Chat with Jake Trotter
Welcome to SoonerNation! On Monday, writer Jake Trotter stops by to chat about everything Oklahoma.
Trotter joined ESPN.com in 2011 after four years with The Oklahoman covering OU and Big 12 football. Before that, he worked at the Austin American-Statesman and Middletown (Ohio) Journal. Trotter grew up in Oklahoma City and graduated from Washington & Lee (Va.) University.
Send your questions now and join Trotter Monday at 4 p.m. ET!
Jake Trotter (3:59 PM)
Hey guys. We'll get started now.
Do you think OU deserves to be #1?
Jake Trotter (4:00 PM)
OU has a good case. The wins over Florida State and Texas were impressive. But in my opinion, either LSU or Alabama deserves to be No. 1 right now. They've been more dominant through the first six weeks of the season. That could change, especially if OU goes to Stillwater and wins.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What is the Hardest Team that Oklahoma will face in College Football this season?
Jake Trotter (4:02 PM)
No doubt it's Oklahoma State. The Florida State win was impressive, even though the Seminoles have struggled since. Part of that, though, was that it's taken them awhile to recover from the OU loss. So much was put into that game, and OU beat them up pretty good. Kansas State is a solid team, but the Cats are no OSU. Beating OSU in Stillwater would be as impressive a win as anyone could hope for in college football this season, maybe other than LSU beating Bama on the road.
What do you think of the way Bob is handling the injury questions? Appears as if he has been pretty evasive (Brennan Clay/Travis Lewis)
Dirt Monkey (Dallas)
The big question that won't go away: What's up with OU's offense inside the 5-yard line? Even though the plays were there against KU (e.g., Whaley drop, Jones over-throw, Millard missed block), something isn't working overall.
Jake Trotter (4:08 PM)
TulsaSooner, it doesn't bother me as much as it does other people. Florida State not knowing Travis Lewis was going to suit up proved to be a competitive advantage, as well as an emotional lift to the team. It would make my job easier if Stoops would come out and just tell us who was going to play and who wasn't. But I don't lose any sleep over it.
Do you think Tom Wort is injured or just not as good as the coaches think?
Jake Trotter (4:10 PM)
I think he's been banged up since Texas. Wort played very well at Florida State, but the back bruise appears to have slowed him down. When Wort is playing at a high level, the defense is better. They'll need him to heal up for the backstretch.
Jake Trotter (4:12 PM)
According to WR coach Jay Norvell, OU has not been able to find its identity inside the red zone. They've been trying a bunch of different things, and as a result, haven't really been able to lean on anything or feel comfortable with anything in the red zone. It's going to be important over the next couple of weeks for this offense to find a package that works, whether that's getting Roy Finch more involved, throwing the ball more to James Hanna, or something else. Kicking field goals won't be Oklahoma State in Stillwater.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Jake, I tried to avoid it, but it's time to ring the alarm on the OU redzone offense, after a 2 for 6 touchdown showing against Kansas. That is totally inexcusable and is now a disturbing, non-championship trend. The offensive line for Oklahoma has step up and give them a viable game inside the 20. They cannot beat either of the SEC powerhouses with such inepititude.
Jake Trotter (4:14 PM)
What made the 2008 offense so special was (save the title game) their efficiency in the red zone. That team, though, could maul defenses with Duke Robinson and Phil Loadholt. This offense is not built to do that.
Adam (Raleigh, NC)
Halfway through the season, who is having the better year- Broyles or Blackmon?
Jake Trotter (4:15 PM)
Broyles is having the better year so far. But both players are having All-America seasons. The Biletnikoff could be decided by who has the better Bedlam.
Alex (Oklahoma City, OK)
What's the download on Clay? He's been out for a couple weeks.
Jake Trotter (4:17 PM)
Clay told people last week that he was going to play against Kansas, and he was warming up with the second team during team drills before the game. I was surprised he didn't get into the game. I think he could have played had the Sooners needed him. But against Kansas, I guess they didn't see the point of risking it. He should be back this week.
I know the SEC is top loaded and tough, but why isn't the BigXII getting respect from top to bottom?
Jake Trotter (4:19 PM)
Top to bottom, the Big 12 might be a better league. After LSU and Alabama, the SEC is actually not as strong as it's been. South Carolina is a mess. Same with Florida. Georgia, which got pummeled by Boise State, could end up winning the East. That probably leaves Arkansas as the No. 3 team. But until the Big 12 beats the SEC in a title game, that's not going to change. Until the SEC is dethroned on the national stage, it will continue to get most of the respect.
Derrin (Plano, TX)
Did Roy Finch make a strong case for more playing time with his performance? I know he totally missed on a block that almost got Landry killed on one redzone pass play. But there has to be some middle ground I would think to get him more involved in the offense.
Jake Trotter (4:22 PM)
Definitely. Finch said after the game that Cale Gundy told him he had his best week of practice in his career. I think that's why you saw Finch get more opportunities in the backfield. Pass protection has been a big issue with Finch, which is why the Sooners have only been using him as a jetback. But he actually protected pretty well against Kansas. I think that will warrant him more carries. He's a special player with the ball in his hands.
k-state is undefeated but hasn't played anyone and barely beat baylor at home who got smashed my a&m...do you think OU will crush the wildcats in 2 weeks?
Jake Trotter (4:23 PM)
Unless OU opens flat the way it did vs. Kansas, I can't see the Sooners losing that game. Bill Snyder has done an amazing job, and deserves consideration for national coach of the year. But the 'Cats lack the offensive firepower to hang with Landry, Broyles and Stills.
Justin (Enid, OK)
Hi Jake,Its surprising how everyone just assumes LSU and Alabama are better teams than Oklahoma when, if you look at their schedules, only half their respective wins come over teams with winning records! More fuel to the contention that SEC strength is more hype than substance? (not saying they aren't good, but that much more superior to Big 12?)
Jake Trotter (4:25 PM)
Five straight national titles. Until someone else wins the big one, the SEC will continue to get the benefit of the doubt from voters, warranted or not.
What was up with OU's linebackers this weekend? They made KU's running back look like Trent Richardson. Can we expect improvement or was this a sign of weakness? Consistency please...
Jake Trotter (4:26 PM)
Just a blip. After a halftime wake up call, the defense came out and was terrific, holding KU to one first down and negative 24 yards rushing.
I don't really understand how people can say OU is not the best team in the land. Our offense is much better then 'Bama or LSU and our defense has shown this year that we are an elite defense as well. Who can compete with that?
Jake Trotter (4:27 PM)
Good thing is, if OU keeps winning, we'll get to find out the answer. Sooners control their own destiny in the BCS. That's all that matters at this point.
How do you think Oklahoma's "small" front-7 (DL average 275, LB average 218) will handle a Power running game like Alabama or LSU?
Jake Trotter (4:29 PM)
Speed vs. Power. The Sooners have been playing four ends a lot of the time. How will that translate? We won't know for sure, unless the two play in the title game. Remember, though, West Virginia's speedy front gave OU fits in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl. I could see OU's front giving Bama or LSU similar problems. Speed is tough to score against.
Curt (Midwest City)
Any idea on who replaces TCU as a non-con opponent next year?
Jake Trotter (4:31 PM)
I asked Joe Castiglione that very question Saturday night. He said that he can't really move forward with replacing that game until the Big 12 makes an official announcement about what its schedule will be next season, and how many teams will be playing in the league. I would expect somebody like Ball State or Bowling Green to be part of the schedule in place of TCU, though.
Jim Slemaket (Los Angeles)
Where was Dejuan Miller against KU? Especially after Stills was injured.
Jake Trotter (4:32 PM)
Good question. I can't even remember him stepping on the field. He's healthy as far as a I know. But right now, Norvell is going with Broyles, Stills, Jaz and Trey Franks as his WR rotation, and that's it. Miller is the fifth guy for now.
Boomer Sooner Myers (Dallas, TX)
Ryan Broyles is 762 yards away from breaking the NCAA career rec yards. He needs about 109 yards per game to break the record. Will he become the NCAA leader in both rec yards and receptions this year?
Jake Trotter (4:34 PM)
I asked Broyles if he realized after the Kansas game that he was within striking distance of the NCAA yards record, too. He had no idea. It's going to be very close, but he has a great chance to break it. If he stays healthy, I think he does.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
What is the latest on the injuries to Wort, Stills, and Nelson? Rumor on Nelson was ligament damage, but no breaks. Is that accurate?
Jake Trotter (4:35 PM)
Yes, Nelson has some ligament damage in his wrist, but fractures or breaks. He thinks he'll be able to play this weekend, but we'll see. Wort is dealing with a bruised back that has been very painful for him. Stills re-entered the KU game despite that scary fall. We'll find out tonight what the word is with Stephen Good, Casey Walker, Brennan Clay.
Alex (Oklahoma City, OK)
Is Jimmy Steven's last time playing for OU career on Senior Day?
Jake Trotter (4:36 PM)
At this point, I'd be surprised if he got to kick again in a Sooner uniform. Stoops has obviously moved on with Michael Hunnicutt, who's done well since taking over.
Legit question here, not just trying to stir the pot: If Oklahoma is sitting there at 13-0 who do you think they would rather play in the Championship, LSU, Alabama or Boise? I know the easy answer is Boise, but I really don't think Bob Stoops wants to get outcoached in a big game again and lose all credibility going forward. Lose to LSU or Alabama and it is just more of the status quo of SEC dominance in the NCG.
Jake Trotter (4:38 PM)
Pot, you've been stirred. OU would rather play Boise, obviously. But given a choice, there's no doubt the Sooners would rather face Bama than LSU in its home state. The SuperDome would be a de facto home field advantage for the Tigers, just the way it was in '03.
KalElVZ (Los Angeles, CA)
What game sticks out as an opportunity for an upset? For a while it looked like Kansas might stick around, and it did until the defense clamped down in the second. What other "shouldn't be taken lightly" teams are left other than OSU? Kansas State? Maybe Tech who gave KSU trouble?
Jake Trotter (4:39 PM)
Texas A&M, K-State and Baylor could all give OU problems. But the Sooners would have to play really poorly to get beat in any of the three. I see K-State playing OU the toughest of the three. Bill Snyder will have his guys ready to play, and the crowd will be fired up.
Jake Trotter (4:41 PM)
Thanks for the all questions, guys. We'll do this again next Monday, same time, same place. If you didn't get a question in, send it to the SoonerNation mailbag, and I'll get them answered Friday. Have a good week.