Przybylo: Sooners face mental test

OU has to make sure Texas doesn't beat it twice as Sooners travel to Kansas State this weekend.

When you lose a game like Oklahoma did on Saturday against Texas, it has been said the key is to make sure that one loss doesn’t make you come up short the following week.

With the way Kansas State played against TCU, OU no doubt has to bring its best game to Manhattan this weekend.

It can, provided it leaves the Red River Showdown in the rear view mirror.

OU players said all the right things following Saturday’s 24-17 upset loss to the Longhorns, but their tone and body language told a different story. Yes, Texas’ 1-4 record was a little misleading because of two narrow losses.

Yes, Texas is still a big dog in recruiting and has a lot of talent, especially among its younger players. But no, that in no way excuses OU’s lack of fire during the first quarter and inability to adjust throughout the game on either side of the ball.

The Sooners played the entire first month with that chip on their shoulder. It worked as OU rose in the polls back into the top 10. Unfortunately something that is all too common for Bob Stoops’ teams in recent years, OU cannot handle success.

When people are high on OU, the Sooners can lay an egg and have done so more times than their fans would care to see. It all led to another head-shaking defeat to an inferior opponent.

“This is one of the toughest losses I’ve had since I’ve been at OU,” sophomore safety Steven Parker said. “And probably in my career period playing football. It’s one of those things where you just live and you learn, and we’re just going to go to the next game.”

That next game is a trip to play the Wildcats, who are coming off a pair of gut-wrenching losses to Oklahoma State and TCU in back-to-back weeks.

OU has lost its last two home games against KSU but has shockingly performed pretty well in Manhattan. What OU would love to see is a repeat of the 2011 performance.

In that year, the Sooners were coming off another stunning loss when it was favored by more than double digits and lost to Texas Tech at home 41-38. OU bounced back in a major way with a 40-point victory.

Will this Sooners team be able to find that resolve? This year has been characterized by the leadership. Guys like Eric Striker, Zack Sanchez, Charles Tappers, among others, saying 2014 would never happen again under their watch.

Less than halfway through this season, it can go one of two ways. This could easily become worse than 2014 because of how loaded the back half of the schedule is. Or Texas could be the wakeup call that gets the Sooners’ juices going again.

It’s obvious there are going to be issues with this OU team the rest of the season. That’s OK because every team in college football is flawed. OU’s problem seems to be offensive line so it’s going to be up to offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh and offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley to figure out how to make it work.

“Oklahoma prides itself in being great and winning games like this (vs. Texas), and we dropped the ball today,” offensive tackle Josiah St. John said. “It’s something we can’t allow to happen again.”

That first test, that first opportunity comes against Bill Snyder and his Wildcats.


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