Bob Stoops is 14-0 game after Texas w/average winning margin of 27 points/game. OU visits Kansas Saturday— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) October 13, 2013
I posted that tweet for a couple of reasons, the most obvious being Stoops' track record, win or loss, following OU's biggest game on their schedule every year. While many are understandably down on either OU football, Stoops, or even both, it's only fair to point out the exceptional job Stoops and his staff have done preparing their team to avoid a letdown the week after the Cotton Bowl.
That said, I believe playing Kansas this Saturday could actually be one of the worst things that could happen for this OU football program.
Hear me out.
Normally when you're coming off a loss, let alone a loss as embarrassing as the one OU suffered on Saturday, you would be anxious for an opponent like Kansas. A team that, on paper, seemingly presents the most minimal of challenges. A team that will help you regain some of your confidence after having not played particularly well in your last game.
But what is gained if Oklahoma comes out on Saturday and cruises to an easy victory?
If Josh Heupel rolls out the same old tired offensive game plan and the OU offense runs/passes over and around a No. 69 ranked KU defense then nothing changes. And something has to change with Heupel's approach to this offense.
If Blake Bell looks more like the quarterback we saw against Tulsa than the complete stranger we saw in the Cotton Bowl, then he only further entrenches himself as the starting quarterback in spite of his obvious limitations as a passer. Then once again nothing changes with this offense and with as tentative as Bell has looked in OU's last two games, a change might (stress, might) be necessary.
And those are just the scenarios in which Oklahoma plays well. What happens if the offense, specifically the play at the quarterback position, struggles against this below average Kansas team? Would they bench Bell and go back to Trevor Knight or give Kendal Thompson the shot many thought he might get prior to his injury on the first day of fall camp? How would this team respond to yet another quarterback controversy (of sorts)?
So yeah, sure, a win on Saturday might help this team restore some of their confidence coming off the loss to Texas. But it won't change the fact this team is flawed and some change is necessary, but the coaches seem hesitant to make them. Well, they definitely won't make them if OU plays well and easily rolls over Kansas.
Heck, they might not even make them if OU plays poorly. I'm not sure how much worse Bell could have played on Saturday and yet the coaches were adamant following the game that they never considered pulling him from the game. Did Bell play any better against Texas than Knight did in the West Virginia game? I'd argue he did not and yet Bell seems to get a benefit of the doubt that Knight did/does not.
I think this offense has been searching for an identity ever since Josh Heupel took over as the play-caller. And after Saturday they are clearly still searching.
When this season started, it finally looked like they were attempting to establish one with a shift to a mobile quarterback and the read option/pistol offense. But after some initial growing pains, which had to be expected, the powers that be seemed all to happy to quickly fall back on a modified version of what they've been running the last five plus years. Ignoring the fact that they did not have the one thing you absolutely have to in order to run a spread passing offense, a competent passer.
Unfortunately, there won't be an answer in Lawrence. And if OU wins easily, as they should, it only further pushes back the timeline for finding the answer because the coaches will just keep trotting out the same old tired scheme.
Which means once again nothing changes. And right now some change wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing.