LAWRENCE, KS - OCTOBER 15: Travis Lewis #28 and Ronnell Lewis #56 of the Oklahoma Sooners sack quarterback Jordan Webb #2 of the Kansas Jayhawks during the game on October 15, 2011 at Memorial Stadium in Lawrence, Kansas. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Man am I glad that I got the defense this week and not the offense, to be honest though I bet you all are probably more happy about it. I can tell you even with the 600+ yards they put up it would not be a positive review. I don't care how many times the coaches want to deny it or make an excuse for it, this team has a MAJOR problem in the red zone. I can't explain it, heck they can't explain it, but six games in (and it's not like this just developed this year either) and against a defense like Kansas if you can't punch it in on repeated attempts then you're just lying to yourself if you think there is nothing wrong. But that is Matt's assignment this week, so I'll be interested to see his take on things.
As for the defense, well pardon the cliche but it was truly a tale of two halves. In the first half, I assume I was joined by many of my fellow OU fans in thinking "What the heck is going on out there?!?" They were getting gashed in the run game and we knew coming in that KU had had some success with that this season, but the OU defense was getting pushed around and that just cannot happen. KU was VERY conservative with their play calling, even with the success they were having moving the ball, and took very few chances with the ball in the air. Maybe you can excuse away the first half performance, like the coaches tried to do after the game, by pointing out that they got a good chunk of their yards on two big plays but that doesn't change the fact that they still got those two big plays.
Then in the second half, the defense evidently wakes up and plays about as dominant as you can against another D-I opponent. I mean to give up one first down in a half, I don't care what the competition, is pretty impressive. I'm just not sure how you can play so lackluster in one half and then come out in the second and be, well basically a different defense. If you can believe Brent Venables post game comments, he didn't really rip into them at halftime (as I would have expected) so that wasn't the motivator for the second half performance. Maybe it was the senior leaders on defense or something, but whatever it was it sure would have been nice to get a full game of play like that.
It seems strange, but outside of Aaron Colvin and maybe Travis Lewis I'm not sure you can really single out any individual players who had stand out games in this one. The defense got to Webb five times and we talked about how dominant they were in the second half, but it felt like more of a 'team effort' than really any individual guys having big games (from a defensive perspective). Have to be a little worried that Tom Wort basically didn't play the second half, not to say his replacement Jaydan Bird didn't play well, but Wort is the starter for a reason and has really stepped his game up this year. So hopefully it was just a precautionary more on the part of the coaches, which is very much what I expect. Also, I've heard/read that Casey Walker and Corey Nelson might have gotten dinged up but Stoops said in his post game that nobody had anything serious and I haven't seen anything Sunday morning yet to dispute that. So hopefully any possible injuries are minimal.
Look, it's really this simple. As a fan base, we're spoiled. There is no denying that. We have, at least some of us, impossibly high standards. But understand, we're that way because this program has, is, and will continue to be so freaking good. So yeah, we expect you to come out and dominate a team you're supposed to dominate. Personally, I don't think there is really anything wrong with that. I also don't think there is anything wrong with being upset or disappointed in the team when that doesn't happen. Now that said, it is just as important to keep things in perspective when you're venting that frustration but that doesn't mean you can't do so in an intelligent manner. So for those of you, like myself, who aren't exactly thrilled with the team's performance at times last night, know that CCM is a place for OU fans to come and vent if that's what they need. And for those of you who are content (is that the right word?) with how the team played last night and roll your eyes at the fans like me, well you're also more than welcome here as well. But do us all a favor and spare me the lecture about how I/we shouldn't be complaining after a 30 point win. I'll just tell you right now, you're not going to convince me I should be "satisfied" with that performance just like I'm not going to convince you that you shouldn't be. But that's one of the things that I feel makes what we do here so great for OU fans, because we can come here and each voice our opinion and still all get along (man, that sounds really cheezy!).
So please just keep that in mind today and in the coming days. Some of you are okay with last night and some of us maybe not so much, but at the end of the day we're all OU fans and it was a win. So obviously things can't be all that bad :)