“It is what it is,” Oklahoma defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said. “It’s disappointing. I don’t know what else to say.”
“He let the team down,” Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said of Thomas. “I’m not going to go into it, but that hurt us. That hurt us.”
Thomas also was punished prior to Oklahoma’s season opener against Akron, when P.J. Mbanasor earned the first start of his career. Regarded as a good student, it seems unlikely that Thomas’ issue is academic-related.
Neither Mike Stoops nor Bob Stoops could say whether Thomas would return to the team. The situation will be revisited Monday. Thomas took almost 70 percent of the reps through the week, Bob Stoops said. That left Mbanasor with minimal time alongside the first-team defense.
“It’s unfair to (Mbanasor) and unfair to the team,” Bob Stoops said. “It’s unfair to everybody. He let us down.”
Patchwork offensive line holds up alright
Without senior center Ty Darlington to start the game and senior guard Nila Kasitati for the second half, Oklahoma’s offensive line had a tough task ahead of it. While the opposite defensive front was the weakest of the non-conference season, there were a lot of new faces.
Alex Dalton and Jamal Danley each saw game action at Oklahoma for the first time, and Jonathan Alvarez moved into center, where he made his first career start. Derek Farniok made the start at left guard – his first since a 2013 Bedlam start at left tackle.
“It was hard,” Bob Stoops said. “You have to compliment coach Bedenbaugh and the players to have gotten together like they did. They did a good job.”
Oklahoma averaged a season-high 6.1 yards per carry but gave up three sacks against Tulsa.
Sooners’ special pass rush
Oklahoma knows it has a plethora of talented pass rushers at linebacker, so against Tulsa it decided to unleash all of them on some occasions. With Charles Tapper as the only defensive lineman, linebacker Eric Striker, Devante Bond and Ogbonnia Okoronkwo flanked him – all three rushing at the snap.
Bob Stoops said he wanted to get Obo more involved, and Oklahoma had to choose between Bond and Striker when it went with a nickel formation. Here, they used them all.
It couldn’t spark a pass rush that recorded just one sack, though.
“That tells you right there you’re going to be in for a long day playing these guys,” Mike Stoops said after the loss.
To snap or not to snap
Driving down the field and trying to take a 21-point lead in the second quarter, Oklahoma ran into a bit of miscommunication on offense. The drive started with three straight first downs and put the Sooners on the edge of the red zone. Things went awry from there.
“We weren’t supposed to snap the ball,” Bob Stoops said. “We were supposed to wait and try to draw them offsides, audible, get a call in and run the ball. We had four opportunities down there that were all on us. That’s bad football. We have to better than that in those areas. That changes everything.”
Oklahoma did score on its next possessions before Tulsa’s two-touchdown surge to end the half.