The suspensions of Jaz "Hands" Reynolds, Trey Franks, Quentin Hayes, and Kameel Jackson have been addressed well on other articles here at C&C, and you can read them if you need to catch up to speed. I'm here to give you my take on what this means for OU after the jump.
First of all, there had been rumors and talk around the program about there being no joy in Norman, and no leadership from the players, either. The OU sources said that it was just normal postseason stuff, but other places said that there were very serious problems in the locker room. I personally think it's safe to say that without Ryan Broyles and Austin Box, this team was entirely without a compass. That falls on Bob Stoops more than anyone. I also think it's safe to say at this point that between the large number of transfers and now this coming up the issues off the field were far larger than we were given any idea.
When you watch a movie, you're told to "suspend your disbelief." When it seems abjectly unlikely that the skinny nerd would end up making out with Megan Fox on the hood of a Camaro, or that alien robots took the shape of cars, you suspend your reason and enjoy the entertainment. But the worse the movie, the harder it is to suspend disbelief and trust the filmmakers to make your $12 ticket worthwhile.
Similarly, when you watch college football, you're supposed to forget that sometimes even the best coaches whiff on their character evaluations, and that every team ends up with a few douchebags who think the rules don't apply to them. You're supposed to trust that the coaches have everything under control, and you don't criticize. You just sit back and watch the wins roll in. Of course, when 10-3 rolls in and you get your stool pushed in by your in-state rival, the ability to suspend disbelief goes out the window.
While hindsight is always 20-20, I don't think I can ever recall a time that I thought Bob Stoops ever really lost a team. Until now.
Bob Stoops is no longer entitled to Sooner Nation simply suspending disbelief in his ability to manage these players as people. All of us are armchair QB's and coordinators on Sunday and Monday mornings, but this is the first time I ever felt like Stoops needed to right the ship when it came to handling the players as college students. We're in Mack Brown territory now. When you have to suspend four players indefinitely, it sends two clear messages. The first one is good. The second one is not good. It says we're monitoring these kids on our own, and we will drop the hammer if we must. It also says that we're not doing a good job educating these kids on making the right decisions when they're here, and they're getting to the point where we have to drop the hammer on them. When you send your kid to boot camp for non-military reasons, it shows the same two issues. You're a success as a parent because you took the extreme measure when it needed to be taken, and you're a failure as a parent because it should never get to that point in the first place.
As far as the depth chart goes, the only loss that hurts even a little is Jaz Reynolds. Trey Metoyer and Kenny Stills were already the clear 1-2 coming out of spring camp. Jaz Reynolds was the #3 man, but Trey Franks and Kameel Jackson were probably #4 and #5 at best. Neither had an obvious lead, but Jackson at least had some decent upside. Reynolds has already made one visit to the doghouse. Jackson transferred out, and I wouldn't be surprised to see Trey Franks do the same.
It's nice to know that our incoming WRs are so talented. Between Durron Neal, Courtney Gardner, Derrick Woods, and Sterling Shepard, at least two of them are going to have to be very good right away. So what's the reason I'm not panicking? I expected this to be the case anyway. Jaz Reynolds was inconsistent even at his very best, Kameel Jackson was just decent, and Trey Franks has been tackled more by open field than by any defender in the conference. No, folks, we needed two of these guys to step up anyway.
Only two things that have changed between Monday and today about the OU football team. We can no longer suspend our disbelief about the reality of managing 85 young men in a college environment, and we likely have one fewer quality WR ready to take the field. Outside of that, today is just another day.