Hot Links: Brown continues to impress, OU’s secondary shows progress

Happy Hump Day, Sooner Nation! It is a great day, because we now have NBA Basketball to tide us over from Saturday to Saturday. Speaking of things (and people) being back, Adrian Peterson brought home some hardware this weekend. We look at that and more in today’s hot links:

OU Links:

National Links:

  • Here’s how Mike Gundy came home and built Oklahoma State football. Say what you will about the Pokes, but Bedlam is more fun when both teams are good. Gundy has done quite a job in Stillwater. His 109-51 record as a head coach is impressive… especially considering when the fact that he’s 2-10 against the Oklahoma Sooners 😉
  • In case you aren’t on Twitter and weren’t forced to subject yourself to a ton of horrifying screen shots, Gordon Hayward suffered a gruesome leg injury in last nights season opener. His first season with the Boston Celtics is over before the rest of the league has even played a game. This reaction by the Cleveland Cavaliers bench tells you pretty much everything you need to know.
  • Speaking of the NBA, Tim Cato wrote a great piece on the culture in Oklahoma City that has built them into legitimate championship contenders one again. The Thunder begin their season Thursday night at home against Enes Kanter and the New York Knicks.
  • One last NBA note: Kevin Durant hit a buzzer beater to beat the Houston Rockets last night… but it was waved off after replay showed he didn’t get the shot off in time. Just a shame. A real shame.

“STICK TO SPORTS”

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Oklahoma football: Sooners’ secondary sees improvement, looks to continue growth

The Sooners’ secondary had its best showing of Big 12 play so far during the Red River rivalry, but will have to continue to improve with the pass-heavy offenses it has yet to face.

“I think the DBs played one of our best games since Ohio State to this point,” sophomore cornerback Parnell Motley said.

Senior free safety Will Johnson said the secondary played disciplined football and did well against Texas, but they weren’t the best part of the defense that day.

“I thought the front seven was the real MVP of the game, just with how they played, getting after the quarterback and stopping the run,” Johnson said.

So far this season, the secondary has only made two interceptions — both by Motley. The defense as a whole hasn’t had much luck forcing turnovers either, with only three fumble recoveries this year. 

“Good coverage is great but it’s normally the pressure that gets you the turnovers and stuff like that,” Johnson said.

The defense recorded eight quarterback hurry ups against Texas, five of them coming from senior defensive end Ogbonnia Okoronkwo alone. The defensive front looked more aggressive for Oklahoma than it had in the rest of conference play so far, and that translated to how the secondary played as well.

“I love the way our defense played this weekend,” Motley said. “Our d-linemen put pressure on the quarterback, and it takes some things off our mind … that’s something we haven’t been getting the (last) few weeks, and that’s some things we need more improvement on if we want to be a great defense.”

Oklahoma still has a lot of pass-loving teams left to play, though. Oklahoma State’s senior quarterback Mason Rudolph has thrown for more than 2,300 yards, and Texas Tech’s senior quarterback Nic Shimonek has also thrown for over 2,000 yards — both more than the Sooners’ senior quarterback Baker Mayfield. So the secondary will see a lot of action in the second half of the season. 

“It’s a great standing point right now especially with the other teams will have to see like Kansas State, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State, TCU — teams like that they like to pass,” Motley said. “So just kind of getting back in our comfort zone, get things going and keep pushing momentum and just keep it going forward from here on out.”

On Saturday, the Sooners will travel to Manhattan, Kansas, to take on Kansas State, a team only averaging 186.2 passing yards per game, but the secondary will have to continue to improve for the rest of Big 12 play.

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Oklahoma basketball: Sooners among programs undergoing compliance review as FBI investigates corruption

Amid an FBI investigation into the recruiting activities of several Power 5 schools, the Oklahoma men’s basketball program is undergoing a process of reviewing its own practices.

The Associated Press surveyed 84 schools including “top universities with major basketball programs as well as six top conferences” about their response to the investigation into bribery, fraud and other illegal activities. 

Sixty-four schools responded to AP’s survey, with 28 saying the investigations have spurred internal reviews, including the Sooners. 

“We have an ongoing and thorough review of our program through our compliance office,” the OU Athletics Department said in a statement. “This matter has provided another opportunity to dialogue about ethical standards and rules compliance.”

Oklahoma practices the policy of reviewing operations on a regular basis, but the statement indicates the university will be undergoing further review. 

The AP reports that 36 schools, including the Big East Conference said they were not specifically investigating their practices based on the probe, and some said they responded no because they continually review compliance. 

According to a statement from Sheahon Zenger, Kansas’ athletics director, the NCAA Board of Directors is requiring all Division I schools to review its practices to ensure compliance. 

The NCAA also created a Commission on College Basketball, led by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, earlier this week.

“The recent news of a federal investigation into fraud in college basketball made it very clear the NCAA needs to make substantive changes to the way we operate, and do so quickly,” said NCAA President Mark Emmert on the formation of the commission. “Individuals who break the trust on which college sports is based have no place here.

“While I believe the vast majority of coaches follow the rules, the culture of silence in college basketball enables bad actors, and we need them out of the game. We must take decisive action. This is not a time for half-measures or incremental change.”

The probe has resulted in the arrests of coaches at Arizona, Auburn, Oklahoma State and USC. Louisville coach Rick Pitino was also fired this week, and while the investigation is ongoing, the Sooners have not been implicated of any wrongdoing thus far. 

Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said earlier this month that the sport needed correction, and the investigation is helping provide it.

“Things are happening and changes are going to be made,” Kruger said. “Hopefully everybody comes out of it better for it.”

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Big 12 Power Rankings: Oklahoma moves up a spot

Happy Tuesday, OU fans!

We all know that this conference isn’t in fantastic shape, especially from an image standpoint. But who isn’t intrigued to find out how this entire conference race is going to shake out this season? There are a lot of things that can be said about the Big 12, but you can’t say it’s boring. Come to think of it, the on-field product really isn’t bad this year. The league has three top-10 teams, and there are three or four more that can legitimately be labeled as “good”. After seven weeks, do any of us really have a good idea as to who is going to occupy spaces 1-6 or 7 in the standings once the regular season ends? A team like Texas Tech could finish third or fourth in the league, but it could also easily finish close the bottom of the heap. Oklahoma could very easily win this thing, but it could also finish fifth if things bounce the wrong way.

  1. TCU (6-0, 3-0) – TCU once again proved to be the most complete team in the Big 12 with a convincing, 26-6 win over Kansas State in Manhattan. The Horned Frogs held Kansas State to 216 yards of offense while Kenny Hill avoided making any big mistakes. If Hill continues to take care of the football, it’s tough to image the Frogs walking into Memorial Stadium on Nov. 11 without an undefeated record.
  2. Oklahoma (5-1, 2-1) – I mentioned last week that I would likely flip the Oklahoma schools if Oklahoma showed me something against Texas, and they sort of accomplished that goal with a pretty gutsy performance. However, the Sooners gave up a 20-0 lead in the process and damn near lost the game. As a fan, I was pretty elated after the win, but I’m still feeling uneasy. The biggest questions will be answered in next Saturday, when OU begins a three-game stretch against Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and TCU. For the record, I’m not too worried about this coming weekend, as I just don’t think K-State has the firepower to hang. However, they could cause problems if they get pressure and force Mayfield into some bad decisions. Additionally, that run defense of theirs is pretty stout. Basically, I don’t think it’ll be a walk in the park, but I’m not nearly as paranoid as I’ll be for the following three weeks.
  3. Oklahoma State (5-1, 2-1) – Well wuddayah know — the Big 12 has three teams in the top 10, and all three actually deserve to be there. I still don’t think the Cowboys will top Oklahoma this year, but another 10-win season is well within reach.
  4. West Virginia (4-2, 2-1) – The Mountaineers have two losses against two current top-15 teams — both of which were played outside of Morgantown. Will Grier continues to light people up and now averages 348 passing yards per game with a rating of 167.8, which is currently good for 10th nationally.
  5. Texas Tech (4-2, 1-2) – The team ranked above them pulled off a quality win when the two played in Morgantown on Saturday, but the Red Raiders were able to outgain WVU by a count of 513-396 and would’ve been in their spot if not for some late lapses. OU is in for a serious battle when the come to Norman next Saturday.
  6. Texas (3-3, 2-1) – It’s safe to say that the Longhorns are an alright football team, but they’ll have to win a game they aren’t supposed to in order to get back to a bowl game. Games against Baylor and Kansas remain, but they have to travel to Morgantown, West Virginia and play TCU in Ft. Worth. I don’t envision a W this week against Oklahoma State, so their best chance to reach six wins will likely come the day after Thanksgiving against Texas Tech in Austin.
  7. Iowa State (4-2, 2-1) – I’m afraid I can’t quite put them ahead of Texas just yet, but a win in Lubbock this weekend would change that (unless Texas somehow beats OSU). Also, don’t overlook last week’s 45-0 victory over Kansas, when they held the Jayhawks to 106 yards of total offense. Kansas is bad, but not that bad. Iowa State’s defense has been solid since experiencing some late misfortune against Iowa.
  8. Kansas State (3-3, 1-2) – As has been mentioned, Kansas State has a really good front seven. Unfortunately and somewhat surprisingly, they haven’t really succeeded in many other areas.
  9. Baylor (0-6, 0-3) – The Bears face Kansas on Nov. 4. Mark your calendars.
  10. Kansas (1-5, 0-3) – The Jayhawks face Texas on Nov. 11. Mark your calendars.

Week 7 Big 12 Schedule

Iowa State at Texas Tech – 11 a.m. CT (FS1)

Oklahoma State at Texas – 11 a.m. CT (ABC)

Oklahoma at Kansas State – 3 p.m. CT (FOX)

Kansas at TCU – 7 p.m. CT (FOX)

West Virginia at Baylor – 7 p.m. CT (FS2)

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Oklahoma softball: Sooners take on North Central Texas College for exhibition game

Oklahoma will be looking for its next win as it continues exhibition play Wednesday against North Central Texas College.

With a few months before the season is set to begin, the focus this fall has been on getting the newcomers integrated into the team, and for senior outfielder Nicole Pendley, making them a part of their family.

“We’re focused on showing them how we do things, and getting them back up to speed because it’s a different game at this level,” Pendley said.

Coach Patty Gasso reiterated the importance of using the fall to teach the newcomers, but to also serve as a refresher for returners.

“When you teach someone how to do something it makes you better,” Gasso said. “There’s a lot of learning and teaching, but that’s the advantage — getting the newcomers affiliated with how we play the game.”

The Sooners are consistently focused on playing their hardest and making improvements throughout the season, a goal which is shared among the coaching staff.  

“The good thing about our coaching staff is we work in unison, and we trust each other,” Gasso said. “We stay out of each other’s space, and it works really well.”

The Sooners have been undefeated so far (4-0), outscoring opponents 32-1 combined.

First pitch against North Central Texas College will be Wednesday at 6 p.m. CT in Norman. This will be the team’s fifth of eight games this fall before starting the regular season in the spring.

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Oklahoma football: Multiple Sooners make midseason AP All-America team

The midseason AP All-America team was announced Tuesday morning and includes four Sooners.

Senior quarterback Baker Mayfield, senior defensive end Ogbonnia Okoronkwo and junior offensive lineman Orlando Brown were named to first team.

Mayfield is currently leading the nation in passer efficiency (207.33) and completion percentage (72.7).

Junior tight end Mark Andrews was the only Sooner named to the second team. 

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Hot Links: Midseason All-Americans, Mayfield’s Heisman chances, and more!

Happy Tuesday! It’s a great week in Norman, Oklahoma. We’re keeping the golden hat here where it belongs, teams are playing NBA basketball this evening, and it finally doesn’t feel like you’re standing in a mouth when you step outside. Not to mention, it’s Spooky Season! Personally, I feel great. Let’s check out some links.

OU Links:

  • Four Oklahoma SoonersMark Andrews, Baker Mayfield, Orlando Brown and Ogbonnia Okoronkwo — have been named Midseason All-Americans by USA Today. I’m especially pleased about the fact that Obo is being given the recognition he deserves, and I’m actually fairly (and pleasantly) surprised by it.
  • When it comes to kicking field goals, Austin Seibert makes many of us sick with anxiety. But he was a rockstar on Saturday in all aspects of his game, as is illustrated in this piece.
  • Did you notice all the missed penalties during the OU-Texas game on Saturday? If so, you’re not alone. Here’s what Lincoln Riley had to say about them, as well as his thoughts on Sam Ehlinger’s acting ability.
  • The updated list of Heisman hopefuls is out and Mayfield is still in the Top 3. Personally, I think quarterbacks have a much better shot at the Heisman than running backs these days, but Barkley has indeed been unbelievable. We’ll have to see how the season plays out.
  • Which conference do you find most entertaining? ESPN ranked them by this factor only. I think the Pac-12 and Big-12 are most fun to watch, personally.

National Links:

  • A commentator for FOX read the prompter words instead of following the instructions. A real-life Anchorman moment.

“STICK TO SPORTS!

Source: Crimson and Cream Machine

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Hot Links: Midseason All-Americans, Mayfield’s Heisman chances, and more!

Happy Tuesday! It’s a great week in Norman, Oklahoma. We’re keeping the golden hat here where it belongs, teams are playing NBA basketball this evening, and it finally doesn’t feel like you’re standing in a mouth when you step outside. Not to mention, it’s Spooky Season! Personally, I feel great. Let’s check out some links.

OU Links:

  • Four Oklahoma SoonersMark Andrews, Baker Mayfield, Orlando Brown and Ogbonnia Okoronkwo — have been named Midseason All-Americans by USA Today. I’m especially pleased about the fact that Obo is being given the recognition he deserves, and I’m actually fairly (and pleasantly) surprised by it.
  • When it comes to kicking field goals, Austin Seibert makes many of us sick with anxiety. But he was a rockstar on Saturday in all aspects of his game, as is illustrated in this piece.
  • Did you notice all the missed penalties during the OU-Texas game on Saturday? If so, you’re not alone. Here’s what Lincoln Riley had to say about them, as well as his thoughts on Sam Ehlinger’s acting ability.
  • The updated list of Heisman hopefuls is out and Mayfield is still in the Top 3. Personally, I think quarterbacks have a much better shot at the Heisman than running backs these days, but Barkley has indeed been unbelievable. We’ll have to see how the season plays out.
  • Which conference do you find most entertaining? ESPN ranked them by this factor only. I think the Pac-12 and Big-12 are most fun to watch, personally.

National Links:

  • A commentator for FOX read the prompter words instead of following the instructions. A real-life Anchorman moment.

“STICK TO SPORTS!

Source: Crimson and Cream Machine

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Oklahoma basketball: Sooners among schools conducting internal review following federal investigation into NCAA corruption

The Associated Press asked 84 top universities with major basketball programs as well as six top conferences about their response to a federal corruption scandal that has overshadowed college hoops as the season gets ready to begin.

Of 64 schools that responded, 28 said the probe prompted their own internal reviews. So did the Pac-12 conference, which formed a task force to dive into the culture and issues of recruiting. Another 36 schools and the Big East Conference said they were not specifically responding to the federal probe, though many of the “no” responses came with the caveat that the school’s athletic department is always reviewing its compliance.

Here’s a full list of how each school and conference responded to the question: “Are you reviewing your own basketball program – internally or with a consultant – as a response to the federal probe?”

___

YES:

Alabama

Arizona

Arkansas

Auburn

Baylor

California

Clemson

Colorado

Creighton

Duke

Florida State

Kansas

Kansas State

Louisville

Miami

Michigan State

North Carolina

Oklahoma

Oklahoma State

Ole Miss

South Carolina

St. John’s

Stanford

TCU

UNLV

Southern California

Wichita State

Wisconsin

Pac-12 Conference

___

NO:

Arizona State

Butler

DePaul

Gonzaga

Illinois

Indiana

Iowa

Iowa State

LSU

Marquette

Maryland

Memphis

Michigan

Minnesota

NC State

Nebraska

Northwestern

Notre Dame

Ohio State

Oregon

Oregon State

Penn State

Pittsburgh

Purdue

Rutgers

SMU

San Diego State

Syracuse

Texas

UConn

Utah

Virginia

Virginia Tech

Washington

Washington State

Xavier

Big East

___

DECLINED RESPONSE:

Boston College

Florida

Georgetown

Georgia

Georgia Tech

Harvard

Kentucky

Mississippi State

Missouri

Providence

Saint Mary’s

Seton Hall

Tennessee

Texas A&M

Texas Tech

UCLA

Vanderbilt

Villanova

Wake Forest

West Virginia

ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, SEC conferences

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Oklahoma football: Sooners searching for deep threats

No. 9 Oklahoma (5-1, 2-1 Big 12) has been lethal offensively so far this season, but is seeking the return of big plays through the air.

Despite the Sooners No. 3 ranking in total offense, they’ve struggled to hit the deep ball they valued so much a year ago. Through six games this year, OU is averaging 12.5 yards per pass, but hasn’t quite hit its stride through the air.

“We definitely need to be more consistent with the deep ball,” senior quarterback Baker Mayfield said. “It’s something last year that scared people. We were playing complete ball last year, and that’s what we need to get back to.”

Last season, Biletnikoff award winner Dede Westbrook was one of the top deep threats in all of college football, racking up 1,524 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns. This season, it’s been a combined effort with five players over 200 yards receiving.

However, two wide receivers particularly stick out when thinking about replacing Westbrook’s deep threat: senior Jeff Badet and junior Marquise Brown. Both have shown they have an elite quickness and an ability to get open on long routes. 

“I feel like at anytime me or Jeff Badet could go deep, the opportunity just has to present itself,” Brown said. “The defense has to get in the right coverage for us to run that type of play.”

Brown, a JUCO transfer, didn’t see much action at the beginning of the season, but has recently been one of the Sooners top targets. He’s been used in multiple ways, running screens, deep posts and occasionally trick plays. 

Brown doesn’t care how he gets the ball, as long as it’s in his hands.

“Not playing early just made me work harder,” Brown said. “If I can just get the ball any way I can, if it’s a screen, deep ball, any kind of way — I want it.”

In recent games, Brown and Badet have been a part of big plays, including two against Texas, and look to continue that as the season progresses. 

For now, Oklahoma hopes to improve its big play ability, but that isn’t at the top of its list of concerns.

“Hopefully we’re close. We’ve hit a few. We’ve had a few we didn’t hit,” coach Lincoln Riley said. “We’ve had a lot of big plays though. Our big plays haven’t been the problem, we have to do better on third downs, we have to do better on fourth downs, we have to better in the redzone. We need to improve in those types of situations.”

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