As is the case most years, Oklahoma has the talent on paper to win (or, at the very least, compete for) another Big 12 title. But, as you very well know, football is played on a field and not at the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company.
But former Sooners coach Barry Switzer disagrees, especially when it comes to the talent along OU’s defensive front.
“They just don’t have the talent,” Switzer told the Tulsa World. “We’re not as good as we have been. We don’t have the Tommie Harrises or Gerald McCoys squatting down there in the middle [of the defensive line].”
In a 24-19 loss to Kansas State — Stoops’ second home loss in the past five games — the Wildcats ran for 213 yards led by running back John Hubert and quarterback Collin Klein.
“Sometimes you don’t want the experienced players coming back every year,” Switzer continued. “I experienced that, too. Everybody’s, ‘Well, we got our whole team coming back.’ Well, I’m not too damn sure I’d not rather have some damn sophomores. I’d rather have Lee Roy and Dewey and Lucious (Selmon) as sophomores than a bunch of five-year seniors.
“I’d rather have Tommie Harris as a freshman than a bunch of fifth-year seniors that are average.”
There’s no denying the Sooners lost plenty of talent on both sides of the ball, and with an 85-scholarship cap, talent is more spread out among teams than it’s ever been. But I also have a minor hunch that three OU turnovers — one of which directly resulted in a touchdown on the play — to Kansas State’s zero might have had something to do with last Saturday’s upset as well.
Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.
Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.
And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.
“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”
Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.
You know how I know we’re gradually creeping up on the end of another regular season? Watch lists are being whittled.
The first major honor to do so is the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, which is given out annually to the best quarterback who is a college senior or fourth-year junior. The preseason watch list was 30 quarterbacks strong; the newest list has been cut in half to 15.
The most recent list includes one of the top Heisman contenders (TCU’s Trevone Boykin) and the top two nationally in passing yards (Bowling Green’s Matt Johnson, Western Kentucky’s Brandon Doughty), as well as a quarterback who’s closing in on the all-time FBS record for rushing touchdowns (Navy’s Keenan Reynolds).
The Pac-12 leads all conferences with three watch listers, followed by two each from the AAC, ACC and Big Ten. The SEC has as many players (one, Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott) as the FCS (North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz).
Last year’s winner was Marcus Mariota of Oregon.
Trevone Boykin, TCU
Jacoby Brissett, NC State
Connor Cook, Michigan State
Brandon Doughty, WKU
Everett Golson, Florida State
Kevin Hogan, Stanford
Matt Johnson, Bowling Green
Cody Kessler, USC
Paxton Lynch, Memphis
Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
Keenan Reynolds, Navy
Nate Sudfeld, Indiana
Carson Wentz, N. Dakota State
Marquise Williams, North Carolina
Travis Wilson, Utah