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 (4:02 PM)
Ok let's get rolling...
have we heard anything on ryan broyles
Jake Trotter (4:02 PM)
Nothing new. Broyles via Twitter seems to be in good spirits. I know they had a get together with his family and friends last night. Broyles will probably wait a couple weeks, then have surgery and get ready for the draft.
Brent Venebles (Norman)
Why don't I realize when I sit back in coverage and refuse to bring pressure we struggle. My philosophy ended a home winning streak that took six years to build and made a bad Taco Tech team look like world beaters. When will I learn?
Jake Trotter (4:06 PM)
Brent, glad to hear you're a fan of the chat. Don't be too hard on yourself. The whole team struggled that game. The offense only had 7 points (against Tech for crying out loud) through two quarters. Agreed that was a clunker. But you had been getting pressure before that game with just your front four. You also called some gems against Texas, Florida State and Texas A&M with that game plan.
Does Justin McCay get a chance or do you expect to see some of Kameel Jackson?
Jake Trotter (4:09 PM)
I don't see Justin McCay becoming a factor this season, and he has his work cut out to break into the rotation next year with all the talent coming in.I really see Norvell rolling with Stills, Miller, Jaz and Franks, and using Kameel if any of the four get banged up.
Kevin (San Diego)
Last year the OU offensive ran the diamond formation to much success showing it could operate a number of run and pass options from the formation. This year the diamond does not seem to be a part of OU's offense. Why not?
Jake Trotter (4:11 PM)
Good question, Kevin. I think it basically comes down to what Josh Heupel feels comfortable with and what he doesn't. Heupel feels better about going with 4 and 5 wides and spreading the ball out vs. loading up the backfield. The Sooners could break it out vs. Oklahoma State. But with Whaley done for the year, I don't see it.
what are you hearing on Broyles draft stock after coming back for his senior year? Any improvement or still the 3rd round range?
Jake Trotter (4:12 PM)
I believe he received a 2nd round grade last year when he contemplated leaving early. I don't know how this injury will affect his stock, but 3rd round would be a decent guess.
Rob B (Yukon, OK)
Interested in how well the "Belldozer" is working. In regular goal line formations we have had many busts this year by lineman, but we haven't had any when we run Bell. I know having a couple of fullbacks helps alot and Shead has had several excellent blocks pulling from the back side. What are your thoughts?
Jake Trotter (4:14 PM)
One guess is that there isn't much audibling going on in the Belldozer, so the linemen are just having to worry about blocking ahead. The Belldozer appears to be this year's version of the Diamond set, and it's going to be a plus set down the stretch.
Ryan (Norman, OK)
Do you think we'll see Brennan Clay get more carries against Baylor since he is apparently healthy now? I was surprised he only had one carry against A&M especially after we were told he had healed up. He's had a bit of a disappointing season so far, but I'm rooting for him and want to see him succeed on the field. I also cringe every time Roy Finch gets hit hard and it'd be nice to get another RB some carries to take the load off him in my opinion.
What's the deal with Brennan Clay? is he hurt or is he just not playing because finch and williams are ahead of him on the depth chart?
Jake Trotter (4:16 PM)
Brennan is not yet 100 percent, but he is healthy enough to play. Seems like the coaching staff has moved on from him, because of all the injuries. But Brennan is a sharp kid and a good locker room guy. I would find a way to get him more involved, even though Finch is clearly the best option at running back.
Mack Brown (Austin)
Hey, Bob, any advice on how to beat Texas Tech? Oh, wait. Nevermind.
Jake Trotter (4:16 PM)
Do you think Oklahoma can still find a way to get into the National Championship game?
If LSU wins out and OU, Bama, and Oregon finish as the one loss teams with a chance to be #2 do you think OU has any edge with poll voters since they would be the only opponent that wouldn't be a rematch with LSU?
Whats the chance we still make it to the championship?
Jon (Taos, NM)
What are the chances of OU in a NC game? If we win out I guess we would need Stanford and maybe LSU to loose a game?
Jake Trotter (4:19 PM)
Stanford and Alabama have to lose, and OU has to win out. If those three things happen, I think the Sooners sneak into the title game. What are the chances? Well, I think OU has roughly about a 40 percent chance of winning out. Alabama has about an 80 percent chance of winning out. And Stanford has about a 40 percent chance of winning out. If you go by those percentages, OU has about a 5 percent chance of making it to the title game. Alabama is a real problem.
If OU wins out and gets left out of the championship game, are they gonna get stuck playing another big east team like last year?
Jake Trotter (4:20 PM)
Fiesta Bowl vs. either Boise State or Oregon or Stanford.
Drake Plotter (Malaysia)
With Alabama only dropping to #3 in the BCS standings, what does that do for Oklahoma's chances of making the BCS Championship?
Jake Trotter (4:21 PM)
OU really, really needs Auburn to knock off the Tide in the season finale.
Any chance OU jumps a one loss Alabama?
Jake Trotter (4:21 PM)
Small chance. Alabama is so far ahead. Not sure a win over Oklahoma State will be enough. Could be. But doubtful.
What is your opinion on how much the loss of Broyles will affect the team's performance moving forward? Stills and Jaz Reynolds are phenomenal, but Landry Jones can get shaky on occasion. Do you think not having go-to Broyles on the field might make these "episodes" worse?
Without Broyles, does the offensive gameplan change any? More run?
Jake Trotter (4:23 PM)
A lot of touches that were going to Broyles before will be going to others. Who? Finch has to pick up the slack, which he did glowingly against Texas A&M. Jaz Reynolds is going to have to be a bigger factor. Then others like Trey Franks and Dejuan Miller have to contribute. Both have had moments, but they'll need to be consistent.
If OU were fortunate enough to make the big bowl against LSU, what is the better unit against its competition, the OU offense against the LSU defense or the LSU offense against the OU defense?
Jake Trotter (4:25 PM)
I'd rank 'em like this: 1. LSU Defense, 2. OU Offense, 3. OU Defense, 4. LSU Offense. But with Broyles out, the gap between 1 and 2 is wide.
Any chance they'll be a little more careful with Roy Finch? Between the returns, receptions and carries, they're liable to break him in half, especially with OU's recent luck.
Jake Trotter (4:26 PM)
With Broyles and Whaley out, the Sooners really can't afford to lose Finch, too. They're going to have to balance utilizing him against overworking him. I doubt we'll see Finch involved much with special teams, and either Clay or Williams have to get going so that one of the two can give Finch a breather. The Belldozer is another way to get Finch off the field if they need to.
Does the 5 or 6 injuries and the whole weather thing have any effect at all on the bcs standings?
Jake Trotter (4:28 PM)
Two thirds of the BCS is comprised of people. And some people might hold the Broyles injury against the Sooners when putting their ballots together. Nobody is concerned with the weather and the other injuries. Everyone has injuries this time of year. Just not always to their star players.
Jake, although they occurred when the games were in question, do you think the injuries to Whaley and Broyles will finally convince Stoops to sit starters earlier when the game is out of hand. I know starters play in games after hours of practice but.....
Jake Trotter (4:29 PM)
No, I don't think that's going to change anything. Stoops and Venables like to play their starters. Since Broyles' injury happened in the third quarter, I don't expect them to think twice about pulling their starters earlier.
Do see Landry Jones coming back for a final season to pursue a National Championship or does he enter the draft this year?
Jake Trotter (4:30 PM)
I think he's leaning toward coming back. But I'm sure that's a decision he'll make after the season when his film review comes back and he has more information about where he might get drafted.
Nathan (Lakeland, FL)
Should OU beat OSU, do you see both of them making a BCS bowl?
Jake Trotter (4:31 PM)
Yes. OU to the Fiesta, OSU to the Sugar.
If OU wins out and Stanford losses, there is no way OU doesn't go to the Nat'l championship game. There will not be a Bama rematch....especially when OU drills OSU.
If OU were to beat OSU pretty handily, would OU pass Bama in the polls?
Jake Trotter (4:32 PM)
The only chance OU has is to blow out OSU in Stillwater. Do you really see that happening? I can see OU winning. I can't see them blowing OSU out.
How do you see Bedlam playing out?
Jake Trotter (4:33 PM)
Let me see how the OU offense responds without Broyles. I'll have a better feel then.
Erick (Weatherford, OK)
If OU, Bama, and Oregon all win out and have 1 loss to finish the season, who in your opinion would get the nod in the BCS rankings considering OU's loss is by far the worst?
Jake Trotter (4:33 PM)
1. Bama, 2. OU, 3. Oregon.
I think you are off Jake, I think with the push OU got from the computers this week to #4 with our schedule ahead I think that OU will jump Bama, but we still need Stanford to lose...
Jake Trotter (4:34 PM)
I could be wrong. But right now, I think the odds are with Bama remaining ahead.
When does he playoff start?
Jake Trotter (4:34 PM)
Richard (Oklahoma City)
I see OSU and Stanford have won 10 and 9 straight road games, respectively. Surprising, OU has won 8 straight away from Norman, the second longest streak of Stoops' time in Norman. Any idea why we aren't hearing about the Sooners as a good road team?
Jake Trotter (4:35 PM)
Fair point, especially when you consider OU's win in Stillwater last season. The Florida State/K-State wins were strong. If OU goes up to Stillwater and wins again, you'll hear plenty about it.
Do you think our receiving corps will be able to step up in the absence of Broyles? Or do you think our play-calling will be significantly impacted without him? There is certainly a lot of talent out there, but dropped passes (particularly on third down) are starting to drive me crazy.
Jake Trotter (4:37 PM)
It's a major concern. Stills and Reynolds are good players, but without Broyles, they're going to face more coverage. How will they respond? The play calling has to change. You can't just replace an All-American with somebody off the bench.
You have to think of this also, Bama plays a OOC game that will hurt their SOS plus they wont play Dec 3rd...
Jake Trotter (4:38 PM)
Very good point. The move of Bedlam to Dec. 3 could really end up helping the Sooners. OU has to win, and win emphatically. Do that, and who knows?
Is OU basketball going to be awful or just bad this year, or do they have a chance to be average?
Jake Trotter (4:39 PM)
Chance to be an NIT team. They're not very talented, but Kruger will have them playing hard and sound ball.
Even with all the production on Saturday with A.M., the tight ends were once again a non factor in the receiving plays. Whats you take of change in play calling?
Jake Trotter (4:41 PM)
Spoke with someone last week affiliated with the OSU program, who told me that the Cowboys feel like the missing element with their offense is having somebody like James Hanna. He's someone that's got to get more involved with Broyles out. I'd line him up in the slot.
It seemed like they went with Ikard most of the game with only a few appearances by Ben Habern. Whats the scoop?
Jake Trotter (4:42 PM)
Habern is not in game shape. That was evident. He needs more time in practice. The open week should help.
Does the production of the Belldozer move him in front of Allen on the depth cart for now and the future? Or is this just a package?
Jake Trotter (4:43 PM)
It doesn't move him up the depth chart. It does give him the leg up in the QB derby to replace LJ.
If I'm not mistaken there were supposed to be quite a few solid recruits making their visit the A&M game. Can you confirm if Mario Edwards is still looking at OU and if he made the trip this past weekend?
Jake Trotter (4:44 PM)
Mario stayed home over the weekend, and didn't make any visits. He's still looking at OU, though, along with LSU and Florida State, where he technically remains verbally committed.
Jake Trotter (4:46 PM)
Guys, that's all the time we have for the chat. Appreciate all the questions. We'll do it again next week, same time, same place. If you didn't get a question in, send it to the SoonerNation mailbag and I'll have an answer Friday morning. Have a great week.