Open Post | Tuesday, October 6th

Friday Evening Insider Note | Ronnie Perkins | Riley Update
– Charlie S

On Friday evening, we reported the following:

***We can confirm through sources that Sooners defensive end Ronnie Perkins has traveled with the team to Ames.

***Perkins has been suspended from play since the College Football Playoff game last year against LSU

***The Sooners believe they will know in the morning if he will be cleared to play in the game tomorrow evening.

As you know by now, he did in fact travel with the team.

On Saturday, there were several reports that Perkins ‘won his appeal’ and could potentially suit up for Iowa State with him making his first appearance of the season against Texas being more likely.

We have yet to confirm those reports on our own (K, James and I) but that is not to say they are not accurate or correct, just that we have not confirmed them independently.

Yesterday, Sooners head coach Lincoln Riley, on the Big 12 media call, said Ronnie Perkins was brought to Ames for “moral support” and indicates his status for Saturday’s game against Texas hasn’t changed at this point.

So Riley is either playing semantics…or nothing truly has changed.

We will all see this week.

Very Quick Post Game Notes
– Charlie S

The Sooners lose to Iowa State on the road in Ames for the first time since 1960.

The Sooners lost consecutive games for the first time since 1999.

And they really worked hard to achieve those feats.

***Turning point of the game to me was in the first half when OU had a chance to go up 2o or 24 to 6 but they were forced to punt it away.

***The offensive line, while better, once again did not impose their will on the Iowa State defense

***Rattler was spectacular most of the night, until his final throw, and he was not getting any help from his receivers for the most part as Obi Obialo dropped a potential score and Theo Wease also had one go through his hands on what was an incredible throw from a scrambling Rattler.

***The defense…missed tackles, blown assignments, more missed tackles and then throw in penalties and you are going to lose.

***Bookie was horrendous on the evening as he was guilty of all the issues mentioned above and Pat Fields looked like he was trying to tackle worms all night and if he wasn’t diving at feet he was standing flatfooted reaching for a ball carrier as they went by him like a swinging gate.

***Anton Harrison is in the game, OU scores 2 touchdowns. No idea what that experiment is all about.

***Sooners looked to have a chance to save themselves when Isaiah Thomas stepped up and made a play with a strip sack and the Sooners recovered. It was a temporary fix as following the Sooners scoring, the special teams coverage unit blew up and gifted ISU a very short field.

***On the second to last defensive series of the game, it looked like the OU defense gave up. That was an effort issue. It was them bowing their heads and letting ISU do what they wanted to do.

***OU takes on Texas in the Cotton Bowl next week and if they run the same defensive players out there, they have a very good chance of getting run off the field…again.

***The defensive line actually played pretty well for most of the night, particularly the ends.

***The lack of accountability during the game is in stark contrast to the words which are spoken by the staff during the week. You have guys, on both offense and defense, making the same mistakes time and time again, yet nothing happens to them. They go right back out there and, usually, they commit the same mistake.

***I will go into more depth tomorrow, and I am sure K and James will have their thoughts…but this was bad.

***Once again, the Sooners snatched defeat from the jaws of victory by way of their own doing.

Perspective Before the Storm
– Super K

I have much to say on the state of the Sooners. I plan on writing about the issues both small and large that I believe need to be considered and potentially remedied. We have the next few days for that.

But, I want to start but I offering something to keep in mind while you try to process the current state of things.

There are plenty of valid critiques of the defense. But in my opinion, in order to sift through valid vs less valid critiques, it’s important to remember the circumstances.

While this is technically year two for Grinch and you’d expect to see a big jump in the defense, Covid threw quite the wrench into that.

I recognize that all teams have had to deal with what comes along with Covid but not all teams are necessarily impacted the same way.

For the Sooners, what you’re essentially looking at is last year’s defense minus a first round linebacker and third round defensive tackle.

Normally, the Sooners would’ve had spring ball to get young players the reps needed to compete and possibly unseat less than stellar starters. For example, Grinch goes and lands a big athletic safety in Bryson Washington.

Washington was an early enrollee but didn’t get a spring. Then, you finally get a chance to at least get him some reps in fall camp and he gets hit with a contact trace.

Both Kendall Dennis and Josh Eaton were out extensive times during fall camp.

Shane Whittier is an athletic linebacker who was also an early enrollee but again, no spring to actually get him ready.

I could go on both on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.

In an established defense, none of this matters nearly as much. In year four or five of a defense, you’re not relying on bringing in your guys to play early. In year two you are. You go out and recruit those guys but then you have almost no time to bring them up to speed – not even a normal fall camp.

So, again, while this Covid situation impacts all teams, it doesn’t impact all teams equally.

In my estimation, you’ll see that the first place OU needs to take stock is some of Lincoln Riley’s macro decisions over the past few years. But that’s a topic for later.

My Big 12 Rankings | Week 2
– Charlie S

This week the Big 12 opened up their full conference slate

Let’s take a look at my updated rankings for the conference now that the majority of the teams have played:

 ***Note: In order to not be simply a reactionary poll, I am using a set guideline where no matter where a team entered the poll from the previous week, they cannot move up or down more than 3 spots this week as opposed to 2 spots in last weeks ranking. This does not mean they will not continue to drop as the weeks go on, but I’m trying to not be as reactionary as I would like to be. So the 3 position max movement per week gives me a little more flexibility and will go on throughout the season***

Remember, these are week to week rankings. This is not how I view the teams overall but by the end of the season they should matchup with my exact thoughts. Again, OU would be lower right now in the big picture.

Conference record in parenthesis.

***1. OkState – (2-0) Last week 2 – takes over the top spot from Texas this week as they took care of things and thumped Kansas 47-7

***2. West Virginia – (1-1) Last week 5 – This will likely be a short lived stay in the 2 hole as they did what was necessary and beat Baylor 27-21, but I don’t see their good fortune lasting.

***3. TCU – Last week 6 – (1-1) They aren’t the third best team in the conference at this point, but they are on the upswing and could find themselves in the championship game as they progress.

***4 Texas – (1-1) Last week 1 – After a near miss against TTU the week prior, TCU was able to finish off the Longhorns who I noted last week…*** Texas is not safe in the top spot for too long. 

***5 Iowa State – (2-0) Last week 7 – Should be a bit higher (above Texas, but I can’t drop Texas past 4 this week) as I expect them to continue to improve after beating OU.

***6 Oklahoma – (0-2) Last week 3 – Another week, another situation where I had to put the brakes on their free fall following a loss, this time to ISU. They do not belong in front of KSU right now, but they are there due to the nature of this poll. They are a bad football team right now.

***7 Baylor – (1-1) Last week 4 – Looked very ‘meh’ against a not great WVU team. Likely right around where they will finish the season.

***8 Kansas State – (2-0) Last week 8 – Caught in a logjam as several teams above them fell their max amounts. Should be above OU, likely will be next week if they win against TCU and even if OU wins against Texas. But Skylar Thompson being injured for any length of time could really hurt them.

***9 Texas Tech – (0-2) Last week 9 – Losing a game they should have won against Texas the week prior could be the highlight of the season for the Red Raiders as they lost to a KSU team who lost Skylar Thompson for a huge chunk of their game.

***10 Kansas – Last week 10 – (0-2) Locked in here. Really don’t see a path out for them.

Couple takeaways from my own poll

***KSU too low as I said, but they will likely be moving up no matter what next week, even if they lose to TCU.

***OU Still too high based on what they have done on the field

***I would have Texas below OU if they had not pulled out the miracle against TTU

***Hot Take I never thought I would type this year: Neither Texas or OU will be in the CCG.

***The Big 12 is incredibly mediocre and the flagship teams are still floundering. Not great.

The Macro View | Riley’s Decisions as Head Coach
– Super K

Since Lincoln Riley has been the head coach at Oklahoma, he has had some incredible quarterback talent. I don’t at all mean to imply that Riley isn’t a primary reason for the recruitment and development of said talent. My point is simply to say that by his own doing he’s had the kind of elite trigger men that can mask a host of problems.

Perhaps “mask” is the wrong word. Every OU fan knew that parting with Mike Stoops after Riley’s first season was the right move. Unfortunately, Lincoln Riley didn’t seem to realize it until the middle of Riley’s second season as head coach. It cost OU a valuable rebuilding and recruiting year and the effects of that are likely many.

Riley is a young and very very talented coach. But when you are that young and talented, it can lead you to believe that you can do it all.

Certain coach isn’t connecting with his players? No problem, I’ll personally talk to his guys. Certain coach isn’t recruiting well enough? No problem, I’ll recruit his guys.

I’ve said many times, as a destination job (and OU is that), hires and retention should be made with this question in mind, “is there someone better?”.

Now, I absolutely believe that continuity helps. I believe that having the right personalities inside a program, helps. So there is plenty of room for debate and discussion about what constitutes the best hire.

In other words, if you’re looking for a certain position coach and you’ve got a choice between a younger less experienced guy and a more seasoned guy, then there are valid questions one can ask. Is there a recruiting advantage with the young guy? Has he made a mark somewhere in the short time he’s been there? Does he fit the culture of the staff? Etc.

The decision isn’t always straight forward.

But while the right decision may not always be straight forward, some choices are very clearly wrong.

I can hire a less experienced plumber who happens to be a friend of a friend because he came highly recommended to fix my toilet. But to hire a carpenter to fix my toilet is fairly objectively a bad decision.

When you’ve got a bunch of bathrooms, then having one dysfunctional toilet can go overlooked. So, why not help a buddy out?

But what happens when you’re downgraded and now you’ve only got one toilet and the Mexican food you ate last night isn’t sitting well. That decision to hire a carpenter to fix your toilet starts to look really unwise.

In his short time at Oklahoma, Riley has had a number of decisions to make – who to hire and who to fire.

So, let’s just review them.

***Before Riley took over as HC, there were plenty of calls for OU to part ways with Mike Stoops. Riley retained him.

***More calls came after the first season, Riley retained him.

***Riley fired Mike Stoops in the middle of the second season.

***Riley also parted ways with Kerry Cooks and Tim Kish, following the second season.

***Riley’s first position coach hire was Ruffin McNeil. McNeil was hired as a tenth position coach to coach a portion of the defensive line.

***For perspective, outside of the brief stint at Virginia, Ruffin had not coached defensive line since 2007 at Tech.

***Riley has since parted ways with Ruffin.

***Riley hired Shane Beamer.

***Prior to Oklahoma, Beamer was the TE and ST coach at Oklahoma.

***Riley replaced Jerry Schmidt as S&C coach, with Bennie Wylie.

***Prior to coming to OU, Wylie was the director of performance at The Performance Lab in Abilene, TX. His most recent collegiate job ended in 2013 (University of Texas).

***Riley hired Alex Grinch as defensive coordinator to replace Mike Stoops.

***Prior to OU, Grinch was a co-DC for a year at Ohio State and prior to that he was Mike Leach’s DC at Washington State.

***Riley hired Brian Odom as linebacker coach. Prior to OU, Odom was a linebacker under his brother, Barry Odom, at Missouri.

***Riley hired Roy Manning to coach cornerbacks. Prior to OU, Roy was a linebacker coach at UCLA…a linebacker coach.

***Riley also recently replaced Jay Boulware at RB coach and hired DeMarco Murray.

***Also, this year, Riley retained Calvin Thibodeaux but split the defensive line giving outside backers and defensive ends to newly hired defensive coach, Jamar Cain.

***Prior to OU, Cain was the defensive line coach at Arizona State.

I note these without much commentary for now to allow you all to have them all in one place for review.