And Stoops knows it. That's why he shook up his staff last season. James Patton and Jackie Shipp weren't jettisoned, along with Bruce Kittle, because they suddenly couldn't teach interior line technique anymore.
Stoops recognized that he needed new recruiting blood. The Sooner talent taps had grown stale.
Don't believe it? Wide receiver is considered a position of strength for the Sooners. OU is shy of defensive linemen and has had to resort to true freshmen at linebacker. But receiver is perceived as a solid unit, especially since Justin Brown and Jalen Saunders fell out of the sky in summer 2012 and Saunders remains an OU playmaker.
Know who started at receiver against Baylor? Trey Franks, who has been suspended twice in his OU career and spent 2012 and the first six games of 2013 as a safety who rarely played.
OU needs better receivers. And better blockers. And better tacklers. And better pass defenders. Better everything. The overall talent has dipped from the championship days.
So while debate can rage about where the Sooner program is — Stoops likes to point out that OU has more wins the last two seasons than any other Big 12 program; Stoops' detractors like to point out that the average AP final ranking of his first five years was sixth, his next five years 10th and the most recent five years 17th — debate can end on OU's talent level.
It's down. And that's why the Sooners have fallen and won't get back to their desired status until the talent rises.