It’s not exactly time to hit the panic button for Oklahoma, but a season-opening loss to Houston was reason to wave the caution flag for Oklahoma’s defense after just one week. Look for Oklahoma defensive coordinator Mark Stoops to make some change sin his defensive secondary starting this week as a result. After getting shredded by Houston and quarterback Greg Ward Jr., Stoops says there could be some new looks on defense this week as the Sooners look to rebound against Louisiana-Monroe this week.
”It’s pretty open right now,” Stoops said, according to the Associated Press. ”We’ll see who is the most consistent player out there. We need somebody to be consistent. You aren’t going to win every 50-50 ball, but you have to win your share. When they win every time, that becomes a problem.”
It was definitely a problem against Houston.
Houston’s Ward passed for 321 yards and two touchdowns in a season-opening 33-23 victory in Houston. Ward missed on a number of passes as well, but the threat of a deep completion was still there even when Houston’s quarterback was off the mark. That should be a concern for Oklahoma, because J.T. Barrett and the Ohio State Buckeyes are coming to Norman next week. Barrett passed for 349 yards and six touchdowns in a 77-10 blowout of Bowling Green. On the bright side at least Oklahoma knows what area needs the most work on moving forward.
”When you lose, it’s hard to look at some of those positives for us,” Stoops said. ”In the long run, I’m sure it will pay off, we hope. We recognize that when you play a team like that (Houston), it exposes some of your weaknesses immediately.”
Some of the potential changes that could happen in the secondary include getting sophomore P.J. Mbanasor and converted wide receiver Michiah Quick some looks to see how they can handle the job in the secondary. Dakota Austin and freshman Parrish Cobb were bit hard by Houston’s passing attack.
Writing off Oklahoma in the Big 12 picture after one week is silly, and it is not out of the realm of possibility this could still turn out to be a playoff contender. Is there work to be done? Absolutely, and there is ground to make up. But it was just one game. Let’s see what they do in Week 2, and more importantly, in Week 3.
Much-needed, hard lesson learned, maybe?
While he was subjected to a lack-of-class moment by Kansas in the pregame and then a couple of questionable hits during this past Saturday’s game, Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield showed his backside by very graphically grabbing his front in a heated response. While he truly apologized in the postgame aftermath, OU announced Monday that the Heisman Trophy front-runner will not start this weekend’s regular-season finale against West Virginia.
Not only that, Mayfield was stripped of his captaincy for that finale. On Senior Day, his last-ever game in Norman no less.
That latter aspect of the punishment proved to be almost too much for Mayfield to deal with, with the quarterback becoming visibly emotional when discussing with the media his lost captaincy Monday night.
“Playing at OU was something that I always dreamed of,” Mayfield said. “Not starting, it is what it is.
“But not being a team captain is so much more. It would be hard if it were a regular game or not, but it being my last one here ever, it means a lot more. It’s going to be tough, because Saturday was going to be — without all of this — an emotional one. It’s going to be hard to handle, but … it’s going to be hard.”
OU has already secured one spot in the Big 12 championship game, most likely against TCU. The Sooners are also ranked fourth in the most recent College Football Playoff Top 25 and will earn one of the four semifinal slots if they win their next two games.
Arkansas’ one-time starting quarterback will return for the Razorbacks’ season finale. Whether he sees the field is another matter entirely.
Cole Kelley was arrested for driving while intoxicated and reckless driving earlier this month. A day after the arrest, Kelley was indefinitely suspended by the football program and missed UA’s Week 12 game.
Monday, that suspension officially came to an end after one game as head coach Bret Bielema confirmed that the redshirt freshman has rejoined the team.
“He’ll be back full-go with us again,” Bielema said by way of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Left unsaid is whether Kelley will play in the Week 13 matchup with Missouri Friday afternoon, in part because he’s still recovering from an injury.
Austin Allen started the first five games of the season before going down with a shoulder injury. Kelley replaced him and started the next four, with Allen returning to his starting role the last two weeks against LSU and Mississippi State.
Kelley is 2-2 as the starter this year and Allen 2-5 for a Razorbacks team that won’t be going bowling for the first time since Bielema’s first season in 2013. This week’s game could also mark Bielema’s last as UA’s head coach.
Given all of the activity on the coaching carousel this one flew under the radar, so allow me to address the latest resetting of the “Days Without An Arrest” ticker back to double zeroes.
According to both the Bowling Green Daily News and WBKO-TV, Western Kentucky’s Jaylon George was arrested early Saturday morning and charged with careless driving and operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The incident involving the defensive lineman came just hours after WKU’s triple-overtime win over Middle Tennessee State Friday night.
According to the television station’s report, police pulled George over after he was spotted driving erratically in and around an apartment complex parking lot. George admitted to the arresting officer that he had been smoking marijuana, with a search of his vehicle and person yielding weed residue.
The school told the Daily News in a statement that they “are aware of the situation involving Jaylon and are currently in the process of gathering more information.”
George had played in five games this season as a reserve lineman, including the MTSU game before his arrest. The redshirt sophomore transferred after spending two seasons at an Oklahoma junior college.
No. 9 Ohio State heads to No. 24 Michigan on Saturday (noon ET, FOX) looking to protect its 5-game winning streak against That Team Up North. According to Michigan running back Karan Higdon, though, it’s Michigan that’s looking to protect its claim over the scoreboard.
Higdon surely remembers last year’s game well. He was there, after all, carrying three times for five yards. However, it was actually Ohio State who won the game, 30-27 in double overtime. The game was incredibly close, as the score indicates. Michigan would have won if not for a pair of Wilton Speight disasters at the goal line, the first an interception that Malik Hooker returned for a touchdown to give Ohio State a 7-3 lead and the second a goal line fumble that ruined Michigan’s chance to take a 17-7 lead.
As we know, Ohio State fought back to win by this much. How much? Jim Harbaugh shows us below.
Higdon figures to have a much greater impact on this year’s game. He’s the Wolverines leading rusher 874 yards and 10 touchdowns, and ran for 200 yards and two touchdowns on just 16 carries in Michigan’s most recent home game, a 33-10 win over Minnesota.
Here’s hoping, for his sake, that he can have an impact on an actual Michigan victory this time around.