It’s been a month.
A month since the Oklahoma Sooners went into halftime down by only one to Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl.
Then Johnny Manziel lit up the second half and handed Oklahoma its third loss of the season.
Another 10-3 season.
Except, this time, Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said the final record isn’t a disappointment. This year’s 10-3 season included losses to once No. 1 Kansas State, once No. 1 Notre Dame and Texas A&M, who beat a No. 1 team midseason that ended up No. 1 again at the end of the season.
Got all that?
This year’s three losses were to the three teams that included a Heisman finalist, who seemed to be making their bid for the trophy — or in Manziel’s case his statement for why he deserved it as a freshman — in their respective game against Oklahoma.
It was a season of MIA linebackers, transfer wide receivers and Landry Jones. It was the return of Bob’s little brother Mike Stoops and the disappearance of phenom freshman Trey Metoyer. It was marked by fumbles at the goal line, a destruction of Texas and, of course, The Belldozer.
Now that the month has past, here are the surprises and underachievers for the 2012 season.
Downtown Justin Brown. Every time Justin Brown made a big play this season, Berry Tramel would say, ‘Downtown Justin Brown.’ Before the season started, few had even heard of Justin Brown. Then he became the biggest story line of the season. He transferred out of the Sandusky mess into Stoops’ success. As the Sooners players liked to say, he became “THAT guy.”
The wide receivers who saved the season. Justin Brown. Jalen Saunders and Sterling Shepard to name a few. None of them had a reception with Oklahoma before the season, but they had a pretty seamless transition of connecting with Landry Jones.
The feet of Brennan Clay. Bedlam. What more needs to be said?
The speed of Damien Williams. Known as “D Dot” among the team. Known as really, really fast to everyone else.
The strength of the offensive line. How many injuries can one team endure? Apparently a lot. Torn ACLs. Sprained ankles. They shifted positions. Brought in two new centers and gave up 15 sacks for third best in the league.
Special team’s specialties. Tress Way stunned. Michael Hunnicutt went nearly perfect and Roy Finch took one back. The Sooners never really had to worry what would go wrong with special teams on the field.
Surprisingly underachieving Landry Jones. The winningest quarterback in Oklahoma history came back for a shot at what he didn’t get the first three times — a national title and a Heisman. In his final interview with the Oklahoma media, the majority of questions he answered were about the freshman quarterback from Texas A&M.
Where in the world is Dom Whaley? He slowly disappeared from Twitter mentions, from games and from interviews. Was he never fully healed?
Zero-star Trey Metoyer. The freshman was a five-star recruit who was highly touted. During preseason, the media thought he would be the freshman of the season. He ended with 17 receptions for 148 yards and one touchdown.
Just Jackie Shipp. The assistant coach for the defensive line didn’t make it in to talk to the media once this season. When you can’t watch practice, how do you know how the defensive line is really doing individually and as a whole if you can’t talk to the leader of it?
The not-as-bad-as-2011 collapse of the defense. Mike Stoops was brought back to save the defense. Then he played seven defensive backs schemes and watched opponents’ running backs run right up the middle. The defense didn’t give up any major plays in key times like they did in 2011, but there were definitely clashing pieces that inhibited them from being a better defense than what they showed.