The 2014 football season was rough for Oklahoma...it was real rough. Mistake filled losses to TCU and Kansas State, a blowout home loss to Baylor and disturbing meltdown that led to the shocking home loss against in-state Rival OSU has left fans on edge. Now the reality remains that the season could become even more disastrous as the Sooners are starring in the face of a Russell Athletic Bowl matchup with #17 Clemson. A bowl loss in Orlando wouldn't surprise any Oklahoma football fan one bit and a win wouldn't ease the pain of what has been a heartbreaking season.
Take heart though, Oklahoma fans, because the future is bright. Oh you may not see it now because of the gloom and doom that surrounds this train wreck of a program at the present time but, trust me, there is light at the end of the tunnel...and it is shining brightly.
When the Big 12 post season awards were announced on Monday four Sooners received first-team honors and four more were acknowledged to the second-team. Of those eight players only two were seniors, leaving a slew of building blocks for Oklahoma going into 2015.
2014 Oklahoma Sooners First-Team All Conference
2014 Oklahoma Sooners Second-Team All Conference
This isn't in any way an attempt to pump some sunshine with superlative notions. The truth is, some changes need to be made in Norman. Philosophies, attitudes, and game plans all have to be different starting right now. However, the fact remains that there are some key building blocks on this squad and, if they have some support sprinkled around them, they could easily lead OU back to the top of the Big 12 in 2015.
They are close....they are so close! Here's what they need to see happen between now and August 2015.
1) Change the offensive philosophy. This team needs to turn the beast loose and ride Samaje Perine to a conference title next season. I don't care if the quarterback runs the ball or not but you're not going to run him then ditch the spread and bring back the I-Formation. Stick a fullback in there and run down hill. If it worked for Adrian Peterson then there's no reason it can't work for Perine. Yup, I just went there! He's the Big 12 Offensive Newcomer of the Year! You'll have an NFL ready back in 2015 and the offense should be built around him.
2) Find a quarterback. This is Oklahoma dang-it! Where's out quarterback? This is the school that has produced Josh Heupel, Jason White, and Sam Bradford in the last 15 years. I don't care how athletic he is and how fast he can run. If he can't pass then we don't need him. Baker Mayfield you had better be worth the trouble because I honestly think that you're the answer here.
3) Get a big body receiver with great hands and get him the dang ball. They should be putting the full court press on DGB right now (What? You forgot he was on campus didn't you?) to keep this kid around for a senior season. Get every football alumn that you can to convince him of the value of staying and improving his draft stock and more importantly his life at OU. Calling on you Mark Clayton, Mark Bradley, Brandon Jones, and alike. If DGB is gone then shake every JUCO bush out there and find me a 6-4/240 (plus) guy who needs one more chance to make the NFL and get him here next month for the spring semester! Sterling Shepard is one of the most explosive guys in the Big 12 but he's hurt because his body isn't build to do what they've asked of him. Find me a big guy...and get a tight end while you're at it!
Call me crazy but I believe the talent is there on defense. It's just young talent and it needs to be molded. Young guys play with a bunch of emotion and when you know that the offense is going to go into a shell and leave you on the field for 3/4 of the game that that emotion can be channeled in a negative manner. Get these boys another year of experience (you'd better be working your tails off DBs) and an offense that will produce when needed and they'll be a force to be reckoned with.
Yup, it's a dark time for Oklahoma football right now but just as the spring brings about an end to the long dark winter, it'll also bring about a new and fresh beginning for this football program...if they'll build upon what they have by adding the missing pieces to the blocks that are already there.