Opinion: Valid reasons for frustration with Oklahoma Football

For a multitude of reasons, this season has been a disaster. The Sooners are sitting at 5-5, under .500 for the first time since 1998, and possibly having it’s worst finish since then. I for one do believe that a portion of the OU fanbase got a little too crazy with preseason expectations. Blake and I said multiple times in the off-season that this season wouldn’t be pretty.

But Boy.

Even the level headed fans, the ones who knew it’d be a struggle, are getting restless.

Look, football is hard. Mentally. Physically. It’s draining. Every player that wears the interlocking OU cares about winning these games more than you and i do.

But at this point, i watch this team and wonder if some guys flat out don’t care. It’s certainly not the entire team, because you can’t convince me that someone like Ethan Downs wouldn’t die for this program, but a number of players just are who they are. It’s obvious to assume that players aren’t ok with losing, but to the fans, it truly doesn’t look like that’s the case. From the outside looking in, it looks like a collective of players who wouldn’t kill somebody to win a football game.

When you walk into the Barry Switzer Center, you’ll run into 2 signs – “Best Is The Standard” and “ALL IN”.

2 “Swinneyisms” from the legendary Clemson Head Coach.

When you’re “ALL IN”, that means being committed to the whole nine yards. The film, the meetings, the lifts, the conditioning, but most importantly, the person to your right and left.

Yesterday’s loss at West Virginia made it seem like this team is littered with individuals. Guys that are in it for themselves, and not the person next to them. Obviously these guy’s care about each other and they are a family, but if you’re not willing to die (not literally) for the person next to you to get the job done, what’s the point? Stories of players ignoring advice on the sidelines or acting like nothing happened after embarrassing losses, or simple finger pointing, have risen, and those are things that cause teams to crumble. At the same time, these are things that have been problems for years. Nobody seems to have that killer instinct. Once something goes bad, this unit doesn’t respond well.

There were moments yesterday where guys were in position to make plays, and just flat out didn’t. Making those plays is a combination of effort and G.A.S level (give a s***). You can cuss, scream, and holler at the coaches all you want but you cannot coach those things. For the past month, execution has just been poor. 4/5 losses have been to team that aren’t even in the same stratosphere as you talent wise, so what’s the excuse? TCU is legit, but you can’t convince me that Baylor, West Virginia, and Kansas State wouldn’t, at it’s full potential, trade rosters with you in a heartbeat.

You should take it personal when teams are not afraid to go for it on 4th and long. West Virginia has a head coach who will not be there next season, but he sure wasn’t scared. The Mountaineers were 4/5 on 4th downs yesterday. If that doesn’t rub you wrong as a player already, you should have a problem with stuff like this…

This is a team that doesn’t have a true “DAWG” or dawg mentality. Outside of say a Dashaun White, Brayden Willis or Justin Broiles, there’s nobody that’s willing to rally the troops and say “this **** ain’t gonna cut it”, and even if there is, some people just don’t want to hear it, and will laugh it off. At what point do you get frustrated and say “i’m better than this guy across from me”, and go prove it? At what point do you take it personal?

You need true, get in your face, give it to you raw leaders in your program in order to be successful. There’s a reason the head coach has stated “we’re trying to build leadership”.

Brent Venables has some tough decisions to make this offseason. Be it telling players it’s best that they move on, or getting rid of coaches. In no way, shape, or form is Brent Venables on the hot seat. Fact is, getting rid of Venables after one season sets your program back another 10 years.

This team may have went 10-2 a year ago but Venables did not inherit the perfect storm. This program was the definition of gutted. You can bring up the success Lanning is having at Oregon or Kelly is having at LSU, but no other program experienced the turnover that Oklahoma did. Let’s also not pretend that last season’s team wasn’t a play away from being where they are now. Take that, and add it to losing a large chunk of talent to the portal or NFL draft. There’s a reason Venables’s contract included a $25,000 raise for simply winning 7 games. That tells me all powers that be knew it would take time.

You will never convince me that he doesn’t care about winning. The guy would cut his nuts off just to win. And you can tell he‘s taken this hard, because even he can’t believe things are going this way. He’s trying to turn this thing from country club and getting by to hard nosed and earning what you get, but some guys just aren’t cut for it. Too much of doing things the old way is still around.

FINAL THOUGHT: I still believe this thing will be fine in the future. The foundation this regime is trying to build is what this program needs to make it to the top. When you take a hard look at it, your long term plan looks like building another version of Clemson/Alabama, with the expertise of Brent Venables & Thad Turnipseed. Obviously, those on the University payroll have a better look on it than me, so enjoy this piece filled with an outsiders perspective.

If you’re Venables, you have to hit the portal hard this off-season, and continue to weed out what doesn’t belong. Find guys that fit your culture. In the nicest way possible, it seems like Venables has tried to admit that they don’t have the horses for what he wants done. He knows what it takes to get to the top better than anybody inside those walls, so you won’t convince that the guy just forgot how to coach. You have to go out and hire a WRs coach that can help level up your offense (*cough Jeff Scott cough*), and find a DC with a solid resume that can turn this thing around. If that means promoting Brandon Hall, then so be it.

Oklahoma has the right guy for the job. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither were college football’s current elite programs. Stay patient, and Boomer Sooner.

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