There will be those out there who tell you the 592 yards of offense the Sooners put up tonight displays a quality offensive performance, however I'm here to tell you otherwise. The end result statistics were very misleading tonight against Missouri as far as I'm concerned. "In the end" they look pretty impressive, but if you watched the game and know this team like we do, you know this offense still has some serious issues. To be fair, they were without one of their playmakers tonight and lost arguably their best offensive lineman midway through the game, but this was the side of the ball that was supposed to carry this team in 2011.
Make no mistake, this offense has some issues. I came away from last week saying if the offense is the issue, we'll be just fine. That confidence is beginning to fade after tonight's performance. Back at home, I expected this offense to excel in a game where even after coming off an emotional high of a Top 5 match-up from the previous week, a revenge factor was more than enough to motivate them against the Tigers. I couldn't have been more wrong. Again, it sounds ludicrous to say that a near 600 yard offensive performance was underwhelming, but that's what I come away from this game thinking.
The run game showed some flashes, primarily with Dominique Whaley toting the rock, but was inconsistent for the second consecutive week. I think some of Whaley's runs mask the issues the run game had tonight. Credit to the Mizzou front seven because they are talented, but this was as much about what OU didn't do as what MU did right. Whaley has the look of a special talent and in my opinion, Clay lacks the vision that Whaley has. Clay is a talented player, but he just cannot make the kind of plays that Whaley can at this point. Additionally, what this game also showed was that as much as we all want it to happen, Roy Finch is unlikely to play any kind of significant role in this offense this year. Once again, he had very few opportunities Saturday night and while he was able to make plays when he had the chance but they clearly have no intention to try and get the ball in his hands. And at this point if they're not going to, there is no reason to believe that is going to change.
Without Kenny Stills, who was forced to sit out with a concussion, the passing game seemed to be out of sync as well. If I'm honest, this offense under the leadership of first year OC Josh Heupel, really hasn't seemed to click through the first three games. I'm at a loss as to what exactly he's trying to accomplish with the offense and his play calling. For some inexplicable reason he seems to refuse to use the hurry up on a consistent basis and formations (i.e. the triangle) that have proven successful in the past. Oh, and free tip Josh. The hurry up run play, where you rush to the line of scrimmage, only to run a dive play where the entire defense has collected and your own o-linemen are apparently incapable of blocking, that ALWAYS gets 0-1 yards, is a SUCKY PLAY! Quit running it. It's never worked and it will never work. Didn't work when Kevin Wilson constantly tried to force it and nothing has changed. It's a complete and utter waste of a down that just puts you behind the chains. Ok, just had to put that out there.
Did Landry Jones throw for almost 450 yards? Yes. Did his performance tonight illicit any confidence? Your answer should be a resounding no and if it isn't, well then you didn't pay much attention to this game. The sunshine pumpers (my words) will point to all the things he did, but IMO this game was much more about what he didn't do. What he didn't do was show progression once again. Hist first INT was either a terrible decision or yet another under throw. His second INT was classic panic Landry, at least from what I saw, which just shows the guy hasn't really improved all that much from previous years. The slightest bit or even the hint of pressure causes him to freak out and force the ball out of his hands at all costs, often at the cost of turnovers or plays very close to that.
It was nice to see Jaz Reynolds have a good game (5 for 93) in place of Stills, but this offense continues to struggle in finding options outside of their two primary receivers. Dejuan Miller had 4 for 40, but outside of a couple catches by the TEs and five from Whaley it was once again a lackluster performance in the pass game. We expected an incredibly balanced offense with all the weapons they had at their disposal and through two games we've really yet to see it. TO BE PERFECTLY CLEAR, nobody is calling for Josh Heupel's job but this offense certainly has some things to address before Dallas (assuming Ball State is a gimmie).
Overall, and I know plenty will disagree, an underwhelming performance despite what the stats may look like. I said last week we didn't need to worry about this offense, but after tonight I'm starting to hedge on that. I have faith in Heupel at the end of the day, but he needs to step up his game ASA-frickin-P.
Much, much more to come throughout the coming days.