Sunday, April 19, 2009, 5:19 PM
Oklahoma ended it's spring practice this past week with the same concerns it had coming into the sessions. What's going to happen in the kicking game?
We all saw the disaster of a year ago. Special teams just weren't special. It's really amazing to think the Sooners actually got into a national championship game with the problems they had in this important area.
After watching that Red-White scrimmage I'm convinced that the kicking game could be a major problem again. The return game should be fine with Ryan Broyles bringing back punts and he'll be joined by DeMarco Murray bringing back kickoffs. Who knows how the cover teams are going to be. It can't be worse than it was a year ago.
Now what about kickoffs and punting? Tress Way, the redshirt freshman, had problems in both areas in the scrimmage. You could tell Bob Stoops was a little perplexed by the situation. He said Way had kicked well in practice.
Things change when there are a lot of people watching. Who knows what's going to happen?
The key freshman this year will be a walkon. Yep, a walkon. Everybody who watched Bryce Easley kick at Norman North swears by him. They said every kickoff was just sailing out of the end zone. He is needed to come in and win the kickoff job from day one.
And what about placements? Yeah, they were bad a year ago. Will it be the returning veteran Jimmy Stevens or will it be Way?
The kicking game has to be a huge concern for the Sooners. And we probably won't know much more about it until the open Sept. 5 with BYU.
Friday, March 6, 2009, 2:35 PM
What's happened to this Oklahoma basketball team?
There have now been three out of gfour losses. This was a team that was on cruise control. This was a team that some thought was as good as any other in the land.
That was until Blake Griffin got hurt. And more importantly that was until the Sooner guards stopped showing up. It's not easy to understand.
And it's not easy what the Sooners have left. Tomorrow afternoon they host an Oklahoma State team that has shown great improvement over the last three weeks. It's an OSU club that could give you trouble if the guards are playing well.
Then comes the Big 12 tournament in Oklahoma City. After that it's the NCAA tourney. If the Sooners can beat the Pokes and then win the Big 12 title it will most likely get a No. 1 seed in the NCAA event. But right now that's a big if.
What has happened to Austin Johnson? What has happened to Willie Warren. What has happened to Tony Crocker. There has been a great disappearing act.
And then there's Juan Patillo. He was playing so well coming off the bench. He gets disciplined. Has to sit out a game and now he's in a funk. This isn't a good time of year to be in that kind of state of mind.
You know what you're going to get from Blake Griffin. You know what you're going to get from Taylor Griffin. The problem Jeff Capel's team has it this moment is it doesn't know what it's going to get frrom anyone else on the team.
Saturday, February 21, 2009, 1:06 PM
How does this guy keep his job?
Was that not an incredible fisaco in Lubbock this week? There was Mike Leach ready to sign a new, five year contract. And then there was Texas Tech athletic director Gerald Meyers trying to put some clauses in the pact that he obviously knew his football coach wouldn't buy.
The Red Raider administration came away looking like fools. They have the best football coach in their school history and they're trying to play games with him. That didn't make any sense.
Leach is a pretty smart guy. He's not your average football coach. How many football coaches have law degrees from Pepperdine? He toyed with the Raiders, particularly Meyers.
The question reamins, how does Meyers keep his job? The Red Raider athletic program has major problems, other than football. The men and womens basketball programs are in shambles.
Remember it was Meyers who hired Bobby Knight. And it was Meyers who allowed Bobby to name his son Pat as the new coach. Texas Tech is probably the worst team in the Big 12 and the future isn't promising at all.
Leach is laughing right now. He won the big battle. But how tough was this fight? You had a guy with a law degree go after an athletic director who used to be the basketball coach at the school.
It was simply a no contest!
Sunday, February 8, 2009, 5:02 PM
Was anyone really surprised when the report came out on Alex Rodriquez? Come on now!
Just look at him compared to when he broke into the big leagues. He used to be slendor. Now he's a beast. And of course he's a steroid beast.
The media has given A-Rod a free pass. That's because they like him. It's nothing like the witch-hunt that has been chasing Barry Bonds. The problem with baseball is that everyone has been doing steroids. Yeah, Sports Illustrated said that 104 players tested positive in 2003.
It obvious that many of the players are now doing HGH. That's because baseball doesn't test for it. Just look at most of the super stars of today. They look like they are all juiced, and they probably are.
Baseball has known it's been going on. The owners didn't blink. Home runs puts money into their pockets. They just look the other way.
I never did see ESPN show clips of A-Rod when he broke into baseball to what he looks like now. They did it all of the time with Mark McGuire and Bonds. A-Rod is no saint. He just appears to be a juiced up steriod guy like so many players that play the game that used to love so much growing up as kids.
Sunday, February 1, 2009, 9:32 PM
It was a Super Bowl that I just wasn't that pumped up for. Maybe because I just didn't think it was going to be a good game The Pittsburgh Steelers were just going to be too much for the Arizona Cardinals.
For three quarters the game was a yawner. I was just waiting for the Steelers to officially end the thing by getting up by three scores.
Then came the fourth quarter. When it was over we simply had one of the great Super Bowls off all time.
There was Kurt Warner ready to stake his claim to a Hall of Fame berth when his playing time was ended. He led his team to two great scoring drives to take the lead. But even after the Cards took the lead, I thought there was way too much time left for the Steelers.
And then there was Big Ben. He was Mr. Clutch. Somehow he avoided the rushes Arizona sent at him. He didn't have a great game, that is until the final drive. He wanted no part of an overtime.
He was truly on target. And his receivers made big time plays. The final drive was one of the great ones in Super Bowl history.
The sad part about the game was that there had to be a loser. There was all kind of story lines about the game. But the final one was the most important--the Arizona defense couldn't stop Big Ben when it needed to the most.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009, 1:30 PM
When Jeff Capel got a commitment from Juan Pattillo last year, the Sooner coach was elated. And why not? He had just landed one of the top junior college players in the country.
In fact, when Capel was asked who Pattillo might remind fans of, he said "Tony Allen". Allen is the former Oklahoma State star who is currently with the World Champion Boston Celtics.
Now Pattillo may not be Allen, but he sure looks like he's ready to make a difference for this Oklahoma club. The mystery out there is where was he early in the year.
The Sooners say he wanted to be redshirted this season and that's why he didn't play in the nonconference schedule. There are others who say he got into a little squabble with an assistant coach and that he was being forced to sit out the season.
That doesn't matter now. This junior college import gives the OU bench a different look. When he comes into the game he brings defensive intensity. It appears like he's all over the court. He's a tremendous athlete.
He doesn't have an outstanding outside shot. But he knows how to score. He just makes things happen. He's also an excellent rebounder.
Just a couple of weeks ago we all thought that the Sooner bench was the biggest weakness of the team and it would present big problems when tournament time arrived. That was before Juan Pattillo took the court for Oklahoma. He can big a huge factor during the stretch run of this season and has given this team a new and improved look.
Sunday, January 25, 2009, 4:53 PM
We know this Oklahoma basketball team is good. But we may find out a lot more about it tomorrow night.
The Sooners are now 19-1 and are looking to continue to climb in the national rankings. Their only loss this year was at Arkansas, before an extremely hostile crowd.
What will greet the Sooners in Stillwater may be even more hostile.
No this isn't a vintage Oklahoma State team. It's not the type that Eddie Sutton was turning out every year. But it's good enough to give OU a lot of trouble in this Bedlam match-up.
It would appear that the Cowboys have no answer for Blake Griffin inside. But during this rivalry we have seen some strange things. We have gotten quite use to the unexpected.
Oklahoma is playing with a lot of confidence right now. It probably had its best outing of the year when it pounded nationally ranked Baylor in Norman on Saturday. The Sooners were clicking on all cylinders.
And the Sooners might have gotten a big boost for their bench woes with the performance of Juan Pattillo. If this junior college transfer plays like he did in the first half against the Bears, OU could very well be a final four team.
OSU is coming off a nice win at Nebraksa. That should give them a little confidnece. But what will really get them going is knowing the crowd in Gallagher-Iba will be going absoutely crazy. Always remember some strange things can happen and usually do happen, in Bedlam.
Friday, January 23, 2009, 3:12 PM
It's still early in the Big 12 Conference basketball race, but this is really a big weekend for Oklahoma State.
The Cowboys have run into bad luck in their last two losses to Baylor and Missouri. Or better put, they have run into bad officiating. But there's nothing they can do about it now. They have to start winning games.
They head to Nebraska on Saturday and then host Oklahoma on Monday night. The bottom line is they have to win at least one of these games. If they don't their hopes for an NCAA tournament bid will be in serious jeopardy.
Let's look at things. Right now they have two conference losses. If they drop both of the upcoming games they would have four defeats. And they would still have to travel to places like Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas A&M.
That would be a recipe for a disaster!
Coming into the year we knew the Pokes would have trouble inside. They just don't have the talented inside bodies. They can still get the job done with the smaller lineup. But there are two keys.
The first one is stop turning the ball over so much. That will kill you. OSU turned it over 19 times against Missouri. That's totally unacceptable.
The second key is defense. There was no defense against the Tigers in the first half and very little in the last 20 minutes of the game. This has to improve.
Travis Ford's style of play is exciting. There's no doubt the Cowboys will be better in the future when he gets help inside. Right now though we're looking at the present. And that means OSU has to win at least one of these next two encounters.
Sunday, January 18, 2009, 1:40 PM
It's going to be interesting to see in the next couple of months just how much stroke the University of Texas has with the Big 12 Conference.
The Longhorns obviously did not like the way the conference set up the three-way tie breaker in football. Now remember, when this was brought into the league, Texas was totally behind the way a three-way tie would be settled.
Of course, they were for it as long as it favored them. When it didn't, you heard the whines coming out of Austin for more than a month.
Texas will do all it can to get the formula changed. The reason? Because once again it will not work in its favor. Mack Brown's club got denied a berth in the Big 12 title game because of their computer ratings. Better said, it was because Oklahoma played a stronger schedule.
If you look at Texas' future schedules, you will see it is pretty weak. So the Longhorns want no part of a system that will reward a team because it plays a tough schedule.
Just think what could happen this year. What if the Longhorns beat OU but then lose at Oklahoma State. And then the Cowboys fall in Norman. There could be a three-way tie once again. And what team would get left out? Yes it would be the Longhorns because of their nonconference schedule.
So Mack Brown and his cohorts will be very busy this off-season in trying to get the current system changed. We'll see if the Big 12 bows to the pressure the Longhorns put on the league.
Sunday, January 11, 2009, 5:06 PM
I think too many football fans get carried away with the draft projections of the gurus that you see on TV all the time these days.
I'm talking about Mel Kiper, who has been around a long time. And Todd McShay, who seems to be the new guy in the business. They're changing their ratings day by day.
But just because they rate a player high, doesn't mean that's what the NFL teams are thinking. They are not always on the inside.
A classic example was a couple of years ago when Kiper had convinced the world that Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn would be a very high first round draft pick. I began to feel sorry for Quinn during the draft festivitives when he kept on getting passed over by team after team. He had a very sad look on his face.
He screwed up, he believed what Kiper was saying. And then instead of Kiper saying he made a mistake, he was just telling everyone how stupid these NFL general managers are because they passed on Quinn.
That brings up the subject of Sam Bradford. Just because they say he's the first quarterback in this year's draft if he comes out or he could be the first pick, doesn't mean it's going to happen.
Former Oklahoma State coach Pat Jones is well connected. Not only did he coach in college, but he coached in the NFL.
"From the people I talk to in the league they tell me that Sam would probably be a late first round draft pick if he comes out. They tell me that he needs to improve on some things and needs to mature. If I was him I would come back for one more year."
So who knows who is right in these predictions. But lot of times it isn't the draft gurus.