LAWRENCE, KS - OCTOBER 15: Head coach Bob Stoops of the Oklahoma Sooners watches from the sidelines during the game against the Kansas Jayhawks on October 15, 2011 at Memorial Stadium in Lawrence, Kansas. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
This Oklahoma football team is definitely teetering. They're on the verge of either falling into the abyss of a disappointing football season or coming together to make another Big 12 championship run down the stretch. The only difference between the two is how they respond to the actions and voice of their leader and head coach Bob Stoops.
I've often stated to the young men that I coach in various sports that you're not defined by your circumstances but rather how you respond to them. Oklahoma's circumstances are dire. The quest for #8 is on life support and needs a miracle to keep the plug from being pulled. Some players are injured while others are ill and some are even transferring. A Big 12 championship is still a very real possibility and an outside chance at a BCS title run hasn't completely faded away but you have to look real hard to see it. Bob Stoops is going to have to work really hard to earn his keep and prevent this team from sliding off the edge. Here's how...
1. Circle The Wagons! This team will only have each other to rely on over the final six weeks of the season. They won't be the media favorites and they won't find any allies outside of the Norman city limits. Its just them! The team held a players only meeting on Monday and what ever came of that meeting Bob Stoops has to support. He has to allow his captains to lead and handle their business. When your back is against the wall the greatest motivation comes from a tongue lashing or a word of encouragement from a respected teammate as opposed to a coach.
2. Find The Motivation! Oklahoma has started flat in each of the two games following Texas. A large part of that is on the coaching staff. I agree that they should restrict player access to the media. They need to quit reading their own press clippings and lose the big heads. The Sooners didn't attack Kansas and Tech with the same tenacity they did the Longhorns. Stoops couldn't motivate his team through the pursuit of success so perhaps now he can use the fear of failure.
3. Coach With Reckless Abandon! Around the eleven minute mark of the fourth quarter Bob Stoops chose to punt the ball rather than go for it on 4th and 3 from around his own 45. Its time to bring out the riverboat gambler persona of Bob Stoops and throw everything out there, including the kitchen sink. As much as I respect and appreciate Coach Stoops I really don't feel that we can say that Oklahoma left everything on the field and that decision to punt feeds that sentiment.
4. Demand Change! Forget favorites, forget friendships, demand the best. If formations and philosophies on either side of the ball aren't working then ditch them. If a player can't produce the needed result the bench them! I'm sure that Brennan Clay and Gabe Lynn are two of the finest human beings on the face of the planet but its time to recognize that there are better options. Aaron Colvin played much better at the corner spot after Lynn was benched and if Finch has to take all the carries then so be it. Stop wasting downs on a guy who is only going to carry the ball for two yards.
5. Don't Worry About Being Gentle! I can only imagine what it must be like to be on the receiving end of a Bob Stoops tongue lashing. In fact, I don't want to know what that's like. Its clear that he's frustrated and my suggestion is that he take it out on opponents. Don't be gentle, Bob. If you have the opportunity to completely destroy an opponent the do it. I'm not talking about just stomping the throat. I'm talking about stomping the throat, digging a hole, tossing in the carcass and the spitting on top of it. If the Sooners get the opportunity to beat a team by 100 then they had better capitalize on it. Oklahoma needs to draw attention and have people looking their way and saying that they are the most dangerous one loss team in the nation because there's a chance that a one loss team is going to play for the BCS championship.
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