The Oklahoman’s Stephanie Kuzydym took questions about OU football and OU basketball from readers in today’s Power Lunch Chat. Join our Power Lunch Chats Monday-Friday at 11 a.m. on NewsOK.com/Sports. Here’s a look at today’s Q&A:
ON OU FOOTBALL:
Everybody agrees that the talent level of the football team is down. Does anybody know why?
I would say defensive recruiting. Quarterback reserves are strong. So is the wide receiving corps, the line and the running backs. So Oklahoma's offense seems pretty deep. But the defensive line is gone — some of the secondary graduated or chose the NFL. And nobody's real clear as to how good the reserves are. We heard and kept hearing about Striker and Onuoha a lot though but I don't think that's enough to ease fans' minds.
What is the likelihood of Oklahoma getting a difference maker on the d-line with the 2013 recruiting class?
I'm not sure how to define a "difference maker" in a freshman recruit. Look at Dom Whaley. You never truly know who would be a difference maker. But I would say since they need d-line recruits badly, the likelihood of a 2013 recruit making a difference — at least at some point in his career — is extremely high. But I think you want to focus on Eric Striker, honestly.
Is it possible that the reason that Tom Wort is not coming back is that he was not offered a scholarship for next year? Stoops did this for several players last year.
I don't think that's likely, but I can't confirm that. I think there was strong disagreement and he saw that if he left he could make a little bit of money rather than be replaced with others in his senior year.
Is Norvell headed to Chicago?
No word yet. Stick with us on that one though because it's likely but he hasn't given any indication yet and we have only heard the same rumblings.
What have we heard from the coaches about where Kass Everitt, Cortez Johnson, and Gary Simon are in terms of being ready to play?
Not a lot. I'm not sure what will happen with Johnson because of the arrest and the charges. As for Gary, here's all I've heard — Mike Stoops screamed at him after the Texas Tech game for not listening. Now, that's not that far into the season and I have no idea what Simon didn't listen about, but it was just a moment I saw. Simon was very respectful though and said “yes sir” to him.
I can't stand the people who are so negative about OU football. Stoops has proved time and again that he can make the most with what he has and respond to adversity. I completely trust that he will do it again. Why are so many fans such fair weathered ninnies? You have to believe. It is the only healthy mindset.
There are fair-weather fans of every single team and also ones that clap and shout by every single win and loss. It's just sports. However, Stoops has done a good job but unless there's something in Mike Stoops' defensive guys that we don't see right now, next year could be rough on that side. Probably worse than the 2011 season.
What is your take on recruiting so far this year? Is OU going to be getting any mean defensive lineman?
Recruiting so far. They've lost a lot. They haven't gained many. Fans are freaking out. It's getting late but they pulled it out last year while keeping everyone in the dark so defensive lineman — not yet. They have some on roster already that we've heard of but it's all up to Oklahoma right now.
Is the quarterback job up for grabs or they going to automatically hand it to Bell? I would like to see Thompson and Knight get real shot.
You never know with Bob Stoops and he sure is not going to tell you. I think at the spring game you will see Bell have it — because if not there will be a million and 10 questions as to why Stoops went to Bell so many times when he had Landry Jones as a quarterback but as soon as Landry is gone, he skips over Bell. Doesn't make much sense. However, Thompson and Knight got a lot of praise (especially Knight) from a majority of the senior class, especially the defensive guys that went against him. R.J. Washington could tell you for 10 minutes how much Knight surprised him and what he did. So I don't think it's out of the realm of possibility that you see them.
When is OU going to recruit the SEC for talent?
They have been. You've seen quite a few commits switch from Oklahoma to Texas A&M or guys who once considered Oklahoma and only have Alabama and LSU or two SEC schools left that they are choosing between. But a lot of those guys are choosing the SEC. If you look at the roster and dissect it a bit, you'll see Oklahoma is recruiting everywhere for their positions.
Regarding Tony Jefferson, what would the OU coaches have to gain by talking bad about a graduating player whether it's true or not? To me it can only do damage with recruiting.
You make a point on recruiting, but if they lie, it could also damage scouts — and you know so many recruits just want to make it to the NFL — so if they damage the programs ties to the NFL, then what do they have? Then they don't have as many teams trusting them that they have the right players so they stop taking players so recruits see that nobody from Oklahoma (or fewer) are going into the NFL so they stop wanting to be recruiting to Oklahoma. See the chain? Not saying that's the concrete chain — just a possibility.
ON OU BASKETBALL:
Something seems to be lacking ... what can OU's bench do to improve their air guitar playing?
Too bad they don't have a bench cam because they do more than just air guitar. They call it a three band. Whenever somebody hits a three they all put up their threes and play an instrument. That time, it just happened to catch them all rocking on their guitars. They do a ton of other things on the bench too. Look for a story on it coming soon.
I was proud of the student showing at OU/Texas. What was your favorite chant from that game?
No favorite chant but I thought the sign that said 'C'est notre maison' ('This is our house' in French) was by far the most creative.
Why is Tyler Neal playing first half minutes in big games?
Lon Kruger runs a 10-man rotation. Tyler Neal is a part of those 10 men, so that's why he's getting minutes. Defensively he has done a good job of getting is hands up, not committing fouls and just being aggressive. It's offensively that is the trouble.
What will OU have to do in order to spring the upset at Allen Fieldhouse?
Berry Tramel and I talked about this yesterday. OU will have to stick with Kansas, which I believe they will, for a majority of the game. The difference will be some multiple minute stretch where Oklahoma commits too many turnovers or doesn't grab defensive rebounds and lets Kansas rack up second chance points. So in order to pull out the upset, they'll have to make sure those things don't happen.
Will this OU basketball team make it past the first round of the big dance if they get in?
Depends on who they draw. If they draw a Big Ten team, I say highly unlikely. That conference is just too strong this year. Then again, I'm saying this the day after Miami knocked off Duke and the week of about 10 crazy upsets with court rushes. It's college basketball — that's what's so great about it.
Anything you think OU basketball should be doing differently to improve?
Practice more alley oops? Just kidding. Lon Kruger's got them on the right track and rebuilding a team is a step-by-step process that takes time.