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June 24, 2013

Game replays could reshape CFB in summer months

Untitled Document


Over the weekend Fox Sports Oklahoma did something smarter than what ESPN has been doing lately. Instead of re-airing mind-numbingly boring spring football games like ESPN has been doing, Fox Sports Oklahoma re-aired OU's wins over West Virginia and Texas Tech.

Like most of you, I'm hurtin' for some college football right now. The games on FSOK were a nice jolt.

What was most noticeable in watching the West Virginia and Texas Tech games back-to-back were the following:

OU still used linebackers when they played Texas Tech. They started out the game with a lot of Tom Wort and Corey Nelson, but finished the game with a lot more Nelson and Frank Shannon.

They also held Texas Tech to 13 points.

Against West Virginia, the Sooners started out with linebackers and shut down the West Virginia running game. Fox sideline reporter Petros Papadakis even had some of the most unfortunate analysis you'll ever see in a college football game.

He said numerous times at the start of the game that West Virginia better stop trying to use Tavon Austin as a running back. After he picked up a nice gain early, Papadakis then said, 'They better not put him back there again.'

Eventually Austin rushed for 344 yards on the ground and the Fox producers stopped asking Papadakis for sideline analysis.

The other thing most noticeable in those games was OU's offensive line.

The Texas game sure covered up OU's failure to run the ball last year. OU's offensive line was not physical against either WVU or Tech. Damien Williams eventually opened up some running room in both games, but it seemed as if Josh Heupel was banging his head against the wall trying to establish a run game early in both contests.

That's not really on Heupel. OU just can't push anyone around at the start of football games anymore. They can't set the tone.

That's obviously a big part of what led to Stoops making the decision to jettison his offensive line staff in favor of Bill Bedenbaugh.

As for how Mike Stoops convinced himself fewer linebackers were better than Nelson and Shannon last season? That's still a mystery to me.

I don't think Sooner fans should be worried at all about the talent level of their linebackers right now. Even Aaron Franklin did some really nice things in that game. And now the Sooners don't have to worry about how to tell Wort he's been passed over by more explosive players at the position.

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Speaking of college football broadcasts, it's time to look at revamping those as well. The notion coaches like Bob Stoops need to have weekly shows during the season is an outdated concept.

Stoops used to have a call-in show, but he no longer takes calls since his show is televised regionally. That was just a recipe for disaster anyway. I don't blame Stoops.

The calls stopped quickly after last year's loss to Kansas State. This was probably the reason why.


These shows are unnecessary. The questions Stoops answers during his weekly press conference with the local media are rarely trumped by anything produced during his mid-week shows.

My thought after watching the replays this weekend is why not have an offseason replay of last year's best games involving the OU coaching staff.

Call it the director's cut of college replay shows.

Let ESPN and Fox broadcasts stand on their own. But have cut-ins with replays from Stoops, Heupel and Mike Stoops talking about what happened during those games.

You could cue the replays in studio and almost make it like Stoops was watching the game along with you. You could have Stoops comment on what he was yelling at an official about, why he was mad at a player as he was coming off the field.

You could have Heupel throw Patton and Kittle under the bus when a called run to Damien Williams was thrown for a five-yard loss.

You could have Mike Stoops squirm all over again as Tavon Austin sliced apart his defense and explain why he thought Julian Wilson would make a good middle linebacker.

Then Bob could make Mike promise to never play without a linebacker again during the broadcast.

All of this would be throughout the summer months when these games were way behind them. Heck, you could even hold summer press conferences to promote these new 'Summer Football Series' broadcasts.

Give people a chance to hear about the latest in OU football and get them jacked up for the upcoming season.

Are you telling me as highly rated as the initial broadcasts are rated that something like summer replays with Stoops, Stoops and Heupel commenting on the games wouldn't draw huge ratings?

College football is so popular in Oklahoma, you'd have to think there is still some meat left on the bone of these games. I bet these broadcasts would pull in ratings just behind the actual games.

That's my grand idea college football broadcasters.

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Summer workouts have started and we'll start getting more information to you on that front. We may even make that the main focus of this week's Sooner Scoop. The thing I'm most interested in is the leadership changes inside this program.

Blake Bell is the type of guy that can be a great leader for the offense. Gabe Ikard and Bronson Irwin are certainly guys that lead in workouts.

The defense is where you worry about offseason leadership. Aaron Colvin is very motivated, but he's not really that guy that gets in other people's faces. Is that changing? OU is so young and inexperienced at so many positions.

I don't see Jordan Phillips or Chuka Ndulue being vocal leaders in the summer. Geneo Grissom is a quiet one too. That's the biggest concern with this group in the offseason. Corey Nelson is not an in-your face personality like Travis Lewis was.

That unit has taken such a beating, I'm not sure anyone feels comfortable stepping up and speaking out. That's the biggest hurdle for this defense over the next two months.

One of the keys for the offense will be LaColtan Bester stepping up and being in great shape this fall. Jay Norvell told me recently if Bester had come in last year in better shape, he would have made a bigger impact.

Now that he's been in Norman and in great shape, they see a true difference maker there.




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