Oklahoma Sooners: Big 12 Conference

Big 12 releases all-conference honors

December, 11, 2013
Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty was named the Big 12’s Offensive Player of the Year, and Texas defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat and TCU cornerback Jason Verrett shared defensive honors.

Big 12 champ Baylor led the league with a school-record 10 first team players and earned three individual awards, including Coach of the Year (Art Briles) and Offensive Lineman of the Year (guard Cyril Richardson).

Oklahoma State had a league-high 11 players named to the first or second teams. The awards were voted on by the league’s coaches.

Chuck Neinas Coach of the Year
Art Briles, Baylor

Defensive Lineman of the Year
Ryan Mueller, Kansas State

Offensive Newcomer of the Year
Charles Sims, West Virginia

Co-Defensive Players of the Year
Jason Verrett, TCU; Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas

Offensive Freshman of the Year
Baker Mayfield, Texas Tech

Defensive Newcomer of the Year
Isaiah Johnson, Kansas

Offensive Player of the Year
Bryce Petty, Baylor

Defensive Freshman of the Year
Dominique Alexander, Oklahoma

Offensive lineman of the Year
Cyril Richardson, Baylor

Special teams Player of the Year
Tyler Lockett, Kansas State

First-team offense

QB – Bryce Petty, Baylor
RB – Lache Seastrunk, Baylor
RB – Charles Sims, West Virginia
FB – Trey Millard, Oklahoma
WR – Antwan Goodley, Baylor
WR - Tyler Lockett, Kansas State
WR – Tevin Reese, Baylor
TE - Jace Amaro, Texas Tech
OL – Spencer Drango, Baylor
OL – B.J. Finney, Kansas State
OL - Gabe Ikard, Oklahoma
OL - Cyril Richardson, Baylor
OL - Parker Graham, Oklahoma State
PK –Anthony Fera, Texas
KR/PR – Tyler Lockett, Kansas State

First-team defense

DL - Ryan Mueller, Kansas State
DL - Calvin Barnett, Oklahoma State
DL – Chris McAllister, Baylor
DL - Charles Tapper, Oklahoma
DL - Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas
LB - Jeremiah George, Iowa State
LB – Shaun Lewis, Oklahoma State
LB – Eddie Lackey, Baylor
DB – Jason Verrett, TCU
DB – Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State
DB – Ahmad Dixon, Baylor
DB – Ty Zimmerman, Kansas State
DB – Aaron Colvin, Oklahoma
P – Spencer Roth, Baylor

Second-team offense

QB – Clint Chelf, Oklahoma State
RB – James Sims, Kansas
RB – Malcolm Brown, Texas
FB – Kye Staley, Oklahoma State
WR – Jalen Saunders, Oklahoma
WR – Josh Stewart, Oklahoma State
WR – Jaxon Shipley, Texas
TE – E.J. Bibbs, Iowa State
OL – Cody Whitehair, Kansas State
OL – Daryl Williams, Oklahoma
OL – Donald Hawkins, Texas
OL – Trey Hopkins, Texas
OL - Le’Raven Clark, Texas Tech
PK –Michael Hunnicutt, Oklahoma
KR/PR – Josh Stewart, Oklahoma State

Second-team defense

DL – Tyler Johnson, Oklahoma State
DL – Chucky Hunter, TCU
DL – Cedric Reed, Texas
DL – Kerry Hyder, Texas Tech
DL – Will Clarke, West Virginia
LB – Ben Heeney, Kansas
LB – Eric Striker, Oklahoma
LB – Caleb Lavey, Oklahoma State
DB – Jacques Washington, Iowa State
DB – Daytawion Lowe, Oklahoma State
DB – Sam Carter, TCU
DB – Carrington Byndom, Texas
DB – Darwin Cook, West Virginia
P – Nick O’Toole, West Virginia

Thursday Title Talk Live

November, 7, 2013
Oregon-Stanford. Oklahoma-Baylor. Four top-10 teams. Conference and BCS implications galore.

It’s almost certainly the biggest non-Thanksgiving Thursday in college football regular-season history and we know many of you will be working the remote and following social media during this titanic night. Keep Thursday Title Talk Live open throughout the evening – starting at 7:30 p.m. ET -- and we’ll bring you real-time reaction and analysis from ESPN’s stable of reporters, analysts and experts.

Big 12 race update: Week 11

November, 6, 2013
And then, there were four.

Oklahoma State all but knocked Texas Tech out of the conference race with its victory in Lubbock last weekend, bringing a little more clarity to the Big 12 title picture.

A quick refresher on the Big 12’s three-way tiebreakers:
  1. Head-to-head.
  2. Records against the next highest placed teams.
  3. BCS rank, unless two teams are ranked within one spot of the other; then, head-the-head is invoked again.

Here’s what the race for the Big 12’s automatic BCS bowl berth the looks like heading into the backstretch:

• Texas (6-2, 5-0 Big 12): The Longhorns control their own destiny, with a victory over fellow contender Oklahoma in their hip pocket. The key game for Texas is Nov. 16 against Oklahoma State. If the Longhorns can hold off the Cowboys in Austin, they would be playing for a Big 12 title and the automatic BCS bowl berth at Baylor on Dec. 7 just by splitting games with West Virginia and Texas Tech.

• No. 6 Baylor (7-0, 4-0): Baylor has been the most impressive team in the Big 12 so far. But the Bears still have OU, Texas Tech, OSU and Texas left on the schedule. While the Bears could knock OU out of the mix Thursday night with a win in Waco, they would still be alive with a loss. But they would have to win out, then hope someone like Oklahoma State could hand the Sooners a second loss.

• No. 10 Oklahoma (7-1, 4-1): The Sooners are the only ones here that do not control their destiny. Even if they won out, OU would still need Texas to lose at some point. Possibly even twice, since the Longhorns claim the head-to-head edge. OU probably has the toughest remaining slate of the contenders, too, with road games at Baylor and Oklahoma State as well as surging Kansas State. Because of the Texas loss, the Sooners have no margin for error. But they could take a major step forward with a win Thursday.

• No. 14 Oklahoma State (7-1, 4-1): Even with the loss at West Virginia early in the season, the Cowboys still control their destiny. The key game for them is Texas on Nov. 16. If they can topple the Horns in Austin, then the Pokes would have a chance to clinch the league with back-to-back home games against Baylor and OU.

Instant analysis: OU 51, OSU 48

November, 24, 2012

It was the definition of Bedlam. No. 13 Oklahoma defeated No. 21 Oklahoma State 51-48 in overtime at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on Saturday. The Sooners kept their Big 12 championship hopes alive with clutch plays down the stretch. Here’s how it happened:

It was over when: Brennan Clay ended the game with a 18-yard touchdown gallop in overtime. The Sooners' running game was very average for most of the night but after OU’s defense forced OSU to settle for a field goal on the Cowboys' lone overtime drive, Clay punched in the winning score.

Stat of the game: 103. That's the total number of plays the Sooners' offense ran against the Pokes. It was obvious in the overtime period as OU needed just two running plays before ending the game with Clay's touchdown run.

Game ball goes to: Landry Jones. For the second straight week, Jones came up big when OU needed him. The senior led the Sooners on a game-tying touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter that was capped off by a 4-yard Blake Bell run. Jones finished 46-of-71 for 500 yards, three touchdowns and an interception.

Unsung hero of the game: Bell. He capped off Jones' late drive with a tough touchdown run on fourth down with less than five seconds remaining in the game. If Bell doesn't weave his way into the end zone with a combination of vision and toughness, the Sooners lose.

What it means: Oklahoma's hopes for a Big 12 title remain alive. Kansas State would have to lose to Texas for the Sooners to take the conference outright but if the Sooners win against TCU on Dec. 1, they'll grab a share of the Big 12 title.

What Oklahoma learned: The Sooners learned they need to have a better plan for stopping teams that spread them out then run the football. Baylor, West Virginia and OSU have run all over OU's defense in three straight weeks. For OU to win another Big 12 title anytime in the future, it will have to find answers to its problems stopping the run.

What Oklahoma State learned: Maybe Clint Chelf should have been starting all season. The junior is the most experienced quarterback on the roster and he handled tough road environments at Kansas State and OU like a veteran should.

Analysis: Mizzou 71, Oklahoma 68

February, 6, 2012

NORMAN, Okla. -- Distraught.

That’s the best word to describe the reaction of Steven Pledger after Oklahoma’s 71-68 loss to Missouri at the Lloyd Noble Center on Monday night.

And it wasn’t his potentially game-tying missed 3-pointer as time expired that will make sleep difficult to come by for OU’s leading scorer. It was missed free throws, both by Pledger (1-of-4) and his teammates (9-of-23), that the Sooners guard will remember for the next week.

“I feel like I let my team down,” said Pledger, who was visibly upset during postgame interviews. “Missed free throws, missed some shots I should knock down. I shoot 90 percent from the line, there’s no reason I should be missing free throws. I make free throws, the shot never happens.”

Player of the Game: Pledger was outstanding in the game, finishing with 22 points on 8-of-14 shooting including 5-of-9 on 3-point attempts. But he had four turnovers to go along with his performance at the free throw line.

Unsung Hero: Sam Grooms. The junior point guard is playing better and better as the season progresses. He had 17 points and 10 assists against the Tigers. Grooms was 7-of-9 shooting from the field as Missouri forced him to prove he could make outside shots and he did.

Key Stat: 28. The Tigers finished with 28 points in the paint even though Missouri rarely feeds the ball inside. Ricardo Ratliffe was active and efficient inside with 15 points on 6-of-6 shooting with 10 rebounds.

“We keep telling our guys afterwards, 'Good battle and good work, but we’ve got to keep doing things from a habit standpoint to have more good possessions in a ball game, enough to get over the hump against good basketball teams.’” -- OU coach Lon Kruger

“It is hard to explain because we have shot free throws very well. Certainly Pledge is one of the top shooters in the country. When you play the game long enough, it will happen, unfortunately.” -- Kruger on the Sooners' free throw shooting.

“It was perfect. The play was designed to miss the free throw and get the tip-out and we actually got the tip-out. It was on line; it felt good when it left my hand. It didn’t go in.” -- Pledger on his final miss.

“We talked about not losing and never letting them take the lead. That's a sign of a good team. I think once they made runs, we executed when we needed to make a shot." -- Missouri coach Frank Haith on his team responding to OU runs.

“I had seen the shot clock going down and we hadn't scored in a couple of possessions, and I knew that we needed to get a basket. I was fortunate enough to make the shot." -- guard Marcus Denmon on his key shot late in the game.

Up Next: OU travels to Lubbock, Texas where it will face Texas Tech on Saturday at 7 p.m. CT.
The disappointment of Oklahoma’s winless start in Big 12 play was magnified in the Sooners' 72-65 loss to Oklahoma State on Monday. Losses to Kansas and Missouri -- a pair of top ten teams -- weren’t a huge surprise, but the Cowboys’ Bedlam triumph sent the Sooners to an 0-3 conference start.

Making sure his team doesn’t lose faith or confidence has become a key for first-year OU coach Lon Kruger.

“That’s a priority,” he said. “The enthusiasm, the confidence, the work ethic... we have to maintain all of that and it’s a lot easier to do when you’re winning than when you’re not.”

During OU’s practices this week, the Sooners have focused on being more physical while playing and competing harder in preparation for their fourth conference game against Kansas State on Saturday.

“The goal continues to be the same, make progress each day,” Kruger said. “When you lose ball games it takes a little longer to recover to the same level. But you have to regroup, refocus and recover.”
STILLWATER, Okla. -- For the second straight game, Oklahoma let one scoring run lead to a disappointing conference loss.

With a dominating run to end the first half, Oklahoma State knocked off OU, 72-65, on Monday night at Gallagher Iba Arena. OSU outscored the Sooners 14-2 in the final five minutes of the first half.

OSU led 21-20 with 4:53 left in the opening 20 minutes when guard Keiton Page sparked the Cowboys run. The senior scored eight points including two 3-pointers to spark OSU to a 34-22 halftime lead and get the GIA crowd up and involved in the game.

OU never recovered.

The Sooners didn’t get closer than eight points until 44 seconds remained in the game as OU dropped to 0-3 in Big 12 Conference play after going 10-2 in non-conference action.

(Read full post)

Kansas coach Bill Self didn’t feel like his team outplayed Oklahoma in the Jayhawks’ 72-61 win over the Sooners at the Lloyd Noble Center on Saturday afternoon.

Except for a 11-minute stretch to begin the second half. And that was more than enough.

After battling the No. 15-ranked Jayhawks head-to-head for the first 20 minutes, even taking their 34-33 halftime lead. The Sooners then came out flat to open the second half with careless turnovers and poor shooting. KU went on a 29-6 run to take a 62-40 lead with 8:41 left.

OU outscored KU 55-43 in the other 28:41 of the game.

Player of the Game: Carl Blair. The senior point guard provided a solid spark for OU off the bench. He scored 11 points on 2 of 3 shooting along with 3 assists and one turnover in 12 minutes of action. If Blair can provide similar production for the rest of the Big 12 schedule, he will provide allow OU to go small and matchup better with some of the league’s quicker teams.

Unsung Hero: Romero Osby. The junior was solid with nine points and nine rebounds but ended up with a team-high five turnovers. But Osby should have been more aggressive, particularly in the second half as KU began to pull away. The transfer from Mississippi State is a mismatch for most big men with his athleticism and needs to take advantage of that more often.

Key Stat: 48. KU finished the game with 48 points in the paint. The Jayhawks got several dunks and layups thanks to their penetration and offensive rebounding.

Key Stat, Part II: 14. The Jayhawks had 14 steals which helped contribute to their 48 points in the paint and 50 percent shooting (29 of 58 field goal attempts).

Quotable: “Not only did we turn it over, but we turned it over with them shooting layups, which is the worst of both worlds, of course.” - OU coach Lon Kruger on the Sooners carelessness with the ball in the first 10 minutes of the second half.

“I think we came out kind of flat on both ends of the court. We made a couple of costly turnovers. Like Coach said, they equal points on the other end for them. So I think that’s really where it started.” - Osby on KU’s second half run.

“I thought that the 10 minutes, or whatever it was, to start the second half was probably the best run we’ve had all year. I thought our defense was active and we got our hands on balls and we were able to get out in transition. We’re pretty good when we get out in transition.” - KU coach Bill Self

Up Next: at Oklahoma State on Monday at 6 p.m.
The start of Big 12 Conference play could not have been worse for Oklahoma. The Sooners were destroyed by No. 7 Missouri, 87-49, in a game that left forward Andrew Fitzgerald so disappointed with the outcome, he was embarrassed to look at the OU coaching staff.

Next up, Kansas.

The Sooners are looking to rebound from the upset loss when the No. 15 Jayhawks visit Lloyd Noble Center at 1 p.m. CT on Saturday. KU got their Big 12 schedule off to a good start with a 67-49 home victory over Kansas State.

Key to OU win: Attacking KU forward Thomas Robinson, the lone Big 12 player averaging a double-double (17.2 points, 12.3 rebounds), with Andrew Fitzgerald and Romero Osby on offense. If the Sooners can get Robinson into foul trouble, KU will have to count on its inexperienced depth, giving OU a potential advantage. Fitzgerald and Osby will need to be aggressive with the aim of getting 15-20 points apiece.

Key to Kansas win: Defense. The Jayhawks rank No. 12 nationally in opponent field goal percentage (36.9 percent) and are annually among the best defensive squads in the Big 12. OU has struggled to get good shots at times this season and the Jayhawks could take advantage of the Sooners lack of penetrating ball handlers.

Stat line that will tell the tale: OU field goal percentage. The Sooners will have to shoot extremely well from the outside or get easy shots through penetration or in transition. If KU forces OU to try to create open shots in one-on-one situations, the Jayhawks have the advantage.

Sooners X factor: Sam Grooms. The junior college transfer has proven to be the only Sooner who can consistently create a shot for himself or his teammates this season. He will need to do that on Saturday. If he struggles against KU’s defense, quality shots will be much harder to find.

Jayhawks X factor: Elijah Johnson. The incredibly athletic guard does a lot of things well and makes KU very hard to beat when he plays well. He’s averaging 9.7 points, 3.8 assists, 2.9 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game. A 40 percent shooter, Johnson could make KU impossible to beat if he scores efficiently on Saturday.
Jake Trotter answers readers' questions about Oklahoma football in his mailbag every Friday. Got a question for Jake? Submit it here.

Cody in Sapulpa, Okla., writes: Do you think OU will continue using the Belldozer package next year? Personally, I hope they do.

Jake Trotter: You’ll be pleased to know that the Belldozer isn’t going anywhere. If anything, it will be enhanced. The Sooners basically have been running only two plays out of the package: the power and the counter. I expect that to evolve quite a bit before next season, especially with the addition of a passing element.

Hunter in Norman writes: Do you see the Sooners winning more or less than 8 games next season?

Jake Trotter: Eight is way too low for an over/under. The schedule will have a significant bearing, but I expect the over/under to be around 10-11 now that Landry Jones is returning.

(Read full post)

The fans around Oklahoma can be brutally tough on quarterback Landry Jones. But the Sooners’ chances of competing for a national championship next season are far greater now that he is returning to school for his senior year.

Jones announced his decision through the school on Thursday.

[+] EnlargeLandry Jones
Matt Kartozian/US PresswireQuarterback Landry Jones' return means the Sooners will return eight starters on offense in 2012.
“We hope to have another opportunity to make a title run,” Jones said. “Most of the offensive line returns and we have several receivers and backs return, too. We’ve also got a lot of guys back on defense, so we’re confident that we can be a strong team.”

The Sooners have many questions to resolve before next season, notably how to retool an offense that sputtered after All-America receiver Ryan Broyles’ season-ending knee injury.

But with Jones at the helm, enough pieces are back that OU could have its most prolific offense since the record-setting attack of 2008.

The Sooners still have the Belldozer. Now they’ll have the Big 12’s most experienced quarterback and prolific passer, too.

Blake Bell’s running prowess rightfully excited OU fans. But according to those around the program, Bell remains a far cry from Jones in passing the ball.

Sure, the Belldozer was unstoppable after its mid-season implementation. But only as a gimmick offense. A full-time Belldozer attack, something coach Bob Stoops ruled out from ever happening last week, would have trouble keeping up with the high-octane offenses of the Big 12. It would also prevent some of OU’s best players -- Kenny Stills, Jaz Reynolds and Roy Finch -- from becoming major factors.

Truth is, the Sooners’ best chance of winning a national title remain with the hurry-up spread. And with Jones’ arm. Especially considering that OU returns a stout pass-protecting offensive line and welcomes perhaps the best recruiting class of receivers in school history.

The Sooners will be able to get even more creative with the Belldozer, as well, perhaps adding a passing element to the package.

Oklahoma is far from a perfect team going into next season.

But with Jones running the show and Bell bringing the Belldozer, the Sooners should be a load offensively next season. Perhaps placing OU in the national championship picture once again.

Jones returning, Lewis entering NFL draft

January, 5, 2012
Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones, the school’s all-time leading passer, announced Thursday that he is returning to school for his senior year, while defensive end Ronnell Lewis, a highly-rated outside linebacker, decided to enter the NFL draft.

Here's what Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops had to say about both:

On Jones: "We know the positive influence Landry has on and off the field with our team. We're excited that he's coming back to build on what has already been an outstanding career. We expect another great year from him and like the fact that he's determined to be even better."

On Lewis: "Ronnell leaves with our best wishes. He managed several challenges while playing here, but always worked hard and gave us his very best effort. He has the skill to be a successful NFL player, and we feel he'll do well there."
Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops admitted he has some concerns about OU’s 2012 non-conference schedule, as well as the conference schedule, should West Virginia not be added to the league before the season.

If West Virginia can’t leave, “then we have to deal with that,” Stoops said. “But I think the first issue that (athletic director Joe Castiglione) is trying to work out is just the early games, and who will play us. That's the other thing. It's hard to get anyone to come play us.”

If West Virginia is forced to stay in the Big East another year, the Big 12 will have to reconfigure its schedule for nine teams.

Because of realignment, the Sooners now have two open dates in the non-conference. The previously scheduled meeting with TCU became a conference game with the Horned Frogs’ admission to the Big 12.

OU’s lone remaining scheduled non-conference game is with Notre Dame. Stoops said the Sooners are trying to line up a pair of non-conference games for the early part of the season, since the Notre Dame game is scheduled for Oct. 27. So far, that’s been a challenge.

“I think (Castiglione) has done a masterful job of working the BCS and how we've scheduled to help us,” Stoops said. “Joe works hard at it. I've got a lot of confidence he's working it the best he can to help us and protect us that way. But believe me, in visiting with him, it's challenging.”

Stoops said that if West Virginia is added, the Mountaineers could slot into Missouri’s spot on the schedule, with TCU assuming Texas A&M’s.

Stoops said he believes the league can thrive with just 10 teams and no conference championship game because of what West Virginia and TCU bring to the table.

“Let's face it, this year, if you add TCU and West Virginia, two more ranked teams, we're not missing a whole lot,” Stoops said. “Look at the way the guys have been playing in the bowls. We're not taking a backseat to much here. But if everyone wants the conference (championship) game, and if we get two good football teams, that would be great. But I still think we've more than proven we're a lot to deal with, this league, without it.”
“Hand down, man down.”

Those words made famous by former broadcaster and current Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson perfectly describe Oklahoma’s 87-49 loss to No. 6 Missouri in the Sooners' first Big 12 Conference game at Mizzou Arena in Columbia, Mo., on Tuesday.

The Tigers (14-0) finished the game 32 of 54 from the field (59.3 percent) including 12 of 21 from the 3-point line (57.1 percent) as they ran the Sooners off the floor to remain unbeaten. Mizzou’s guards proved to be too much to handle as Michael Dixon, Marcus Denmon and Kim English combined for 56 points.

Offensively, OU never found a rhythm, or easy shots, against the Tigers. Andrew Fitzgerald was the lone bright spot with a team high 18 points and six rebounds.

Player of the Game: Fitzgerald. The junior forward provided a early spark and inside scoring with 10 points early in the game. He appeared to be the only OU player attacking the Tiger defense with confidence he could score.

Unsung Hero: Sam Grooms. The junior point guard finished with seven assists and just two turnovers but he probably should have attacked the basket off the dribble more in an effort to help his teammates get easier shots.

Key Stat: 19. The Sooners had just 19 rebounds after entering the game averaging 42.2 rebounds per contest. Missouri out rebounded OU 37-19 as they dominated the Sooners in every possible way.

Key Stat, Part II: 0. OU’s bench combined for ZERO field goals in the game. Carl Blair was the only bench player who scored with two points on free throws. It is critical the Sooners find some bench scoring as Big 12 play progresses.

Up Next: The Sooners host No. 15 Kansas on Saturday at 1 p.m. CT.

For more thoughts and observations, talk about the game on our forum.
Oklahoma opens its Big 12 Conference schedule with a tough road opener at No. 6 Missouri tonight. First-year coach Frank Haith has the Tigers rolling as they are one of four unbeaten teams in Division I college basketball.

The Tigers lead the nation in field goal percentage (51.7 percent) thanks to their up-tempo style and pressure defense which leads to easy baskets in transition. Senior guard Marcus Denmon leads the way for Mizzou, averaging 18.7 points per game.

Key to Oklahoma win: The Sooners will have to handle the pressure defense of the Tigers and limit Missouri’s transition baskets. Point guard Sam Grooms will need to take care of the basketball and help control the overall tempo of the game if OU expects to earn the upset.

Key to Missouri win: The Tigers, who average 10.1 steals per game, will be looking to control the tempo. Missouri will have to get easy shots and shoot well because OU leads the Big 12 in rebounding margin at 10.4 and the best way to do that is to get steals resulting in layups and dunks.

Stat line that will tell the tale: OU turnovers. If OU has 15 or more turnovers against Missouri, the Sooners will have a very difficult time winning the game.

Sooners X factor: Carl Blair. The Sooners backup point guard will be counted on to spell Grooms and could see time alongside him in a two point guard lineup. If he can handle the ball well and make quality decisions, it will allow OU to match up better with Missouri’s speedy, uptempo lineup.

Tigers X factor: Mike Dixon. The junior could be the Big 12’s top sixth man, averaging 12.5 points per game. He’s also among the team leaders in assists (3.0) and steals (2.0).


Stoops, Players Want To Effect Change
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops sits down with Gene Wojciechowski to discuss his team's stand against racism.