Five Questions: Oklahoma

Oklahoma Sooners expert Bob Przybylo, publisher of SoonersIllustrated.com, provides the inside scoop on Oklahoma prior to this week's Big 12 matchup with Texas Tech. The Red Raiders (3-6, 1-5 in Big 12) host the Sooners (6-3, 3-3) 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock.

1. What is all this chatter I hear about Stoops moving along after this season? Is there any truth to the talk or do you expect him back next season?

Przybylo: Don’t believe there is any real truth to this unless the season unravels even more from this point forward. The 48-14 loss to Baylor was humbling on many levels and embarrassing on others.

It has led to a lot of frustration in Norman and among OU fans this week. But as time wears on, it’s tough to see the “get rid of Stoops” line of thinking picking up steam if the Sooners show proper motivation down the stretch. As for Stoops just leaving for another job, never say never, but there hasn't been a sign in his demeanor to suggest he’s looking for a way out. Recruits still say he has been very engaged this week when they’ve talked to him.

2. Many, including myself, had OU pegged to represent the Big 12 in the playoffs and in that regard the season has been a disappointment. What has gone wrong? In your opinion where has Oklahoma struggled the most?

Przybylo: Oh let me count the ways. Inconsistent quarterback play from Trevor Knight has been a huge thing that has caused all the losses. In two losses he has thrown a pick-six, while against Baylor an interception was returned to the one yard line. OU’s secondary, outside of Zack Sanchez, is simply not very good. Every quarterback in conference, except for Iowa State, has picked apart the defensive backs. Sanchez has five interceptions, while the rest of the team has five total. The defensive scheme has been a mess in the secondary.

The Sooners offensive line, though incredibly experienced, has come up short in huge situations. Third and fourth down runs against Kansas State and TCU were snuffed out and prevented the Sooners from a possible shot at victory. But most surprising has been kicker Michael Hunnicutt going through severe issues. He missed two field goals and had an extra point blocked in a one-point loss to Kansas State and also missed a 31-yard field goal against Baylor that would have made it 17-17. His confidence is at its lowest point in his storied career.

3. Who do you think will start at quarterback Saturday? If Cody Thomas makes his first start what are his strengths and weaknesses?

Przybylo: I would bet the farm (you know, if I had one) on Cody Thomas being the starting quarterback. There is simply no logical reason to risk further injury to Trevor Knight, especially when you’re dealing with something as serious as a neck problem. To me, don’t be shocked if Knight doesn’t play again this season. As for Thomas, not too much is known. He’s a lot bigger than Knight (height and weight) and has been known for his strong arm. He’s also thrown a mere 16 passes, completing seven of them for 50 yards with an interception. So he’s a virtual unknown heading into this one. He’s not nearly as mobile as Knight, more of a pure passer.

4. Do you expect Oklahoma to be amped, looking to take out its frustrations on Tech this weekend or demoralized following the big loss last week?

Przybylo: Biggest question of the week. The players and coaches have all said the right things this week, but who really knows if some of these guys have mentally checked out for the season? It’s all about pride now for the Sooners, which seems so strange to say after what was expected this season. No championships are in play of any sort so it’s a mental game of still having that motivation and determination to go out and get the job done. Think we’re going to know pretty early the mindset of the team Saturday afternoon.

5. Tech and OU are going head-to-head on some big-time uncommitted prospects in the 2015 recruiting cycle. Where do the Sooners currently stand with Darrion Daniels, Kahlil Haughton and Justin Reid?

Przybylo: All three have made their official visits to OU. Reid and Haughton have each seen the Sooners play twice this season, and Haughton will tack on No. 3 since he’s visiting Tech this week.

OU has space for all three and the general consensus is the Sooners are solidly in the mix for all three prospects. Not in the top five, but more like in the top three or even two with a couple of them. The Sooners preach patience on the recruiting trail and never ever force the hand of a recruit. That has never been Bob Stoops’ philosophy and never will be. If it was, gut feeling says Haughton and Reid would already be locked up for OU, but the process will play itself out. Daniels is the enigma of the trio. He’s so quiet with the media regarding his recruitment that it’s tough to pinpoint exactly where OU stands with him. What is known is he is definitely very high for OU on its priority list.




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