broyles last season, who he was extremely comfortable with, or was it better without Broyles? ...
Jenni Carlson 11:26 a.m. It was obviously better with Broyles, and if you took Stills out of the offense now, the Sooners would struggle. I think the growing comfort between Jones and Stills is a huge positive for OU.
Larry 11:26 a.m. Do you think J. Randle will turn pro after this season?
Jenni Carlson 11:28 a.m. If he can't hold onto the ball against the Arizona Wildcats, how is he going to hold onto against the Arizona Cardinals. Or the New York Giants. Or any other NFL team. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:30 a.m. He may go, but at this moment, I'm not sure he's ready. He's obviously shown a great deal of talent, and if he can put it all together for the rest of the season, he probably will be ready for the NFL. It's definitely something I'll be interested in watching as this season goes on.
Larry 11:30 a.m. Are OU's starting LB's very good, in your opinion,and why doesn't Jayden Bird get more playing time at that position?
Jenni Carlson 11:32 a.m. Oh, I think the starting linebackers are OK. Not the greatest OU has ever had, but they're definitely a capable bunch. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:33 a.m. The reason most guys don't play as much as other guys is because they aren't as good. That'd be the reason I'd say Bird isn't out there more. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:33 a.m. Also, he's been playing fullback as well. Maybe they've decided to focus him more on that than on linebacker.
Jenni Carlson 11:33 a.m. We're going OVERTIME on the chat! Lots of questions, so I'll try to get through as many as possible before 11:45.
Tom 11:34 a.m. When OU takes a started out of the game, often he is replaced by a freshman. What is going on that so many players have been dismissed or transfered to cause this lack of depth? We have not seen this level of people leaving in the past. Seems like that would be a good article for the paper to write about. I think something has changed, but don't know what.
Jenni Carlson 11:35 a.m. As I mentioned before, depth is one of the biggest issues for the Sooners. We actually have a story on that planned for tomorrow's paper! ...
Jenni Carlson 11:35 a.m. Jason Kersey is going to dive into the issue. Why are some positions so thin? Why are freshmen relied upon so much in some areas? You'll want to check it out.
Larry 11:36 a.m. Your thoughts on Damien Williams compared to Dom Whaley?
Jenni Carlson 11:37 a.m. Right now, Williams is running better than Whaley. That's the bottom line. Maybe Whaley will improve as the season goes on, but as for now, Williams is the guy I would go to if I was the Sooners.
Flower Mound Cowboy 11:37 a.m. Any chance the cowboys break ot orange helmets for a game this season?
Jenni Carlson 11:38 a.m. From what we know, they don't have any orange helmets yet in Stillwater. The talk is that they'll get 'em eventually, but as of now, they have not arrived. I'd love to see orange helmets, though. My high school had orange helmets, and I always thought it looked cool.
Larry 11:38 a.m. Your thoughts on Landry Jones performance so far?
Jenni Carlson 11:39 a.m. I'd give him an A- or B+. Really strong, in my opinion. With the exception of a couple sacks that he could've avoided by throwing the ball away and a pair of bad throws vs. FAMU, I think he's been really good.
Tom 11:39 a.m. What is ths preoccupation with Roy Fitch? If he is the 4th best running back and 3rd best slot receiver, then he can't be expected to get in the game very often. Are the fans doubting the coaches assesment of him?
Jenni Carlson 11:40 a.m. The preoccupation is that when he comes in, he tends to do some positive things with his limited touches. People want more. Perhaps, at 5-foot-whatever, he isn't capable of doing more, I don't know. But that's why people like Finch. He's a bit of a lightning-in-a-bottle guy.
Larry 11:40 a.m. Is Alabama the best college team right now?
Jenni Carlson 11:41 a.m. I actually like USC better. I'm a big believer in Matt Barkley, who I believe would give Bama's defense some fits.
KJ 11:41 a.m. How much trouble is OU in with their O-line? I would be awfully worried if I were them about another injury.
Jenni Carlson 11:41 a.m. Clearly, another injury would be bad, bad, bad. But if they don't have another injury, I think this bunch could be OK. Not great. But not bad.
Tom 11:41 a.m. I have heard from former players that Cale Gundy is not only tough but he is mean. Part of the reason for so many running back transfers. Have you heard that?
Jenni Carlson 11:42 a.m. You hear all sorts of things. That's one that I have heard, and as always, coaching enters into the equation for some guys when they transfer. I'm sure that's been a factor for some and a non-factor for others.
Larry 11:42 a.m. Have you seen Switzer since the season has started?
Jenni Carlson 11:43 a.m. I haven't personally seen him, but Stephanie Kuzydym interviewed him just last week.
Larry 11:43 a.m. Do you have a score prediction for OU/K-State yet?
Jenni Carlson 11:43 a.m. Nope. It'll be in the paper next Thursday. :)
Tyler 11:43 a.m. Hey Jenni do you think Thunder will re sign James Harden
Jenni Carlson 11:43 a.m. I wish the Thunder would, but I'm worried it's not going to happen, Tyler. I just don't think it's going to work financially.
Tom 11:43 a.m. Do you think that Josh Heupel has a forceful enough personality to over ride a Cale Gundy decision about who will start and play at the running back decision.
Jenni Carlson 11:44 a.m. Yes, I do. If Josh felt that passionately about something, I think he'd override. But the truth is, it really doesn't matter who starts. It matters who gets the significant carries. And right now, that guy is Damien Williams.
Guest 11:44 a.m. Im wondering about OU's Offensive line. Will it be exposed in big12 play? How are the performing per se?
Jenni Carlson 11:45 a.m. I think the O line has been decent. It needs to get better, but frankly, after the injuries before the season started, this bunch is still working to get better as a unit. That takes time. I suspect by Big 12 play, they'll be better than they were in Week 1 or 2.
Larry 11:45 a.m. Is Steph K. a keeper? She seems to be doing pretty darn good so far.
Jenni Carlson 11:46 a.m. She's ABSOLUTELY a keeper. We didn't hire her on a short-time basis. She's here to stay.
Tom 11:46 a.m. If your Google+ hangout means less time to ask question, then I think you should not do it.
Jenni Carlson 11:46 a.m. I'm chatting LONGER, actually, so I hope that makes the hangout OK, Tom! :)
Larry 11:46 a.m. Will Texas be a contender for the Big 12 title this season?
Jenni Carlson 11:46 a.m. I don't think they're better than West Virginia, OU or Kansas State, so I'd have to say, No.
KJ 11:47 a.m. Do you (and Trammel for that matter) really believe that the OSU performance vs UA was normal? We've never seen OSU play as undisciplined as they did...I don't foresee that as the norm and can't understand why everyone is screaming about the sky falling.
Jenni Carlson 11:47 a.m. I don't know if it was normal. Arizona is really the only true game OSU has had this year, and in that game, the Cowboys were abysmal. Remember, this team is a different team than last year, so we can only judge them on this year's games.
Guest 11:47 a.m. Jenni are you and berry going to do the we pick em thing today
Jenni Carlson 11:48 a.m. Our video? We shot it yesterday, so it should be posted soon.
Flower Mound Cowboy 11:48 a.m. Do you think if Joe Randall puts the ball on the carpet once tomorrow, he gets pulled?
Jenni Carlson 11:48 a.m. I suspect he might get pulled for a bit. Obviously, he can't sit out forever. They need him out there. They also need him to figure out how to hold onto the ball.
Larry 11:48 a.m. Has Broyles play at all for the Lions so far?
Jenni Carlson 11:49 a.m. I'm not sure, Larry. I don't think he had any catches Week 1, but I could be wrong.
Rich 11:49 a.m. What percentage do you think Harden stays with the Thunder?
Jenni Carlson 11:49 a.m. Right now, I'd say 25 or 30 percent chance. I don't think it's very good.
harry man 11:49 a.m. jenni, you need to tell your editor that harry man needs to be on this program...
Jenni Carlson 11:49 a.m. Harry Man, I'll be sure to pass that along.
cynthia r 11:50 a.m. how do I watch the hangout or is this just a chat?
Jenni Carlson 11:50 a.m. Sorry I didn't see this question sooner. The hangout is on our sports page at NewsOK.com. I think you just click it and it takes you there.
Jenni Carlson 11:51 a.m. Hey, folks, I've got to go. Hope you enjoyed a little extra time in the chat. Your questions were great. Be sure to come back and join the fun again next week. Oh, and remember, we'll have a live game chat during OSU vs. Louisiana-Lafayette tomorrow. See you there!
by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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