Claremore Daily Progress

Sports Columnists

August 2, 2012

HORNING: The two worlds of Sooner football

NORMAN — Everybody likes Oklahoma. Let us count the ways.

A preseason No. 1 in the Big 12 conference. A top-five pick in every preseason magazine. A defense under the direction Mike Stoops, an unparalleled defensive genius (don’t believe it, just ask a fan).

Coming off an impressive bowl victory, after which OU’s one-time Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback surprised many by choosing to remain in Norman one more year, what’s not to like?

It sounds right.

But Wednesday afternoon, the news was not good.

Not good at all.

Because if there was one unit on the team everybody had every reason to believe in, that unit was the offensive line. And Wednesday afternoon, we found out Ben Habern, the best lineman on that line, has chosen to leave the game to save his neck.

The way so many ex-NFL players have crumbled before our eyes, Habern’s choice may add years, even decades to his life. But it will not do Sooner football any favors.

Then there was Bob Stoops’ reinstatement of receivers Jaz Reynolds and Trey Franks to the squad, yet also his confirmation that both, along with defensive back Quentin Hayes, “are going to miss multiple, multiple games.”

Perhaps Kameel Jackson will be available by opening day. He is the one player not fully addressed, and Stoops said he would address Jackson just as soon as the summer academic session concludes. Still, be honest, did anybody have Kameel Jackson as the linchpin to the receiving unit?

It’s like the Sooners are living in two different worlds.

In one world, you have an All-American type quarterback back for one more go-round, protected by an experienced line with talented receivers to throw to and several backs to move the chains along the ground, not to mention a defense that’s certain to be improved under the new leadership of a guy who was pulling the defensive reins the last time the Sooners won a national championship.

Text Only
Sports Columnists
  • COLUMN: McDermott gets last shot to leave mark on the game

    You never know when a great basketball story is going to peak, so keep an eye out for Doug McDermott. If college basketball's power brokers get their way, you'll be seeing plenty of him over the next few weeks.

    March 18, 2014

  • COLUMN: Michael Sam bravely comes out. Now what?

    Michael Sam could've taken the - well, not the easy, but certainly the easier - way out by staying mum on his sexual orientation, at least until after the NFL draft.
    Instead, one of the nation's top college football players bravely decided to speak now, to tell the world he is gay at a time when NFL teams are grading the guys they'll be picking in a couple of months.

    February 10, 2014

  • COLUMN: Sherman wins the games, then loses his mind

    The bookies in Vegas reported a rare split picking the early favorite for the Super Bowl. At least there's no question about who's going to steal the show.
    That would be Seattle's supremely confident Richard Sherman, who's already staked a claim to being the NFL's most quotable cornerback since Deion Sanders. Fresh off making the game-saving play in the last minute of Sunday's NFC championship, Sherman gave America a taste of how juicy things could get over the next two weeks if his coach, Pete Carroll, doesn't clamp the equivalent of a ''Denver boot'' on the mouth of his All-Pro first.

    January 20, 2014

  • COLUMN: Petrino says he's changed; yeah, right

    Bobby Petrino insists he's a changed man.
    Not the scoundrel who secretly interviewed for someone else's coaching job without telling his bosses, who abandoned the Atlanta Falcons with three games left in the season, who wrecked his motorcycle with his mistress aboard and lied about the sordid affair as long as he could.
    We're supposed to believe he's not that guy anymore.
    Yeah, right.

    January 11, 2014

  • COLUMN: A nation grieves and the NFL plays on

    Americans grieved in front of their television sets on a brutally grim Sunday afternoon 50 years ago as a horse-drawn caisson took the body of President Kennedy from the White House to lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda.

    November 24, 2013

  • COLUMN: Fitting ending in cards for final BCS

    The Bowl Championship Series is in its death throes, and few are mourning its passing.
    Come next season, the path to the national championship will go through two playoff games, and a blue ribbon panel will pick the lucky participants. It's hardly a perfect system because invariably some worthy school will get left out, but it is a major step toward deciding the title mostly on the field instead of inside somebody's basement computer.

    November 6, 2013

  • COLUMN: Hard to imagine another chance for Tebow

    There was never any real reason to dislike Tim Tebow, who never pretended to be anything he wasn't. Blame him for the Tebowing craze, if you will, but even that was worth a few laughs in a league that doesn't always embrace fun.

    September 2, 2013

  • COLUMN: Time for baseball to really clean up act

    Of all those penalized in baseball's biggest doping scandal, at least Nelson Cruz had a good story to tell.
    No, his drink wasn't spiked with testosterone in a bar one night by a Texas Rangers fan desperate for a World Series win. That would be a bit hard to believe now, wouldn't it?

    August 6, 2013

  • COLUMN: Bruins stir OKC hockey memories

    Seeing the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup finals brings back some childhood memories going back to the days of the original Oklahoma City Blazers, who were a Bruins farm club from 1965-72.

    June 22, 2013

  • COLUMN: Perfect ending to OU's championship run

    Really, that’s about right.

    On the day Oklahoma coach Patty Gasso saves the nation’s best pitcher for a possible winner-take-all national championship game, the nation’s best pitcher’s back-up tosses a shutout and the nation’s best pitcher rips a three-run home run and drives in all four Sooner runs.

    June 5, 2013