Frustration levels are going through the roof as we are discovering that this OU football team isn't up to par to the Big 12 Championship teams from the past three seasons. Oklahoma once again leaves South Florida scarred, bruised and with a loss. We can't blame this loss on the absences of Sam Bradford, Jermaine Gresham and Ryan Broyles because none of them play for a defense that allowed Javarris James to run for 148 yards on 15 carries (9.9 yards per carry). In what has become typical fashion for the Sooners in a big game Oklahoma had their share of meltdown moments. They featured 7 penalties, a blown assignment in the defensive secondary, a missed block and a very crucial fumble.
The crux of the meltdown came in the first 10 minutes of the 3rd quarter where OU saw their 10-7 halftime lead turn into a 21-10 deficit. From that point on the Sooners were playing from behind the rest of the way and couldn't make the offensive or defensive plays when they were needed most. We learned that this team still lacks leadership and big play ability on offense but more importantly we learned a few other things that are cause for concern heading into conference play.
- The offensive line hasn't improved very much - In what was proof positive that the Idaho State and Tulsa games were nothing but smoke and mirrors for covering up the short comings of this line they were once again exposed. Landry Jones was sacked twice but spent a considerable amount of time running for his life and the line struggled to open holes for the running backs.
- Regardless of what they say, Bob Stoops and Kevin Wilson can't call the same plays for Landry Jones as they do Sam Bradford - I've never seen more draw plays and delayed hand offs on 3rd and long situations. Perhaps it was an issue with Broyles being out or maybe a protection issue with the line but the reality is that the plays being called for Bradford and the plays being called for Jones are not the same.
- Landry Jones is no Sam Bradford - Come on, we really knew this already but maybe some needed this game to verify that. Jones is a good quarterback but he's still a ways away from a Bradford caliber quarterback. I can still see Brandon Caleb wide open along the sideline in what could have been a back breaker for Miami and a 17-0 lead for OU.
- The defense isn't as good as advertised - In addition to James' insane rushing average there's the matter of Dominique Franks getting lost in the secondary. When OU needed a stop against BYU it didn't happen and when they needed one against Miami either.
- This team appears to be mentally weak - The meltdown occurred immediately after Brody Eldridge missed a block allowing Landry Jones to get blindsided resulting in a fumble. Over the next four minutes and seven seconds OU surrendered 14 points and committed two personal fouls. At one point OU faced a 4th and 40.
The race for the BCS Championship is over for Oklahoma but the race for another conference championship starts this Saturday. By having their weaknesses exposed and being undressed twice on national television the Sooners have moved from one of the frontrunners to a long shot. The bad news is that there is still plenty of work to be done for this team but the good news is that they've got 8 more games to get it worked out.