WEEK 10 REPORT CARD
Quarterback – I am no longer biting my tongue regarding this team. It is frustrating to see some of the things we’re seeing. While I put 70% of the offensive blame on Coach Lebby for their shortcomings. It is also plain to see that there are things that Gabriel is simply missing. Because of his inability to be a true progression QB, teams are working up ways to take away the first read and make him hold on to the ball. The Sooners had a number of opportunities to separate but Gabriel failed to take what the defense gave him and threw up for too many passes with too much air. Thompson’s throw was bad all the way around along with the fumble in their own territory. There was absolutely some elite play but the plays were not made when it mattered most, especially if they were not schemed up pre-snap.
Wide Receiver – Outside of Nic Anderson, who would love to have this game back, the receivers played well enough to win the game. Stoops should have received a medal for the plays he was making, along with a yellow handkerchief after the contact in the endzone. Felt like the receivers made some great yards after the catch but also some critical drops by Anderson hurt the final grade.
Running Back – Just when it feels like the running game is finally moving along well, everything else goes to the dogs. Sawchuk and Walker, yet again, showed why they are the leaders in that room and on the field. Sawchuk got the offense rolling with a big run out of the gate and demonstrated his top-gear speed. Walker also saw some action as he broke tackles and broke off a big run to keep the Sooners in the game. However, Barnes fumble was incredibly costly and turnovers definitely impacted this game.
Tight Ends – Stogner has really had a tough year. Save is a lone catch that was a nice play by Gabriel, far too many whiffs on the edge and out in space for this to be a passing grade today.
Offensive Line – The offensive line has been relatively consistent all year in their pass-pro but has recently elevated their ability to move the line of scrimmage in the run game. Even though play-calling was suspect, it was nice to see the run game have moments of success, even if it felt too short-lived at times.
Defensive Ends – Thought they played solid in this one. Bothroyd made some huge plays coming from that strongside edge position and when facing the best back in the country, stood up well in short yardage multiple times. They got stronger as the game went on but do wish there could have been a bit more pressure at times.
Defensive Tackles – As with the defensive ends, anytime you only give up 3.8 yards per carry to one of the best running backs in college football, you have seemingly done your job. A lot more could have been done to yield pressure but it was certainly good enough to win the game. Particularly with multiple stops on downs.
Linebackers: Tweeted out during the game that this was one of the better shows of the linebacker position in a while, particularly when considering who they were playing and that you were missing your Alpha in Stutsman. McKenzie certainly had his struggles but still did well to make himself relevant against the pass and played gap-sound football for a large majority of the game. Kip Lewis may end up being a star before it is all said and done.
Corners: This was quite a rough outing for the Corners. Even though Gentry was banged up, he still gave it a go, and outside of a few tackles on the perimeter and one pass break-up, he struggled early on. There was absolutely some good sprinkled in as they were involved in the run game at times, helping limit superstar back, Ollie Gordon, but there just were not enough competitive plays in the pass game against #10 and #80 to put the pressure on Oklahoma State when it really mattered to close the game.
Safeties: I actually think Robert Spears-Jennings played his best game as a Sooner and Billy Bowman made a critical play that should have helped Oklahoma pull away but it just was not enough. There were still too many missed tackles and players were able to pick up additional yards for it to make Oklahoma State reconsider their strategy. Also, we must account for the start of the game which consisted of far too many arm tackles. That being said, I believe this defense has definitely made some steady improvement since the first conference game but still quite a ways to go.
Field Goals/Extra Point/Kickoff: Nothing huge here other than the 51-yard miss which was honestly unfair to put him in that position from my vantage point. Giving a passing grade here.
Punting/Punt Coverage/Return: Cannot muff punts but luckily it was not as costly as the previous week’s muffed kickoff. That being said, Sooners still could not win the game.
This team has to decide who they currently are and who they want to be. This two-game stretch has been rough for them as it feels like ever since the Texas game, a lot of their identity is essentially gone. There are a number of personnel questions that are still baffling the fans but even more worrisome is the lack of offensive continuity to expand a lead when the defense is handing you opportunities. For three consecutive weeks, the defense has handed the Sooners a chance to win games they should have been leading by multiple touchdowns, and in only one have they been able to convert.
Additionally, Coach Venables needs to decide what he wants to do with offensive coordinator, Jeffy Lebby. I will not beat the dead horse but so much of the offensive issues feel like big-picture problems as opposed to “a player or two.”
Overall Grade: C-
Does the board agree with these grades? Too high or too low for some groups?