Obviously I can't complain much about Bob Stoops. The guy is a great head coach and a credit to the school. I'm not impressed with Venables and never have been. I like his intensity and loyalty, and the players have good fundamentals on defense...but his X's and O'x are mediocre at best. Sometimes he hits a homerun, but most the time he strikes out. He's like a .225 hitter with 3 homeruns. In my opinion OU hasn't been dominant on offense since Mike Stoops left. The co-offensive coordinators did a great job in this game. They started out pretty conservatively, but I think the offense looked very good, especially for a first game. Josh called some nice plays, but as I said he was a bit conservative at times. However it's apparent our young offensive coordinator is very talented. Anyway, that's not what my post is about. My post is about more basic strategies, like substitutions and such.
First beef: leaving critical starters in the game too long. I can understand letting your starters play the entire first half regardless of score. Think of it as a reward for working into the starting lineup. I could possibly understand leaving Landry and the starters in with a big lead when playing an explosive team like OSU or Boise State. But leaving Landry in against Tulsa with a 30+ point lead is a terrible idea. If Landry gets hurt, and it's possibility in a tough game like football, and we will go from NCAA championship contenders to 8-4 in short order. Remember what happened three years ago when we were NCAA title contenders and we lost Sam...we dropped to finishing 8-5. I'm happy Drew Allen got some playing time, but that time should have gone to Blake Bell. After OU scored with 10:40 to go in the 3rd quarter Drew should've been sent in. He should've played until about 10 minutes left in the game, at which time Blake Bell should've been sent in. Granted, neither of those guys is as good as Landry, but the more experience we get them the better off we'll be when Landry graduates or decides to take his skills to the pros.
Second beef: Not letting the subs run the offense for real. Drew got to throw some passes tonight, which was a good thing. I think he was allowed to really run the offense. In the past I've noticed that when our sub QBs have gone in that all they usually do is hand the ball off. What good is that going to do them? They need to run the offense like they are the starters. Just handing the ball off won't do the QB any good experience wise. Granted they may make mistakes and throw picks....so what? If they are in the game we have a big lead anyway, and they will learn from their mistakes if you give them a chance.
Third beef: Not rotating the reserve linemen in enough, and putting too many in at one time. That sounds contradictory, but it's not. I'm sure OU has some second team offensive linemen that are damn near good enough to start, and are just a little worse than the starters. Start getting those boys more playing time. Maybe when we get a bit of a cushion put them in for a few plays here and there to build up their confidence. If they aren't great runblockers but great pass blockers, then go ahead and put them in on passing downs from time to time, or running downs if they are great run blockers. Those big guys are the guts of our offensive machine, as Landry would be the first to tell you, and we need to get them experience. On the other hand, when the game is out of hand I don't think it's a good idea to just throw the entire second team offense out there at one time. Give your second team runners and QB a chance for success by maybe keeping a couple starters in here or there.
I'm very happy with OU's performance last night. As you can see I'm not happy with the substitutions. Granted, we may not stomp every other team by 40 points, and maybe we'll have to be happy with 14-21 point wins, but believe me when I say letting all the boys get some playing time will pay dividends. Imagine the situation if Landry goes pro after this season. If we follow my idea instead of having two inexperienced QBs inheriting the starting spot (Garrett Gilbert like!) we'll have a Drew Allen who went maybe 65-115 for 800 yards passing and a Blake Bell who went 35-50 for 200 yards. That is basically the equivalent of Allen having started 3 or 4 games, and Bell having started a couple. That could make a huge difference in their development and confidence, which is really the only thing they are lacking. And our reserve linemen and defensive players will all have similar experience. I seriously believe instituting a policy on substitution like my idea would yield tremendous dividends for the future. Plus, and here is another perk....young guys that OU is recruiting will see that they WILL get playing time if they put in the effort.