Credit Bob Stoops with seeing the big picture when it comes to the Big 12 Conference.
The league’s current television deal with ABC/ESPN and FOX calls for the Big 12 to schedule four games on Thursdays. Playing a week-night game is great for exposure, but is disruptive for the typical rhythm of preparing to play on Saturday.
The Sooners, a national brand that doesn’t need the exposure, is playing at Iowa State Thursday (6:30 p.m. CST, ESPN). Oklahoma is on a five-game winning streak and hitting the road for a mid-week game could cause some coaches to rail against their conference’s schedule philosophy.
“We’re part of a 10-team league that has a TV contract,” Stoops said Monday. “That’s pretty good. It supplements a lot of other sports so you do your part. You jump in and you go at it whatever day they tell you.”
The Big 12 office also has scheduling parameters that endeavor to make the schedules for all 10 teams as fair as possible. For instance, while Oklahoma has to travel to Iowa State, it was home Saturday against Kansas. Back-to-back road games with the second involving a Thursday night game is a sure way to get coaches yelling and screaming.
The short week involves a change to the weekly routine. Oklahoma typically takes Sunday off, but the Sooners were on the practice field Sunday night.
“It’s a different mindset for sure,” wide receiver Mark Andrews said. “Usually, you are able to relax and limp around all day. With this practice, you had to bounce back, get your mind right and get over the last game and get ready for a new one.”
The OU coaches also had to speed up the game-planning process, but after eight games, the scheming doesn’t require too much heavy lifting.
“It’s challenging to a degree, but at this point of the year, it’s not like all the sudden you start all over and have a whole new offense and defense,” Stoops said.
10 is enough
On the 16th play of a Kansas drive in the first quarter, Oklahoma stopped the Jayhawks on a third-and-five play that forced a field goal. Because of confusion over an injury, the Sooners had just 10 players on the field.
A week after giving up 854 yards and 54 points to Texas Tech, the irony wasn’t lost on defensive coordinator Mike Stoops.
“We probably couldn’t have stopped Tech with 12 last week, and we stopped these guys with 10,” Stoops said.
- Oklahoma’s Amani Bledsoe has been suspended for a year. The Lawrence Journal World reported that Bledsoe, who is from Lawrence, has been suspended for failing an NCAA performance enhancing drugs test. Bledsoe plans to appeal the suspension, which would keep him sidelined until the eighth game of the 2017 season. After not playing in the season opener, Bledsoe played in the next six games. He did not play in Saturday’s game against KU due to what Stoops referred to as an “indefinite suspension.”
- Junior linebacker Kapri Doucet will miss the first half of the Iowa State game. He was ejected for targeting late in the Kansas game for a hit on quarterback Carter Stanley. Doucet, listed as a starter on this week’s depth chart, has started three games and has 21 tackles, three quarterback hurries and a sack.
- Last week, Devin Montgomery got a text from running backs coach Jay Boulware informing him that because of injuries the redshirt walk on would be Oklahoma’s third-string running back against Kansas. In the third quarter with the Sooners leading 49-3, Montgomery was in the game. On a 2nd-and-9 play from the Kansas 10, Montgomery got the call and scored a touchdown on his first carry.
- Freshman Abdul Adams, the backup running back to Joe Mixon, had a team-high 91 yards on nine carries against Kansas. Most of that yardage came on a 57-yard run in the third quarter. “It was important. He popped some big ones, and you saw some of his visibility, him running through tackles and his versatility as a runner,” offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley said. “With the situation we’re in right now with Samaje (Perine), Rodney (Anderson) and Daniel (Brooks) not being here, it’s something that we need. This team has continually answered the bell on all three sides with these injuries we’ve had. We just continue to have guys step up, and that’s the mark of a big team.”