, Muskogee, OK

October 29, 2012

Oklahoma regroups after second home loss

By John Shinn
CNHI News Service

— NORMAN – The season moved forward for Oklahoma on Monday. The loss 30-13 loss to Notre Dame was dissected on Sunday and prior to practice. Then it was buried.

The Sooners had no interest resurrecting it.

“It’s not easy taking a loss. That’s not what we like to do here, and no one is OK with it. We’re not going to sit here and say ‘It’s fine’ and that everyone is OK with it. It hits you hard in the soul, especially a game like that, that’s big and its atmosphere and as loud as it was,” defensive tackle Jamarkus McFarland said. “ But you have to be mature enough not to dwell on it. Coach is going to talk about it today and then we’re going to move forward. We’ve got another team we’ve got to prepare for. We can’t dwell on it; we’ve got the rest of the season to play.”

There’s the game at Iowa State (5-3, 2-3) at 11 a.m. on Saturday that requires immediate attention. Anyone thinking the Cyclones are interested in the Sooners’ woes would be sadly mistaken.

However, the question OU (5-2, 3-1) must answer is how will it respond when its goal of playing for national a championship is all but off the table?

Last season showed quickly recovering from emotional losses isn’t a given. OU lost three of its last seven games to end the year. By the bowl game, OU coach Bob Stoops was running off troublesome players and vowing he wasn’t going to let “character issues” infect his locker room.

He doesn’t believe character had anything to do with this season’s setbacks or will prevent progress from being made.

“We still have a lot of games to go and each week is a fight to be better. This team has been great to coach. Their attitude and everything about them, we haven’t had at this point the issues that we had a year ago. But we’ll see,” Stoops said. “We’re only a little over halfway through it.”

There still is a lot to play for. This season’s losses have been undefeated teams ranked in the top four. OU still needs Kansas State to lose twice to have any shot at an outright Big 12 championship. A BCS bowl, however, is still in the picture if the Sooners, who are No. 12 in the BCS standings, can win out.

Their attitude will have a lot to say about how the season is remembered.

“I don’t think we’re going to shut it down and call it quits for the rest of the year,” quarterback Landry Jones said. “There is some adversity that comes with losing games and having different goals out of the picture. But we’re a prideful program and we have a lot of pride in what we do. We’re not going to shut it down and we’re not going to stop trying when game day comes around. We’re going to put the best guys on the field and we’re going to play hard. “

It’s easy to say those things. Actually doing it is the hard part. OU’s had seasons go in both positive and negative directions after emotional losses. Only the players can pick the route.