MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

OU

November 12, 2013

OU not going into specifics about offensive woes

NORMAN – On Monday, there weren’t too many in-depth answers as to why Oklahoma’s offense struggled so much in last Thursday’s 41-12 loss to Baylor.

That wasn’t a surprise. The Sooners, who are averaging just 28.9 points per outing, haven’t spoken in specifics about their offensive problems much beyond saying they need to be better in all aspects.

“That’s what you’re constantly trying to evaluate. There are some plays in there that have been good all year. All of a sudden they’re not good. They out-played us on a play we’ve executed almost every game. Here we run it and we get nothing on a certain run play. Is that coaching? I don’t know,” OU coach Bob Stoops said. “Maybe we didn’t coach it hard enough this week when we’ve coached it for eight weeks. All of a sudden, it isn’t any good. Well, sometimes you get beat.”

As he continued, Stoops offered a facsimile of dialogue between coaches.

“Here are the certain issues we could have done better and here are certain issues we can’t do anything about,” he said, “when our kids are in good position to make a play and you don’t make it.”

But what seems to have emerged nine weeks into the season is the Sooner offense has become predictable. OU center Gabe Ikard didn’t use it as an excuse. He believes the Sooners should have offensive success no matter what the situation.

Still, it seemed Baylor knew what was coming before the ball was snapped.

“They were slanting their front to the strength and doing a lot of things going off our tendencies,” Ikard said. “When it comes down to it, we’ve got to be able to block it anyway. Other teams are gonna do it the rest of the year. We need to prepare for it and be able to adjust on Saturdays and make it work.”

All teams have tendencies. By November, all have been exposed. Teams either adjust or run the risk the of being embarrassed like the Sooners (7-2, 4-2 Big 12) last time out.

OU has reached a point in which trying new things would appear to make sense. The chances of winning of a Big 12 championship are microscopic.

The Sooners face Iowa State (1-8, 0-6) at 11 a.m. Saturday at Owen Field, and it’s the final home game of the season.

Arguably, that’s a good time to begin playing young players and building toward the future. Stoops doesn’t see it that way.

“You look at all the different pieces you’re trying to get back on the field or won’t be on the field and trying to … It’s just strictly putting the best out there right now to win,” he said. “There isn’t any looking outside of this week.”

That includes changes at the quarterback spot.

Blake Bell remains the starter despite a rocky outing against the Bears. But Stoops added the caveat that OU has to throw the ball better.

Bell was 15 for 35 against Baylor and is completing 60.4 percent of his passes. In six Big 12 games, he’s thrown four touchdown passes.

“We could have executed some of our passing game that was there the other night,” Stoops said. “We have some other plays and routes that are open that we've got to be able to hit. We've got to be able to throw it more accurate in some instances. That would help.”

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