Contrary to all that you may have heard this week, Oklahoma's season did not actually end following last Saturday's loss to Kansas State. It just felt like it did.
Would some say we here at Crimson and Cream Machine have been as guilty as most in piling on in the wake of the loss? Yeah, probably. Some of us (ahem, yours truly) more so than others I'm sure, but that's just one of those things that comes along with the
super important job of being a sports blogger.
But this isn't about us, it's about this Oklahoma football team. And if there's one thing we know, it's that we've all been hurting for things to talk about this week when it comes to Oklahoma football.
When the 2012 schedule first came out, we originally believed these two early bye weeks were a bad thing. While, as a fan, suffering through two byes in three weeks most certainly sucks something awful, given all that we've seen through three games this second bye may have actually come at the perfect time.
The undeniable fact is this Oklahoma offense is struggling. Even the coaches could no longer deny that fact as they were very open about the offense's early struggles in post practice interviews this week. And while that's all well and good, until there are some actual changes made to what we see on the field it's just really nothing more than empty coach speak.
The reason for optimism lies in the fact that struggling on the road at UTEP is one thing. Winning comfortably, but in less than the expected dominating fashion, against a Florida A&M team is another. However, losing a conference home game against a quality opponent is a very different thing.
It was Oklahoma's first real test and needless to say, they failed. It's somewhat easy for the coaches to write off their performances in the first two games, but the same cannot be said for last Saturday night. The fact of the matter is these coaches measure themselves and their team against teams like Kansas State, not UTEP and FAMU. There are things that can be learned from those kind of games, but the serious evaluations come against the quality competition. By that logic, the struggles last Saturday should set off alarms those within the Switzer Center may have been previously hesitant to pull. That's the hope anyway (obviously).
Not to be overly dramatic (because there's been none of that this week), but if there is any hope for this season it lies in these in this next week plus. More to the point, the future of this season rests squarely in the hands of one Mr. Heupel. It's time for some serious re-evaluation with respect to what this offense does and/or what Heupel wants this offense to be. This is something he has very clearly struggled with thus far, so it's understandable if there is still some skepticism.
Now before we get too far into this thing, don't take that statement to mean Mike Stoops doesn't have a role in this play. He does, and a big one, but through three games he and his defense have proved capable. They definitely have some issues and M.Stoops sure has heck doesn't get a pass for that K-State defensive game plan, but the defense is not the thing currently holding this team back.
So the million dollar question is what does Josh Heupel do between now and Texas Tech? Here are some hints:
- It doesn't involve benching Landry Jones.
- It doesn't require the major overhaul to the offensive philosophy that some are claiming.
- It definitely doesn't require asking Jones to throw 50 times a game.
- It does require giving Damien Williams more than ten measly carries a game.
- It does require actually following thru on the previously empty assurances to use Trey Millard.
- It definitely does require not abandoning the run game.
Seems pretty simple, right? Is it actually that black and white? Probably not, but what we know after last year's struggles and an underwhelming performance through three games this season is that the current plan isn't working. The only question that remains is whether or not Josh Heupel has finally seen enough to make the changes that seem so obviously necessary to the rest of us.
We'll find out next Saturday, in the meantime keep those fingers crossed extra tight.