OU vs. A&M - Offensive & Defensive recap/musings

I'll warn you all right up front, this probably isn't going to be a recap in the traditional sense of the word.  It's likely going to come off as more of a non-sensical rant with very little direction, but that's just where I'm at with this team right now.  What we really need are CC and O^3 who tend to be more positive in moments such as these compared to my general pessimistic attitude. Unfortunately for you all, they are still out of the country so you have to deal with me.  Though I would encourage anyone out there who has another view of things to put together a Fan Post and have your voice be heard.  Until then, you've just got me so here we go.

Before we get into the offensive and defensive side of things, at least one thing I think you'll all agree with has to be said.  It's probably the only thing I'm going to say that you agree with so I'm going to start with it.  I have never had a more empty feeling after an OU victory in my entire life.  It was a win, but no win has ever felt more like a loss (at least in my time as an OU fan) than yesterday.  The morning after, nothing has changed that.  Knowing what kind of person Ryan Broyles is it came as no surprise, but it has helped a little to see how positive he is about dealing with the injury.

Unrelated to that, this was the ninth game this Oklahoma team has played and the ninth time they've yet to play a full four quarters.  I think there is a strong argument to be made that offensively they played one of the four quarters. While the final stats may not look like it, I think the defense played pretty well.  They played three of the four quarters and while that fourth left me with a bad taste in my mouth, it shouldn't negate the fact that they essentially took away the A&M run game which going in wasn't something I thought they could do.  All that said, I may be alone but I can't help but question why this deep into the season this team has still yet to play a full game?  Coaches, players, both, whoever you want to put it on there is no arguing that is still a fact.

Offense

* Ryan Broyles is irreplaceable.  Thank you Captain Obvious you're probably saying.  I know, I know, not exactly breaking news, but it still has to be said.  Maybe his production can be replaced by a couple other guys, eventually, but that's not what worries me.  What worries me is the innate ability he has that no other WR on this roster possesses.  What worries me is the security he provided Landry Jones and how Landry has not shown to have that with any other WR.  What worries me is the attention he demanded from opposing defenses and how much that opened things up not just for the other WRs and TEs, but for this offense as a whole.  Yeah that last one was going to happen eventually, obviously we all knew that but no one was ready for that day to come yesterday.  The simple fact of it is we lost the best WR in the country and the best WR in the illustrious history of this program.  You just can't replace that.

* You can use the wind as an excuse like so many others have already done, but what I saw was another game in which Landry Jones was "off."  He was about as inaccurate in the first half as any game in his entire career and it played a major role in this offense being out of sync.  

* What in the bleep is Josh Heupel trying to do with our run game?!?  Roy Finch is an incredibly talented and explosive player, but there is no getting around his size and the physical demands the position he plays requires. There is also no denying he hasn't exactly been the most durable guy through his first two (almost) years.  So can somebody please help me understand why he got 30 touches in this game yesterday?  He clearly earned them with his play, but that's not the point.  What is the point is that we (yeah, we.  deal with it.) were up by 31 points with the game clearly in hand and Bob Stoops continues to run him out there to take unnecessary punishment.  What is the point of running a 5'6" 170 pound guy into a front seven that all know the run is coming?  Why can't Brennan Clay or Brandon Williams or Trey Millard be taking those hits?  Why do each of those guys all have one freaking carry in this game?!?  Call it second guessing or whatever you like, but this is a stupid and incredibly short sighted decision by these coaches.

* Okay, sorry but I can't let this Brandon Williams thing go that easily.  What in the hell are they doing with this kid??? Why burn his shirt for this?!?  One carry for one yard, really?  That's the chance you give him in this game?  Is it the goal of this staff to never, ever develop a backup to be ready to play instead of forcing them into action with little to no experience?  Because if so they continue to do a great job of it.  To this point, in my opinion, this kid has gained absolutely nothing from the way the coaches have misused him this year.  Again, yesterday with a 31 point lead why in the hell is this kind not in the game?  If the fumbles again then fine, take him out.  But to give him one freaking carry in this game is a joke.

* I'm as big a fan of Blake Bell finally playing a role on this team as anyone, but the 'Bell-dozer' leads me to what I feel is a fairly obvious question.  Which is why can this team line up and get the tough yards seemingly so easily in that package and yet continually fail so miserably in the same situations with their "normal" run game?  Don't get me wrong, I'm glad they're finally doing something that is working but it is baffling to me why our o-line can line up in that formation and hit all their assignments and can't do so other times.

Also related to the whole Bell thing another point I can't get away from.  I'll admit up front this is nitpicking, for now anyway, and I know this.  But is this whole 'Bell-dozer' thing stunting his development as a QB?  Does anybody here actually think Stoops would ever employ an offense like say, K-State?  Yeah, me neither.  So if you put Bell in there and all he does is run the ball, how is that developing him to be your QB of the future?  I'm sure they're doing that in practice, but we all know you can only gain so much through practice.  Also if he throwing out of that package was working better in practice don't you think they'd trust him to do it more in an actual game?  I know there are plenty of us here, I'm one of them, that have our issues with Landry but can any of us honestly say we're ready for Bell to take over?

* Jaz Reynolds continued development is as impressive as it was unexpected.  It will be interesting to see how much that continues with Broyles out, but up to this point he has proven to be a very reliable target.  He seems to have developed a chemistry with Landry and looks to be a guy he can trust when we need a big throw.  Hopefully that just continues to progress as it will be very much needed now.

Defense

* I said it earlier, but the final stats don't really do justice to how well this defense played (at least through three quarters).  500+ yards, almost 400 passing, and a 5.1 avg. per rush against will never look good on paper, but the four turnovers forced played a much bigger role in this game than those other stats did.  Why they chose to lay down in that 4th quarter I'll never really understand, but I guess that's just me being a jerk fan.  I know Bob and Brent would tell me those points and yards don't matter, but again I'm just an a-hole fan who hates to see our defense go into Pre-Venables mode and give that crap up after playing so well for three quarters.  Clearly they don't care and I guess I care too much, but just as they're fine with not caring I'm fine with caring too much.

* For what I'm assuming is the first time all year, the OU defense failed to record a sack.  However I don't think that automatically equates to this front four playing a poor game.  While they clearly struggled against a quality A&M o-line and never got consistent pressure on Tannehill, they did have an impact on the game.  One question, have you ever seen a defensive line get more deflections in your life?  And I don't just mean in this game, but over the course of this entire season.  Ronnell Lewis' INT was clearly a result of another deflection, but that knocked down several other Tannehill passes throughout the game as well.

* Jamell Fleming was clearly missed.  He made his presence known early and often and is obviously a key cog in this defense.  His presence in defending the run is something that just can't be replaced.  He had another huge strip that directly led to OU points.  It was good to have him back out there after missing last week's game, man the miracle of modern medicine huh?

* I love Travis Lewis as much as any OU fan, but he's not the difference maker on this defense anymore and I can't tell you how weird it was to actually type that.  However this defense just isn't the same when Tom Wort isn't in there. Wort's not perfect (who really is?), but in my non-expert opinion this is a different defense when he is on the field.  He was sorely missed once he went down and is clearly one of several vitally important players who needs this bye week as much as anyone.  There is no doubting we will need him at full strength if we have want to win out.

* WTF was the deal with Tony Jefferson not playing in this game?!?  He doesn't play a snap on defense (I know you said you saw him JJ, but I did not), but you put him out there on your "hands" team for the onside kick?  Really? Stoops said in his post game that they just felt Joseph Ibiloye fit better for what A&M did on offense and that it didn't have anything to do with injury.  I'm not sure how you deem A&M more of a power run team that justifies playing Ibby more (or the entire game) than you do K-State who virtually does nothing else.  My opinion on Stoops' post game comments, it was a bold faced lie.  No disrespect to Ibiloye, but Jefferson is one of the best players on this defense and unless he physically can't go what A&M is trying to do on offense doesn't mean jack bleep.  Jefferson is on the field, every game, no questions asked.  Stoops is either a liar and Jefferson is hurt or the coaches made a conscious decision not to play one of their best defensive players.  Either way a lose/lose for OU fans IMO.

I'm sure there is more, but you're probably tired of my ranting.  The only other thing that can be said at this point is thank god for the bye week.  I'm not sure there has been another team in OU history that needed it more than this one.

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