Capel Discusses Disappointing Season

"Again, it all comes back to me," Capel said. "I've done a poor job. I've always felt one of my strengths is being able to figure out players and how to get the best out of guys, and I haven't been able to do that this year."

If you ask OU head coach Jeff Capel who's responsible for some of the major problems the Sooners have had this season, he'll give you a straight up answer.

"Again, it all comes back to me," Capel said. "I've done a poor job. I've always felt one of my strengths is being able to figure out players and how to get the best out of guys, and I haven't been able to do that this year."

One issue that Capel said has been very difficult to battle is the concept of veteran leadership and its affect on limiting personal agendas.

He compared the higher ranking teams in the conference and their lack of personal agendas because they accept having one leader and several role players as opposed to teams lower in the pecking order that have trouble grasping those things like the Sooners have.

"If you look at the teams in our league that are at the top, No. 1, their best players are older," Capel said. "You go Kansas, [it's Sherron] Collins and [Cole] Aldrich. You see guys that have won a national championship. You go Kansas State, [it's Denis] Clemente and [Jacob] Pullen. You go Oklahoma State, [it's James] Anderson and Obi [Muonelo]."

"And then the other thing is that they have a definitive guy who is their best player," Capel said. "And no one else has a problem with it. No one else has a problem with saying that because [for KU] Sherron Collins is our best player, [for OSU] James Anderson is our best player, [for KSU] Clemente and Pullen are our best players. [For Texas A&M] Donald Sloan is our best player. So there's no other agendas besides winning."

For the Sooners, it hasn't quite been like that.

"It's something we've struggled with all year, just being a complete team," Capel said. "We've struggled with that."

Here's a case point in example.

"If I were to say earlier in the year that Willie [Warren] was our best player, I think three guys in the locker room were upset," Capel said. "When I said at the beginning of the conference that Tommy [Mason-Griffin's] our best player, three guys were upset in the locker room. And it's tough. Again, that falls back on me."

Something that makes it so odd, though, is that getting the best out of his players and others to fit in around them has been one of Capel's fortes.

"Whether it was Nate Carter or Blake Griffin, you know, Longar Longar for a stretch, ‘[I said] these guys are our best guys,' and everything else was just kind of falling into place," Capel said. "We were able to define roles, and one of the things that defines a team is everyone has a role. The head coach has a role. Assistants have a role. The managers have a role. And everyone has to fall in love with their role."

If anything, a 13-17 overall record, at only 4-12 in the Big 12, indicates not all roles have been filled.

"It's been frustrating for me," Capel said. "I know it's been frustrating for people to watch. It's been embarrassing. But again, we do have an opportunity to still play, and we'll see what we can do in the tournament."


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