I love a good proverb, metaphor, idiom or figure of speech that adequately describes the current circumstances of life. When I think of "the chickens have come home to roost", I can really think of nothing more than Oklahoma Football at this point.
As per the American Heritage New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition, "The chickens have come home to roost" means "the consequences of earlier actions are making themselves felt." I would say no other figure of speech, besides random swearing would encapsulate the Sooner season more than this one.
After the jump, I'll make my case as to why the proverbial chickens are indeed home and roosting noisily on the University of Oklahoma campus..
"The consequences of earlier actions are making themselves felt." I'd say this sums up the current state of OU football. There are a number of reasons for this. 1) Bob Stoops' refusal to play anyone other than starters, for any reason, for any amount of time outside of the final 2 minutes of a game...regardless of the score. 2) The abject failure of the coaching staff (in this fan's opinion) to correct glaring issues that have been present for years, plural; this speaks to effort, heart, preparedness, run game scheme and defensive scheme. 3) No accountability for the current coaching staff.
All of these reasons apply, in one way or another, to the entirety of the Sooner program. I think that the most important, yet most easily repairable issue is #1. Bob has got to get youngsters and backups into games in the thick of things. Mop-up duty has done little to nothing for these guys. Drew Allen is a great example of a guy that seemingly has not improved in his time here because he logs about 10 minutes of playing time, per season. This is ridiculous. Guys like Bell and Allen should be in the game for far more time than this so that when Landry melts down (which seems inevitable these days) the squad has a viable back up that could maybe get things back on track. Brandon Williams is another casualty to this short-coming. He needed far more carries in the early going, in the heat of the game, to prepare him for the trial by fire he faced late in the season. This didn't happen and Bob subsequently threw him under the proverbial bus in several press conferences for his inability to hold onto the ball in clutch situations. Newsflash, Bob. Williams hasn't been IN a clutch situation until today. Your fault, coach. This major short-fall of the coaching staff has this team basically in dire straits for the bowl game. OU will be trotting out several untested players into a must-win scenario. This smacks of another serving of Desert Humble Pie for Sooner Nation.
My second issue should also be no secret to the followers of the Crimson and Cream. This team has had all sorts of issues that have carried on from season to season, with all the blame be deflected to the players. The defense seemingly couldn't stop nuns from stealing, yet we utilize the same schemes and have the same guys "making the plans" every week...for years. This seems counter-productive to me. Heck, this seems counter-intuitive. If the problem exists with multiple sets of personnel, surely the problem does not lie with the players, right? This goes well beyond defensive scheme though. The patterns are there of big game meltdowns by the entire team. Not one or two key guys, but everyone in an OU helmet (for one reason or another) is unaware there is a competition going on. This cannot be excused, yet it has been allowed to happen for years. This one also has a fairly direct remedy, but this remedy requires intestinal fortitude at the top of the food chain. There are tough choices to be made to rectify this issue, yet it is not impossible. This issue reflects most poorly on the coaching staff, but there is definitely some level of responsibility with personnel here too.
The last issue is a classic domino effect. It starts with the President, the AD and the boosters and trickles down very quickly to all levels of the coaching staff and eventually to the players themselves. There is absolutely no accountability for the coaching staff. This is not initially the fault of the coaches. That fault lies with President Boren and Athletic Director Joe Castiglione. These two gentlemen MUST take some responsibility for this program and demand more of a coaching staff that has become "fat and happy" to say the least. This team has been embarrassed, nearly annually, by a sub-par opponent and by disturbing margins. This cannot happen if you want to have an elite program. I understand that the two top dogs in Boren and Joe C. have the ultimate responsibility here, but the coaches eventually have to realize that things need to be ratcheted up a notch. Right now, I don't see that happening. This adversely effects the players because they inevitably show the effects of such a situation with performances like we saw this season versus Texas Tech, at Baylor and at Oklahoma State.
None of these things are irreparable, but fixing them has to start somewhere. When will the fixes start? Just like any other problem, the change cannot happen until the problem is admitted and recognized. I don't think anyone associated with this program is willing to admit there is a problem. If that is the case, this could be an agonizing ride for Sooner Nation.
I'm really trying to not be overly negative, but I am very afraid that this program is entering the stall that resulted in the downward spiral for Mack Brown and Texas. Things need to be sorted, and quickly. I have full faith that there are very good football players here, as well as some very astute football minds. The thing is, can any of them get past themselves and their pride to make things happen? I sure hope so.