Oklahoma's 2007 football season didn't just end on Saturday night it was taken out back and killed Wednesday night by the West Virginia Mountaineers. In yet another BCS game the Sooners lost to an underdog. Oklahoma's offense took the first half off before finally moving the ball in the second half but at that point it was too little too late for OU because they literally couldn't catch up to West Virginia.
Noel Devine's 65 yard touchdown run in the 4th quarter was the final nail in Oklahoma's coffin
In a season where the Sooners had been so dominant at times we can't say that we hadn't seen this type of ineptness before. Anyone remember Colorado, Iowa State or Texas Tech? We knew that OU had the potential to do this we just tried to hide it in the very back of our minds. It's just that after beating the #1 team in the nation in the Big 12 championship game we all expected more than what we got in the Fiesta Bowl.
There's plenty of blame to go around for this loss and while I refuse to join the witch hunt and abuse the coaching staff I will say that they do very much share some of the blame but certainly not all of it. Since when did we stop blaming players for their own mistakes?
Here's What the Coaches Are Not Responsible For:
* Players Not Being Focused and Not Having Their Heads in the Game - To quote our good friend Colorado Head Coach Dan Hawkins, "It's division I football. It's the Big 12. This ain't intramurals!" I have to get my little league team focused for the game but these guys have earned division I scholarships by being focused athletes. The coaches can prep them all they want but in the end it is the players fault if they have mentally checked out during the game.
* Granger and Holmes being Suspended - You can't coach against selfishness! Both of these athletes made selfish decisions that resulted in them not being on the field tonight and we're fooling ourselves if we still think they weren't missed.
* Missed Tackles - You can devise schemes that put players in the right position to make plays but when Darien Williams fails to make the tackle the fullback runs 57 yards for a score.
If Williams makes a tackle then we wouldn't see this picture.
* Blown Assignments - How does Pat White pass to a wide open Darius Reynaud for a 21 yard touchdown? Because DJ Wolfe blew his assignment!
* Failure to Make Plays - There were some good plays called Wednesday night, both on offense and defense, they just weren't executed properly. Unfortunately it needs to be said that coaches call the plays they don't make them. Missed blocks, dropped passes, missed tackles are all on the players and not the coaches.
* Penalties - The Sooners were penalized 13 times for 115 yards. Ridiculous doesn't sum it up.
Now, Here's What the Coaches Were Responsible For:
* Bowl Preperation - It's time to reevaluate how the Sooners prepare for bowl games. Obviously something isn't right and its painful that this wasn't acknowledged after last year's Fiesta Bowl.
* Adjustments - Some good points were brought up on the game thread about Oklahoma's failure to make first half adjustments to get the offense cranking earlier.
* Decision for the Onside Kick - Why? Before that kick West Virginia had a total of six offensive plays for only 10 yards in the second half and the Sooners outscored WVU 9-0 in the first 8 ½ minutes of the third quarter drawing within 5 points of the Mountaineers. The onside kick shifted the momentum back to WVU.
* Chasing Two - I still don't get it. Why did they attempt to go for a two point conversion twice?
Its unfortunate that people get up in arms and call for heads to roll after every loss. In fourteen games this season the Sooners only walked off the field only three times without a win. In all three instances it was a slow start by the offense that was the catalysts to the defeat. Here's a bit of reality.
Sam Bradford - Freshman
Jermaine Gresham - Sophomore
Juaquin Iglesias - Junior
Manuel Johnson - Junior
Malcolm Kelly - Junior
Demarco Murray - Freshman
Include in that the fact there were no seniors along the offensive line and you have a lot of underclassmen contributing on an offense that ranked second in the country in scoring. Youth is good because it means that the future is bright but it means that there is a lot of growing up to do. This is a young team that needs to do a lot of maturing. Hopefully Wednesday night was a step in that direction and there are more championships to be one. I can guarantee you this. Break up this coaching staff and the chances of those championships are greatly reduced.
The 2007 season showed a lot of promise and brought much joy to the Sooner Nation. Unfortunately the end was painful and tragic and will be what the season is remembered by.