So Oklahoma had a lot of struggles this year on defense giving up just under 26 points per game which ranks as the 82nd best year an OU defense has had. Putting aside the injuries on a defense that didn’t have a lot of depth to begin with, that’s a pretty bad year. So what’s the first thing you do in the off-season? Well, of course, you fire your Co-Offensive Coordinators Josh Heupel and Jay Norvell since they only averaged 36 points per game. Yes, yes, they laid a big fat egg in the bowl game against Clemson, but I’m going with the Saban-defense here – it’s hard to motivate players if they aren’t playing for a national championship . . .does that count?
Side note: That ranks as 21st in the Sooner record books. For anyone keeping track – since Josh Heupel and Jay Norvell have been the co-offensive coordinators at OU, they have averaged 39.5, 38.2, 32.8 & 36.3 points per game in each season over the past four. Aside from the 2013 average of 32.8 (the #32 scoring offense in OU history), the other three years the offenses all rank in the top 25. Clearly the issues here lie with the offense and not the defense.
I’m not really sure what’s up with this move by Bob Stoops aside from trying to assuage the fears of the torch and pitchfork crowd in Norman. One would hope that there is some move, of which we are currently unaware, that justifies this action aside from reacting to the spoiled brat fans.
One – Aside from the offensive line, they were very young on offense. Yes, yes, we all know what Trevor Knight did to Alabama in the Sugar Bowl last season, but did anyone notice that of the 9 players who caught passes in the Sugar Bowl last season, only two of them returned this season (Sterling Shepard & Taylor McNamara and McNamara was second string this season)? OU had an entirely new backfield with the departure of Brennan Clay & Roy Finch. Did anyone notice that?
The Sooners were ranked #3 & #4 in the pre-season polls based on the upset of the mighty Crimson Tide in the Sugar Bowl and the return of Trevor Knight. But no one seemed to notice that the offense had a plethora of new faces. So when they were running up the score in the some 2008, Bradford-esque fashion, the masses became troubled.
If there are more changes coming in Norman, let’s hope they include some on the other side of the ball. Things like:
Only playing 3 yards off a receiver on a 3rd and 4 instead of 8 yards off
Getting pressure on a quarterback
Staying at home on the backside of a running play
Better communication between defensive backs so we don’t leave receivers wide open with no over-the-top help from the safety
And most importantly (in case I forgot), TACKLING!