In what was the Oklahoma Sooners worst loss in a Red River Showdown, the Texas Longhorns stomped the Sooners 49-0. It was the most significant margin of victory for Texas and the first shutout by either team since 2006. The devastation heaped upon the Sooners started early and did not stop until the final zero of the clock. For the first time since 1998, Oklahoma dropped its third straight game. It is not a good sign for the Brent Venables era, but there is no need to panic. Right?
The Sooners were without Dillon Gabriel at quarterback, and Davis Beville was a poor substitute. However, on the other end, the Longhorns’ Quinn Ewers looked pretty good and in control of the offense. No matter what Oklahoma did, even with pulling the Wildcat out of their bag of tricks, Texas was able to shut them down with no problem.
So, what can we learn from this game? Some of the same lessons apparently not taken to heart by the Sooners. Let us take a look at our takeaways from the game.
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Gabriel Is the Sooners Offense
Apparently, the Sooners’ offense is nothing without Gabriel, which is bad, especially when he is injured. Beville was no substitute for him; however, a few other choices could have been made during the game. When it became evident that Oklahoma was not going to be doing much and Beville was not working, could they not have put in one of the other quarterbacks on the roster?
Understandably, they did not want to try to put true freshman Nick Evers in, but they did not attempt to see if General Booty would be a better choice than Beville. This leads us to believe that the offensive coaches did not know what to do without Gabriel in as quarterback. They had no backup plan, no pun intended. They attempted passes utilizing five different players on the team, including two passes from running backs and one from punter Michael Turk.
The Sooners Defense Is Not Improving
We have said it since the opening game of the season. The Sooners’ defense is lacking. It is not able to stop offenses of teams very well. It was noticeable in the first three games, which were all non-conference games. Now that they have played their third conference game, they currently stand at 0-3 in Big 12 play. It is easier to see the issues with the defense against better teams.
They have difficulty getting pressure on quarterbacks and letting them feel comfortable staying in the pocket. Even when the Sooner defense was able to get Ewers out of the pocket, he was able to make it work. However, the defense could not get a sack on Ewers, and they appeared unable to have good coverage down the field. The defense also finished with four tackles for a loss.
Whose Fault Is It?
While losing 49-0 to your most hated rival in the Big 12 is never fun, what do you have left if you put that aside? A team that is struggling both offensively and defensively against teams they should be able to win against or at least be competitive against. In the end, whose is to blame? The coaches? The players? Both? It is a complicated web to unweave, and the answer may be somewhere in the middle of this mess that is Oklahoma football.
You cannot really fault the players; they are executing the plays learned and worked on in practice. What about the coaches? They are the ones who draw up the plays; they make the decisions on who is going out on the field, who gets to run the routes, etc. The bottom line is that Oklahoma does not look ready to play football at all. Sure they were victorious against teams who were less talented. However, that does not mean much when you lose dramatically to teams you are supposed to be more competitive with. In this instance, against Texas, the coaching staff would need to be out in timeout for such appalling preparation for a game they knew their starting quarterback would most likely not be playing in.
Oklahoma has a football problem. One we suspect will continue as they suffer growing pains from a new coaching staff and system. How long will fans put up with this mediocrity? It is anyone’s guess. The coaching staff needs to figure something out before Oklahoma becomes not just the laughingstock of the Big 12, but college football.
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