Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

January 6, 2013

Gap between Sooners and greatness put on display

ARLINGTON, Texas — For any and all who were wondering just how far away Sooner football is from the promised land, it is this far away.

It is exactly the distance between itself and Texas A&M on Friday night at Cowboys Stadium, where OU, if everybody’s willing to be honest, was nothing more indictable than its very self, a good team, capable of great things, but with big whopping exploitable holes, just about all of them exposed against the nation’s best team right now.

That’s the only takeaway from A&M’s crushing, and no-fluke, 41-13 Cotton Bowl victory over the Sooners.

OU is a defense capable of playing well, but still porous. It is an offense capable of great things, but incapable of doing it all itself.

Against the right team, it is a very long way away and the Aggies are most definitely the right team.

Johnny Manziel turned out so much better in real life than he’d ever proven to be on television and this from a voter who understood the Heisman Trophy had to be his.

How can anybody possibly believe a Notre Dame linebacker who has made about 10 tackles a game and picked off seven passes is better than this guy, now even more clearly the nation’s “most outstanding” collegiate player this season and maybe several seasons.

He ran for 229 yards and threw for 287 and by the middle of the third quarter he was just showing off, toying with the Sooners because he could.

Manziel could get hurt, SEC defenses, already the alleged nation’s best, may invent a better way to play him over the next three seasons, but after Friday night it’s hard to guess how they might. The kid is playing a different game than the other 21 players on the field.

Maybe it took the world’s largest hi-def screen to prove it replay after replay Friday night, but that’s exactly what it did.

Manziel may never be an NFL quarterback, or he might, but that doesn’t mean he can’t own the college game as long he’s in College Station like nobody before him on any campus ever has.

Meanwhile, the Sooner Nation should hope that every time Bob Stoops interrupted a question daring to question the talent of his defensive line and linebackers, he was merely blowing smoke in their great defense. Because if the talent can’t be upgraded, then what’s OU to do?

Really, Manziel may be the best anybody’s ever seen, but he wasn’t alone the second half of the season.

Between Baylor, West Virginia, Oklahoma State and A&M, four of the season’s last five games, the Sooners allowed almost 600 yards per Saturday and more than 250 on the ground.

Everybody was pulling their hair out last year over what happened in Waco and Stillwater, yet by the end of this one the defense was no better and, pretty clearly, worse.

So bad, in fact, was what happened Friday night at Cowboys Stadium, while disappointing and laying OU’s deficiencies bare, it was nonetheless an odd reverse-tribute to a regular season that included 10 wins, two losses that might have gone the other way and a shared conference championship.

Against Baylor, West Virginia and OSU, the Sooners remained their limited selves, just as they were against A&M.

OU won those games on grit and character and the finest moments of the artist formerly known as Landry Jones; at least for Sooner fans who never fell in love with him, but might only have been on the good side of six or seven games this season, nowhere near 10, without him.

Going forward, it’s easy to see how A&M gets better. The Aggies have the nation’s best quarterback and maybe the nation’s fastest improving defense, too, good for a trio of third-quarter three-and-outs that marked the end of OU’s challenge.

For OU, it’s a whole new ballgame, one that might get worse before it gets better. Or, just maybe, Blake Bell’s the savior so many have wanted to make him the last couple of years. Anyway, a college football world will keep spinning.

The Aggies deserve to begin at the top. The Sooners belong wherever they belong.

That’s the difference.

It’s vast.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • James_Ethan-(12)-vs.#2CC63C.jpg Back on the line

    RiverHawks’ Ethan James returns to the line healthy and ready for 2014

    RiverHawks offensive lineman Ethan James will enter the 2014 season healthy – something the team, and James, were not in 2013.

    July 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • Sooners shifting several positions

    Experience comes from encountering the same things in the same ways over and over again. Oklahoma’s Geneo Grissom and Julian Wilson have that at defensive end and nickleback in bunches.
    However, both will be seeing new things when practice begins. Grissom is moving to outside linebacker. Wilson will be getting a look at cornerback as his senior season begins

    July 25, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Better police needed for college teams enticed to cheat

    The NCAA once cracked down on colleges that went too far luring top prospects, then it targeted teams that lathered players with special treatment. That was until the NCAA's get-tough approach backfired, rendering it ineffective and creating an opportunity for those who want to play dirty.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • BobBowlsby.jpg Media Week: Change is coming

    Changes are coming to college athletics.
    That was the theme of the state of the conference speech by Big 12 Conference commissioner Bob Bowlsby on the first day of Big 12 Football Media Days.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Peterson.jpg Cowboy quandary: OSU defense trying to replace seven starters

    A year after the best defensive team in the Mike Gundy era, the questions now surround how those few returning starters and second-year defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer can maintain that high level of efficiency.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Really one true champion?

    I decided to spare the colleagues in front of me – and myself from making a scene – by holding back flipping my table at the Big 12 Conference Football Media Days in Dallas.
    I had become exhausted by the constant use and misrepresentation by the Big 12 with their moniker of “One True Champion.” If they are going to live with the slogan, then they need to abide by that slogan.
    Perhaps its a simple case that they are keeping constant with the poor math of the 10-team Big 12 Conference.

    July 23, 2014

  • Hill expected to be used in multiple facets

    The picture became a little clearer recently of how Big 12 Conference Newcomer of the Year Tyreek Hill will be utilized in the Oklahoma State offense.
    And the picture is rather wide.

    July 23, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Expectations too high for a rehabbing Woods

    Tiger Woods finished near bottom last weekend at Royal Liverpool, drawing out his drought of major tournament wins. Despite the disappointing showing, Woods' return to form remains a matter of when, not if.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • shock pic.jpg Time to rest

    Shock beats San Antonio before entering All-Star break

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • McIlroy leads, Tiger Woods in contention after 1st day at British Open

    July 18, 2014

Poll

Do you believe school administrators and college presidents in Oklahoma are paid too much?

Strongly agree.
Somewhat agree.
Somewhat disagree.
Strongly disagree.
Undecided.
     View Results
Press Sports Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground
Stocks