You may or may not think that headline is a controversial statement, but it is one a firmly believe and it didn't just happen after witnessing yet another OU team that was unprepared to play a road game in a hostile environment last night. I certainly do not expect a majority of you here to agree with the statement above, but quite honestly after watching that team last night I don't really care if you agree with me or not. The beauty of Crimson and Cream Machine is we're allowed/encouraged to express our opinion and this is something I need to get out and I'm willing to take the heat for it. So call me all the names you want, I'm an OU fan this morning and I'll be an OU fan from now until the day I die and this loss nor any other will ever change that.
Let me first start by clarifying that I fully appreciate the players are the ones out on the field and not the coaches, but I've got two problems with that argument. First, it is the coaches primary responsibility to get these kids ready to play every Saturday and they are clearly failing miserably at that right now. Second and more importantly, unless you're Cam Newton, the players aren't the ones getting paid six-to-seven figure salaries. So for that reason I prefer to direct a majority of my criticism toward the coaches as opposed to the young men who rely on these highly paid individuals to put them in the positions to be the most successful.
So, back to the point of this post. I strongly believe this program will never win another national championship with the coaching staff as it is right now. I firmly believe this coaching staff has become complacent, they have become satisfied with going 10-2 if it means they win the Big 12, and they have become aware of the fact that they do not have to answer to anyone and are above reproach. You only have to tune in to Coach Stoops' weekly press conference to hear the righteousness indignation in his voice anytime one of the media peons dares to question him or his coaches. There is no one to hold him accountable and he has proven that he does not hold his own coaches accountable by continually refusing to acknowledge their screw ups publicly. Meanwhile, he routinely has very little trouble throwing his players under the bus in generalized subtle ways so as not to make it obvious to those who are not experts in translating b.s. (fortunately for you all here, I happen to be an expert).
If I may continue, let's address some of the statements above. "This coaching staff is satisfied with going 10-2 as long as it means they won the Big 12." I'd welcome anyone to challenge this statement. How many times have we heard Stoops reference all the Big 12 championships he's won? Don't misunderstand, that's great and all but just winning the Big 12 isn't enough when you're the coach at OU. The goal here is to win a national championship, not a Big 12 championship. Now before all my critics jump down my throat, hold off on ripping me until you read the following. I understand you can't (with rare exception) win a national championship without first having won the Big 12 championship okay. I also am fully aware that OU isn't going to win the national championship every year either. So save the "crazy, deranged OU fan" comments for someone who really deserves it because I'm not that guy. The point is when you have the talent, opportunity, and resources that OU does you cannot allow yourself to become satisfied with just winning your conference and in my opinion these coaches have accepted the fact that winning the Big 12 is good enough. If they can't win on the road, which they have proven they cannot, and you can't figure how to correct the problem, which they have flat out admitted they cannot, then obviously they will never have a chance to go undefeated and play for another national championship. Admittedly, I could be wrong but I'm fairly certain last time I checked OU doesn't get to schedule 12 home games every year correct? So again, if what you're saying is that 10-2 is good enough for you every year then thank you for being honest and just let me know what time you want me to come by to help you pack your bags. If that's not what you're saying then my sincere apologies, but I'm going to need to see you prove otherwise on the field, on a consistent basis, like right about now.
"This coaching staff has become complacent." Again, I'd welcome anyone to try and convince me otherwise. Honestly, how could they not be complacent? You know that no one can question anything that you do. You know that outside of repeated four or five loss season that can't be explained away due to a ridiculous amount of injuries, that you do not have to answer to anyone. You know that without fail, you will continue to get a raise year after year. You know that if your are an assistant, that your boss (the head coach) has never and will never fire anyone. Why would you ever even consider leaving that kind of job??? Easy, no one would and that's the situation in Norman right now. These assistants know their job is safe no matter how poorly they perform and their boss knows he can just put on his mean face and the only people who can publicly hold him accountable, the media, will just cower away back into the corner. Bob is not stupid, he knows he is the king (certainly not The King) and that he can do whatever he pleases.
Well I may be alone in this one, and is so that's perfectly fine, but 2000 was 10 years ago and you've used up all that goodwill Coach. #7 no longer gets you that free pass and it's time to start answering for these issues that repeatedly befall this team and for which you appear to have absolutely no answer for. If a 10 year expiration date makes me an unreasonable fan then I'll gladly fall on that sword, but I don't think it's unreasonable for me as a fan to want some answers. Why can this coaching staff not get their team properly prepared to play on the road? We're all painfully aware this isn't just an issue in 2010, so how can this continue to be such a major problem and yet nothing seems to be done to remedy it? I can appreciate the fact that there is 150% certainty the coaches have tried to do different things, but the fact remains that based on what we see on the field none of them have worked. And yet there we were last Tuesday with Coach Stoops adamantly proclaiming that "we don't have any problems playing away from home."
Really Bob? Do you really think we're all that stupid? Because if you do that's fine, but something tells me you probably won't get the support of Sooner Nation for much longer but at least we'd respect you for being honest. Because when you come out and say idiotic things like that all you're really telling us is how little respect you have for the people who support you and the program. We know it's a problem, you know it's a problem, so what purpose does it serve to come out and lie to your fan base? I'm quite certain you say probably the exact opposite behind closed doors (or at least I sure as hell hope so), but you don't think the players hear you speaking out of both sides of your mouth? Maybe I'm off base and you've told the guys to ignore everything you tell the media, but if that's the case then you deserve an Oscar for the performance you give every Tuesday at your press conference. Because you sure pull off the self righteous act like no other whenever someone dares question you or your staff.
So if I didn't already lose you after you read the headline (so this is basically for the three of you still reading along), how do we fix this? Well in my opinion, changes have to be made with this coaching staff. I'm not sure how you could argue the message from this staff has gotten stale among the players. Priority #1 - Kevin Wilson and James Patton are let go. Look, I'm sure they're good people but they are just not cut out to coach at this level. I could write a 100 page dissertation on Kevin Wilson's failures, but I'll simply point to last night's play calling as yet another in a long line of examples at how poorly he is at his job. I respect our leader's, CC Machine, opinion immensely but the fear of the unknown with what a new offensive coordinator would bring in is the worst possible reason to allow Wilson to stay on. There is no possible argument for keeping Wilson on because the guy we replace him worth "may be even worse." Sorry, but I'm willing to take that chance. James Patton has one job, coach the o-line. Well if the last two years of performances by his primary positional responsibility isn't example enough that he sucks at his job then I don't know what to tell you. I know a lot of you have big time issues with Venables and at times I have been right there myself. However, I've come to the realization that firing and/or demoting Venables will solve nothing. He's simply running Stoops' system, so if we bring in somebody else they're just going to do the same thing. In my opinion, Venables is a good enough recruiter that getting rid of him in combination with the fact that the system would not change necessitates that he stay on staff.
So, it seems pretty straight forward to me. Joe C. goes to Bob (only because we know this is something Bob would never do himself) and says it's time to clean house. You can keep Heupel, Shipp, Venables (but only as LB coach), and Martinez (it's only been one year and outside of Q.Carter, I've been impressed with our secondary), everyone else has to go. If Bob refuses, then it's time to have a serious come to jesus talk with Bob. I'm not prepared to say I'm ready for him to go, but if he absolutely refused to make any changes then as much as I hate to say it, it might be time for him to go. If he were to do that, he would be proving that he's too stubborn to make the now clearly necessary changes to achieve the level of success this program demands. Let me be very clear again, I don't want that to happen but he needs to realize it's time to seriously evaluate his staff and their contributions (or lack thereof) to this program.
This may sound harsh, but right or wrong I honestly feel like it's something that needs to be said. We as OU fans appreciate the hell out of what you've done for this program Coach Stoops. We can't thank you enough for bringing us out of the misery that was the 90s, but one thing needs to be made very, very clear. You, and any coach for that matter, are not bigger than the OU program. You have done some great things for OU football no doubt about it, but you are not bigger than OU football. I'm not saying that's where we are right now, but at times you say things that give the impression we might not be for from it. That may seem like a real a-hole thing to say and I might be putting a lot of you here off by saying something like that, but it's something I feel very strongly about. You may not agree with everything else I said here, but I'm quite confident that you'll agree with the statement above.