Perspective is a wonderful thing.
As I discussed in my postgame reactionary, the game was incredibly frustrating to watch. There were some pretty egregious calls made by the officials as well as some particularly insane comments made by Ron Franklin and, to a lesser extent, Ed Cunningham. There were slip-ups and mistakes, which going in were a mandatory no-no if we wanted to win. There were missed tackles all over the place, and there was a hundred kajillion completions because of the Ty Law-esque cushion offered the wide receivers. All of this was combined into one incredibly painful four-hour-long contest, causing me to scream more out of anger than I have since, well, since the KU-MU game last November.
Still, considering the opponent and locale, the 14-point loss wasn't too bad. And, you could make an argument that the game was closer than that, as it certainly was throughout the first three quarters. Even while watching the game, I was still mildly pleased with the way we battled, the way we fought back, the way we forced Boomer Sooner to make adjustments at their own place. It was exciting stuff.
And now, three days after the fact, the game is even more exciting. Even more enjoyable.
So, these thoughts, with all of their finality, will tend to shade on the optimistic, glass-is-half-full side. That's what happens when you have three days to ponder such events. Oh, and this piece (which is amazing, by the way, and a weekly-must-read) sort of helped as well (scroll down to KU-OU).
- First and foremost, I just want to make one thing clear. I'm not necessarily blaming our loss on the missed tackles. Yes, I understand that, given my postgame reactionary (if it's not a word, I'm starting the trend right here, right now; hop on board) that could fairly easily be inferred, but I do realize the mitigating circumstances. Oklahoma's offense was on the field for like 2 hours of real-life time, which is an exhorbiantly long time to stay out there and be expected to tackle world-class athletes, which Boomer Sooner has boatloads of. And, while I made reference to it above, you can't really blame the cushions either. Oklahoma has quite a plethora of athletes, and our DB's, notably Kendrick Harper, aren't quite up to that level. Sure, they can tackle well (for the most part) and are 'good', which is fine-and-dandy against most teams in the country. But against those 10-or-so teams that it won't quite work, you have to give up the short stuff and hope for incompletions to get off the field. It's just nature of the beast. Now, give Mangino a couple more years of consistently having a number next to our name, first-or-second place finishes in the Big 12 North and solid bowls and I think we'll have the kind of defense to keep up with the OU's of the world. For now, nuh-uh.
- Jake Sharp. Wow, where did that come from. I mean sure, he had an awesome half against Iowa State and a pretty good game against Colorado, but Oklahoma is an entire different beast altogether. And this is a team that wouldn't let Adrian Peterson run on them. Of course, that was pre-Ryan Reynolds' injury, and their defense is obviously much worse without him. Still, though, Sharp deserves a lot of credit for getting over a 100 in Norman. That one drive, too, was probably the high point of the game for me. It was at that moment(s), when Jake Sharp consistently found holes big enough for Mark Mangino and sliced-and-diced up the field for chunks of 15 and 20 yards that I thought 'hey, we can actually win this game'. But it wasn't just him, either. Jocques Crawford looked mighty fine in his action, and Angus Quigley had that one nice run off the shovel pass (more on that in about 3.8 lines). Whether it was our offensive line simply deciding to whoop some ass or Oklahoma's lack of Ryan Reynolds or something else (probably a combination of all three, as per usual), it was nice to see us run on a legitimately good defense. Hopefully we can do that again against the rest of the big boys on our schedule; if we can't, uh-oh.
- OK, as promised, here is what I have to say about the shovel pass. I hate it. Well, that isn't true. I really love it when used in moderation, like once-a-half. And wouldn't you know it; the first time we do it it's good for a large gain. But everytime after that, the Boomer Sooner D-Linemen were right there, ready to demolish whichever RB caught the ball (Crawford or Quigley, I don't think Sharp had one). I like it once-or-twice or, if you wanna be crazy, three times a game, but we seriously overdosed. And while it certainly wasn't the only reason we lost, by a long shot, it certainly did little to help.
- Speaking of Jocques Crawford, he helped out our kickoff return game quite a bit. I realize that Boomer Sooner can't cover kickoffs at all (about all they can't do, really), but it was still nice to actually get the ball beyond the 20.
- Todd Reesing's pick in the endzone coule have been a game-ender right there. But, as mentioned before, we didn't let it faze us too much, focred a three-and-out (or something like that, maybe they got a first down) and got the ball back and drove right back and scored. All was good, again. Still could have used the TD, but I was awfully proud that we bounced back to basically negate the INT.
- Finally, and this is obvious, but it still needs to be said. We desperately need a pass rush. We kinda-sorta had one at the beginning of the game, but as our defense stayed out on the field longer and longer, that quickly dissipated. I am eagerly anticipating D.J. Marshall next season after a year of redshirting and incoming recruits Tyrone Sellers and Kevin Young, as all of them profile as more complete-ends as our current crop. I still think Laptad can be a three-down DE, but Mangino ain't convinced as of yet, and we need him right now.
That's it. No more OU-KU talk. Starting tomorrow, it's all Red Raiders, all the time. Get ready for some offense. Wait, one more thing. Sam Bradford is dayum good, and I sincerely hope that he will be the Kansas City Chiefs QB, whenever he decides to play pro football.
Oh, and the game is now officially on ESPN. Still at the crack of dawn for me way out here in California, but the game was either going to be on ESPN or ESPN2, in sort of a competition with some Big 10/11 game (and honestly, if it ain't Penn State or tOSU, does it really matter? I mean, it is entirely possible that Northwestern is the third best team in that conference...), but, naturally, we won.
One final note: Guess who won't get to see the OSU-UT game? Oh, yeah, that'd be me, who instead will get to watch the sure-to-be-unforgettable UCLA-Cal game. I mean, maps have yet to be realized, but I'm no idiot.
Oh well. I can always watch the replay...