Have Brent Venables and staff learned any lessons? Thus far, it's entirely a matter of faith
Since the moment Oklahoma put up a good fight only to fall to Florida State in the regrettably named Cheez-It Bowl, the most hopeful thing coming out of the Sooner football camp has not been many things.
It has not been its fourth-ranked recruiting class, nor its eighth-ranked transfer class.
It has not been any hirings nor firings, though it’s nice to have old Sooner fullback Seth Littrell back in the fold as an offensive analyst after skippering North Texas for seven seasons, because he’s likely to know more about running a Saturday offense than Jeff Lebby and more about running a Saturday game operation than Brent Venables, which ought to be a plus.
It has not been the early signing period Day 2 signature of Peyton Bowen, though it was a great get that made national headlines.
It has not been the university’s agreeing on a $175 million plan to reimagine the campus within the campus that is Sooner football. Indeed, it may wind up a detriment, because those funds will primarily come from private donors, yet might be better spent as contributions to collectives seeking to keep OU near the top of the NIL marketplace.
It was none of those things.
Instead, it was something Venables said, a quote within a quote, following that 35-32 loss to the Seminoles.
“Proud of the coaches, too,” Venables said. “Were there plenty of mistakes? Absolutely. We will have to look at those once we get out of season as well. What I saw tonight was what I saw the last three weeks, and proud of these guys for that.”
Surely you can pick it out.
“We will have to look at those once we get out of season.”
It appeared to be admittance of everything the coaches, apart from recruiting and developing, had done wrong, which was plenty.
Pretty much, you couldn’t go wrong picking apart the last Sooner season
You could blame OU’s first losing record since 1998 squarely on a defense that ranked 122nd of 131 in total defense (461.0 ypg), 99th in scoring defense (30.0 ppg), 88th in third-down defense (40.9%) and 76th in yards-per-play allowed (5.6).*
* Though isn’t it interesting how the Sooner defense was actually better in each of its sub-category rankings than its total defense ranking, because it was just the opposite for the offense.
Take a look:
Total offense: 474.0 ypg (13th)
Scoring offense: 32.8 ppg (32nd)
Third-down conversion defense: 40.5% (49th)
Fourth-down conversion defense: 37.9% (113th)
Yards per play: 6.0 (27th)
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