The Sooners are a Top-20 team with one loss, averaging 37 points a game, just a few seasons removed from a BCS championship game appearance. But if you're an Oklahoma fan, your mind ought to be on rebuilding.
Not a massive teardown of the program that Bob Stoops has built; rather a restructuring and refocusing of the attack and recruiting.
Recently, Texas and Florida have undergone the same process, going from spread and perimeter-oriented attacks to a more focused, physical approach to football. Texas and Florida both had to struggle to make the transition a reality. For Oklahoma, plenty of attention should be paid to both the Gators' and Longhorns' retooling in order to expedite the process.
In the pantheon of college football's history, the Oklahoma Sooners stand out as one of the bastions of physical play. Their physical makeup as a team that would punch you in the mouth and dare you to pick up a yard is up there with Nebraska, Ohio State and Alabama.
Even as the Sooners moved into a more Air Raid-based attack and threw the ball around the yard, they always maintained a shred of nastiness that allowed them to dominate their Big 12 opposition. When Bob Stoops' teams had to ball up their fists on either side of the ball, they could get the job done.
Stoops is averaging about 10 wins a season over his 14-year stint at Oklahoma, but that does not mean there are not changes to make. The move that started last year on the defensive side of the ball; a push to shore up the Sooners unit was a start. However, it shouldn't stop on defense. The offense is desperately in need of work.
Sure, OU is going to score points by slinging the ball around the yard, but the fact is, with the caliber of athlete Oklahoma is capable of drawing they are a football team that should always be able to move bodies at the point of attack. Unfortunately for Oklahoma fans used to a reliable rushing effort, this has not been the case in the last couple years.
That's as much about teaching and mindset as it is about talent. Against tough competition, teams that want to be physical and stop the run, Oklahoma has left much to be desired. Its offensive line is not the big, bulky maulers that fire off the ball, move the line of scrimmage forward and let the Sooners' backs pick a hole. No, the offensive line is a "throw the ball 40 times a game" unit.
Certainly if the Sooners keep competing for Big 12 titles and winning 10 games, the push to become a tougher, more physical football team will not be strong. However, as they survey the landscape and look at teams who are at the top of the college football world—Alabama and LSU—it would behoove them to build a juggernaut.
Texas is doing it right now. Florida is doing it right now. While both programs took their lumps as they realized that Colt McCoy and Tim Tebow type players to build around do not grow on trees, they are coming out of it in 2012. Both teams run the ball, punch teams in the mouth on defense and dare the opposition to line up and stop them.
Oklahoma has a shot to turn its offense over quickly, and they should take advantage. Running the ball is key, and this past weekend's efforts against Kansas State (just 88 yards on 27 carries) is not going to cut it. The Sooners have to get physical and move bodies, and that's something that Stoops and the staff should focus on.
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