Friday Face-off: Linebackers on the hot seat
The college football season is not going the way the Sooners expected it to go. With OU sitting at 2-2 with Texas coming up in a couple weeks the team has very little margin for error. In today’s sports world when a team does not meet high expectations people begin to ask the question, who is on the hot seat? For the Sooners I do not think it is one individual person but the entire linebacker core.
Many people could possibly say that the offense is on the hot seat. There is not one true explosive, big play maker on the offense right now, but that is because OU has had big time injuries this year. It is hard to say that Landry Jones is on the hot seat for the simple fact that nobody expected anything out of him this year and he has played very well for the three and a half games he has played in.
The Sooners do have trouble scoring points and coming up with big plays in close games, but those games get close because the defense is having problems. Last week against Miami the defense was on the field for very long time, and it is hard to score points when the other team has the ball.
In both games that the Sooners have lost this year and even the two games they lost last year the problem has been the same thing. Teams who can run short crossing routes over the middle and find holes in the zone tend to have success. In the Miami and BYU games this year; once they figured out they could do this almost at will the Sooners had a very difficult time getting off the field.
Linebackers such as Travis Lewis and Ryan Reynolds will have to step up for the rest of the year if the Sooners want a chance of winning a Big 12 title this year. This week against Baylor is the time to work out any kinks they may have, because against Texas if they are not on their A game the Sooners will most likely be 3-3 on the year.
For the most part the defensive line has played outstanding this year; they are able to put pressure on every quarterback they have seen this year. The line is doing their part, but when you pressure a quarterback he is going to check down and throw to the receiver who runs short routes and for the Sooners this has been the problem. Sure it might not mean anything on first or second down, but when the defense is trying to stop a team on third and short situations it is very hard to get off the field.
Both losses this year have been by one point, that is one play, one third down stop, one tackle that is the difference between and win and a loss. We have a great set of linebackers; some of the best in the country, but these players must step up and correct these obvious mistakes. It is easier said than done, but with already two losses on the year the Sooners will have to make it so if they want to be playing for something meaningful at the end of the season.
James Roth is a journalism senior.