STILLWATER, OK - DECEMBER 03: Landry Jones #12 of the Oklahoma Sooners throws against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at Boone Pickens Stadium on December 3, 2011 in Stillwater, Oklahoma. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
There's a very thin line between arrogance and ignorance. So think that I honestly have no idea which side Oklahoma's offensive coaches are on. After watching Kansas State and Iowa State carve up the Cowboy offense on the ground over the last month the Sooners decided to forego the notion that they even have running backs on the roster and threw the ball 38 times in the first half while only running it 9 times. In essence, Oklahoma stepped up and challenged the Big 12's most prolific offense to a shootout which resulted in a 44-10 beat down.
Here's where the arrogance or ignorance question comes into play. Did the Oklahoma coaches not know about an OSU defense that averaged giving up 4.4 yards per carry and 187 yards per game on the ground or did they not care? Running the ball was never a part of Oklahoma's game plan and inquiring minds want to know why? Did Josh Heupel really think that an offensive attack minus Dominique Whaley, Ryan Broyles and Jaz Reynolds could really match Oklahoma State blow-for-blow? Surely he's not that ignorant! That could only mean he's that arrogant.
Oklahoma never had a chance with this game plan. The Sooner passing attack has been anemic and inept since Ryan Broyles suffered a season ending knee injury against Texas A&M and a pass heavy attack played right into Oklahoma State's hand. Not only did the Cowboys enjoy living in Oklahoma's offensive backfield they also enjoyed having plenty of time for their own offense to carve out 6.8 yards per play and 468 total yards against Oklahoma's defense.
I'm a big fan of Landry Jones and always have been. His character is impeccable and he's been a lot better of a Sooner quarterback than a lot of people give him credit for. The coaching staff did him no favors by putting the game on his shoulders Saturday night. They might as well have sent him into a fire fight with a sling shot because it was just that brutal. He hasn't really found a rhythm since Broyles went down and that continued into Bedlam. Many of his passes were off target and several others were dropped. The there's the fact that he fumbled the ball backwards twice for a total of 70 yards in losses. Landry Jones was set up to fail and that's exactly what he did. I realize how harsh that sounds but that's what it is. However, I don't put the blame on him.
With just under three and a half minutes left in the game freshman quarterback took the ball around the right side on an option keeper and ran 29-yards for Oklahoma's only touchdown of the game. It was much more than just a garbage time touchdown. It was evidence that the problems the Cowboys had in containment on the edge against Kansas State is still there. Did Oklahoma try to exploit this at all? Nope! Because in order to do so you have to have an offensive game plan that includes a rushing attack.
I think that the biggest piece of evidence on the field Saturday night was the fact that Oklahoma has completely become a finesse team offensively. So much so that the even the notion of running the ball as an offensive advantage isn't even a consideration. It wasn't against Texas Tech, it wasn't against Baylor and it certainly wasn't against Oklahoma State. All three of those teams have struggled to stop the run this season and all three of them have now beaten OU.
The Sooners needed a ground and pound rushing attack to give them a chance at upsetting Oklahoma State in Stillwater on Saturday night. It never even came close to appearing and I have no idea why. OU got exactly what they asked for in this game which, inexplicably, was a shootout. Unfortunately the Sooners came unarmed. After Kansas State and Iowa State provided a road map as to how you can beat the Cowboys Josh Heupel instead chose to use a passing attack that hasn't scored a touchdown since the 4:53 mark of the third quarter of the A&M game on November 5th. Yep, that exactly 28 days or a little more than 13 quarters of football in case you were wondering. You tell me, ignorance or arrogance?
Offensive Unit Grades
Quarterback: For all the reasons listed above. Overall position grade: F
Receivers: Despite a few promising plays dropped passes plagued this group once again.Overall position grade: C
Offensive Line: Allowed two sacks but quarterback pressure was much worse than that. On a positive note Oklahoma running backs Roy Finch and Trey Millard averaged 7.2 and 6.4 yards per carry each. The fact that the two only had a combined 14 carries gets every offensive coach on the staff a big fat F! Overall position grade: C
Running Backs: Did all that they were allowed to do but struggled on a few blocking assignments. Overall position grade: B