Losing consecutive games is something the majority of teams in college football go through. And it’s ok, nobody can be perfect. That is unless we’re talking about a specific group of teams that are always expected to be perfect, especially for NCAAF odds enthusiasts. Enter the Oklahoma Sooners.
Year in and year out the Sooners are always deemed as one of the premier teams. This year, they’ve become one of the teams to beat. After consecutive losses against Kansas State and TCU, Brent Venables’ team is nowhere close to what OU fans were expecting.
As the Sooners prepare to meet Texas in another edition of the Red River Showdown on Saturday, is now a good time to talk about what’s going on with Oklahoma? We say yes, so let’s break down what’s up with the Sooners.
The QB Situation Is Oh So Bad
Oklahoma has prided itself on having some of the country’s best QBs. That is until this year. In the passer department, the Sooners have looked all kinds of bad. The starter, Dillon Gabriel couldn’t manage to put one and one together against a TCU defense that had a field day against him and Oklahoma’s offensive line.
To say that Gabriel was ineffective on offense is a compliment. He looked like he left his accuracy skills at home and at the end of the day, everything added up to a sad showing from him. After being sidelined by a cheap shot from a TCU defender, backup Davis Beville stepped in, but it didn’t go any better for the Sooners.
Now we know, it could be argued that being so hard on Oklahoma’s QB core might be a stretch, especially with their three initial weeks in the season. But who did they beat? And when you look at the stats from those games, does the passing game stand out?
To answer both questions, they beat lower-tiered schools, sorry Nebraska, but you know it’s true, and no, the passing game did not stand out one bit.
In both of their losses, facing ranked teams, only against Kansas State did Gabriel show some signs of life. So now, as they prepare to face Texas in Dallas, in what usually ends up being a scoring fiesta, what will the Sooners do to try and reverse their issues?
Beville looked like he didn’t know where to begin against TCU. He was messy and looked nervous and it all ended up backfiring.
If Gabriel ends up missing the game, and maybe even more time, will Beville step up and try to fix Oklahoma’s passing problems? One could hope, but hope can only go so far.
This Defensive Line Is on Its Way To Become A Punch Line
Don’t use the first three games as a barometer of how Oklahoma’s defense can perform. It was obvious that against teams like UTEP, Kent State, and Nebraska, the Sooners’ defense would have easy outings. If you give me pads and a helmet, I’d probably rake up a couple of sacks and a pick-six while playing at half a tank.
Just like with the offense, if you look back at how this defense performed against Kansas State and above all TCU, you’ll see that this unit looks like the start of a bad joke. There’s no line penetration, and the coverage done by their DB core is abysmal.
Both Venables and his DC Ted Roof are known to share a physical and aggressive mentality when it comes to their defenses, but that is not the case whatsoever here.
If they can’t get their front line, linebackers, corners, and safeties to show any sort of life and fight, just call it a season, because that is something that teams like Texas love to exploit.
How Much of This Debacle Is Venables’ Fault?
Little to none. Given that this is Brent Venables’ first year as head coach of the Sooners, it was understandable that time for adjusting and settling in would be necessary. But with the way the team has been performing, maybe it’s time for Oklahoma to start rethinking a couple of things here and there.
Before the season started, a lot of hype was built around how the Sooners were preparing to usher in the Venables era. With that hype, the reality of the fact that the coach would need some time to prepare the team to play under his style, especially after Lincoln Riley’s tenure, was also present.
As of now, Oklahoma needs to understand that there will be no CFP invitations this season. The Sooners also need to understand that Venables is a good coach, but not a perfect one that could just hit the ground running.
With the way the team has played, the Sooners will be lucky if they can make it to the end of the season with a chance to play for the Big 12 title.
Once the Sooners understand that Venables needs some more time, the tides will surely start to change. Oklahoma has the players, staff, and facilities to be a top-ranked college football team once again, maybe next year though, because this year, that ship has sailed.