OU-Texas Locker room report

James Hale's latest news and notes from inside the locker room following Oklahoma's 14-3 win over Texas

Once again Oklahoma proved they have the best football team in the country, if not the best talent. Across the country, most were picking Texas to knock off the Sooners, forgetting that Bob Stoops and company have put together the best football TEAM this side of the NFL.

Since the summer, Texas had been labeled as the future national champions. Quarterback Chris Simms was on so many magazines covers I thought he had already been mailed the Heisman Trophy. I checked with Oklahoma 1969 Heisman Trophy winner Steve Owens and he assured me that Simms has not been mailed an early trophy.

Texas supposedly had the most talent in the Sooners 14-3 win, but did they really? Oklahoma's Roy Williams was not only the best Roy Williams on the field Saturday, but he was the best player period. Williams performance should go down as one of the greatest in Sooner history as he was all over the field, and was such a presence on the field that Texas altered their game plan to try to avoid him.

The Longhorns reportedly had the best corner in the game in Quentin Jammer, but OU's Derrick Strait proved to be equally as good and a new full-time cornerback Andre Woolfolk was so good that he has the pro scouts salivating.

Junior cornerback Andre Woolfolk steps in front of Texas receiver Roy Williams for his first career interception in the first quarter. (AP Photo/Donna McWilliam)


One-way Andre
Don't be surprised if Woolfolk is not a cornerback for good from this point on, but then again the Sooner wide receivers are hitting so few big plays, that Woolfolk may still get a few plays on offense.

D-Line Dominates
It was thought that Texas' huge offensive line would dominate the Sooners smaller defensive front, but OU won the battle on Saturday. Did Texas ever block Tommie Harris? Wasn't Dusty Dvoracek pushing the Texas linemen backwards? Didn't Bary Holleyman and Kory Klein have solid games on Saturday?

The real deal
If you weren't sold on sophomore defensive end Jimmy Wilkerson before Saturday, then you have to be now. Wilkerson's three sacks and three other tackles for losses set the tone for the Sooner defense. For those of you worried that he has no pass rush burst off the line of scrimmage, you can now exhale. Wilkerson consistently beat Texas All-American candidate Mike Williams off the ball and was constantly harassing the quarterback.

Despite the score, for a final example that OU has equal, if not better talent than Texas, look no further than at quarterback.

Chris who?
Wasn't OU's backup quarterback, Jason White, better than the more celebrated Simms on Saturday? Let's see, White leads OU to it's only touchdown for the win, while Simms was throwing four interceptions, including one that was returned for the Sooners second score.

Stoops owns Brown
There is no match in the coaching staff department as Stoops and company have a decided edge over Mack Brown and his crew. However, I will say that Longhorn Defensive Coordinator Carl Reese is outstanding.

One of the big keys for the OU coaching staff is that they coach their players to execute their game plan to perfection. OU's players execute their stuff and they execute it going full speed and not many teams can do that, but OU has done it in 18 straight games.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T
My question is when will the national media quit doubting the Sooners? When will the polls quit cheating the Sooners? It seems in every big game the Sooners are an underdog, despite the fact Stoops now has beaten eight Top-10 teams during the streak.

You can bet the Sooners will be underdogs on the road at Nebraska as well. I still don't understand how the Sooners aren't number one in the national polls. OU is the defending national champ, clubbed a reported unbeatable Florida State team in the Orange Bowl, have won 18 straight and returned 16 starters off their national championship team. Yet they can't get over third in the polls. Even after beating 11th-ranked Kansas State and now fifth-ranked Texas they are still ranked third in the country? What gives?

No ordinary backup
Jason White proved that he can be a great division one starting quarterback. His poise and execution was tremendous and he brings a tremendous all-around game to the field.

White demonstrated a knack for avoiding the rush and buying time in the pocket. His running ability was refreshing and gave the Sooners another option to work with in their offense.

Quarterback controversy?
The question is will he continue to play. Knowing the Sooner coaches as I do, I believe that, at least at this point, if Nate Hybl is healthy he will start Saturday against Kansas. Hybl played gallantly against Kansas State and his performance played a big role in the Sooners 38-37 win.

Hybl has been improving every week and despite an excellent performance from White, the coaches will not see any reason to pull Hybl if he is healthy.

However, Hybl is nursing a sore left shoulder and some bruised ribs and if he can't go against Kansas, then White will have another opportunity to reopen the quarterback race. If White has to start against Kansas, and has an outstanding performance then things could get interesting.

White made no mistakes against Texas and if he can keep that up going full speed then his upside is larger than Hybl's. Remember that Hybl won the job because he made fewer mistakes than White during fall drills. On Saturday, White didn't make any mistakes that cost the Sooners possession the ball. That, coupled with his outstanding talent will take him a long way at OU.

Sophomore quarterback Jason White come off the bench to replace the injured Hybl and rushed for 38 yards on 12 carries. (AP Photo/Donna McWilliam)


In the doghouse
The Sooners receiving corp is still not making enough plays to please the Sooner coaching staff. In reality, the Sooners don't have a big-time receiver currently playing. Maybe, potentially Antwone Savage, Curtis Fagan or Mark Clayton will have the stuff to take over games.

Savage certainly did so against Kansas State. However, against Texas he dropped another pass and never could really get open.

I probably shouldn't put Clayton on this list yet, because he is a young player who played great against Texas and played great. Clayton certainly demonstrated that if he continues to develop he could be a great one in the future. The coaches fell in love with Clayton when he worked against the OU varsity on the scout team last year and that love affair hasn't slowed down yet.

However, Savage, Fagan, Josh Norman and Damian Mackey need to pick up their games and not only get consistent, but also must start making big plays.

OU may be trying to redshirt Brandon Jones. I understand he has a slight lower back injury and that has kept him off the field in recent weeks.

However, the fact Will Peoples hasn't made his mark at wide receiver is a bit disappointing. You can see his great athletic ability on special teams, but thus far he has yet to make his mark at wide receiver.

This is one of the reasons why the Sooners recently offered Travis Wilson of Creekview, Texas. Wilson participated at OU's camp and gave Michael Hawkins, OU's top cornerback recruit, all he could handle. Recent film showed the Wilson has the potential to be a big-time talent at the next level, thus OU decided to offer at least one wide receiver. Wilson is expected to commit to the Sooners early this week after visiting Texas A&M this weekend.

The Real Roy Williams
OK repeat after me, "The Sooners Roy Williams is the best collegiate football player in the country...Roy Williams is the best collegiate football player in the country."

Special, special teams
It's amazing how good Rocky Calmus and Roy Williams are on special teams. They are both on every special team it seems and both play lights out. Trent Smith is another very good special team's player and Derrick Strait is very good. Once again, the Sooners won the special team battle and their great play on special teams has been a big factor in so many of the Sooner victories during the streak.

Slow start
Kansas didn't deliver the there game film until early afternoon on Sunday. There was some kind of screw up in the delivery of the film and Kansas said it was a mistake, however it still peeved the OU coaches. They didn't start looking at Kansas film until mid afternoon on Sunday, which put them several hours behind schedule.

After early review, the OU coaches feel that Kansas has a pretty good offense and that they will throw the kitchen sink at them Saturday in Lawrence. This concerns the Sooner coaches. That is why they are good, they are always concerned about their opponents.

Young guns
When you consider all the young talent on the Sooner roster, aren't you excited about the future? Harris, Dvoracek, Lehman, Wilkerson, Perkins, Strait, Everage, White, Rawls, Clayton, Donley, Estus, Kejuan Jones, Dante Hickson, Wes Sims, Cliff Takawana, Vince Carter and a great group of freshman defensive backs will keep this football team rolling for many years to come.

Slumpin Duncan
The coaches are quietly worried about Tim Duncan. He is not even kicking the ball well in camp right now. However, they feel he will work out of it and get back on track. They hope so at least, they have nobody to turn to at this point.

Family time
After the Texas win it was touching to see Coach Stoops and his beautiful wife Carol walk back to the Sooner locker room arm-in-arm. Carol waited for over 40 minutes in the press tent as Coach Stoops answered a million questions from the media. When the Sooner SID crew finally dragged Coach Stoops away, they had a three-to-four minute walk back to the Sooners' headquarters. The lovebirds shared a quiet moment of joy arm-in-arm all the way back.

Dressed for success
Did you see the threads on the Sooner coaches before the game. When the bus arrived, all the coaches walked around the Cotton Bowl turf, checking it out. If they aren't the best dressed coaching staff in the country, then I want to the see the one that is.

This is another reason why this coaching staff can relate to players so well and recruit so well. They are all-young or act young, and they are also still living in a very modern world. Looking good, playing hard, taking care of responsibilities and taking care of family is what this coaching staff is all about.

Don't mess with...
After the win Co-Defensive Coordinator Mike Stoops went into the Midway at the Texas State Fair to enjoy the atmosphere. Mike said a number of Sooner fans came up to him to celebrate, but he said not one Texas fan would even look his way. I don't guess I can blame them.

I wonder how hot will the hotseat be for Mack this week? Is Texas really the school for all those great Texas recruits? Hey, OU has the better program and that isn't going to change for a while.

Is OU predictable?
Is it just me, or are the Sooners running the ball every time they go under center? I realize they also run it out of the shotgun, but how long has been since the Sooners have dropped back and pass the ball from under center? I can't remember the last time.

Recruiting update
I am not sure what recruits were at the game on Saturday, because it was Texas's turn to host the recruits. However, I do know that Larry Dibbles, Garnett Smith and Aaron Harris all made sure that they said hi to the Sooner coaches on Saturday. The OU coaches couldn't talk to them, but the wave was worth a million words.

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