Oklahoma- a comparison to in state talent and offenses

Submitted by UMxWolverines on December 30th, 2018 at 2:30 PM

Oklahoma as a state similar to Michigan doesn't produce much in state talent compared to it's neighbor Texas. They have one single player from the state of Oklahoma for 2019.

However, Oklahoma has had much more success as a program than Texas since the 1970s starting with Barry Switzer. Michigan fans always blame the lack of in state talent for not being as good as OSU. 

What has been Oklahoma's key? Offense. They ran the wishbone to perfection under Switzer, and won multiple national titles. Meanwhile we were losing Rose Bowls 13-12, lost the Sugar Bowl to Auburn 9-7. Even lost to Oklahoma 14-6 in the Orange Bowl.

They've  played in a half dozen national title and playoff games since Bob Stoops and Lincoln Riley have brought in their pass first wide open attack also. Meanwhile we were stumbling to 3 loss seasons every year under Lloyd after 1997...and still are.

They haven't out recruited us lately either, they're one spot ahead of us right now, but they're usually at about the 10-12 range, so you can't blame that. 

Why have we as a program been so afraid of opening up our offense like them? We have one national title in 70 years, we just lost our 26th bowl game yesterday. Why do we for some reason think football has to be played a certain way, 3 losses per year be damned? Why do we not actually strive for really being the best? 



December 30th, 2018 at 2:59 PM ^

That's probably fair, but if we're going to play that game "early season" Texas lost to Maryland and then improved, going on to beat their more talented rival - something Michigan is 100% incapable of doing, so Kudos to them. 

I expect that Texas will be better than Michigan pretty quickly. 


December 30th, 2018 at 2:54 PM ^

We lost to OSU by 23 who lost to Purdue by 29 who lost to Auburn by 49. Auburn is thus 101 points better than us, per the transitive property of football.  


Shit happens and you have to look at the whole season in context. The champion of the B1G got run off of the field by Purdue which is certainly a worse loss than Oklahoma losing a close game to Texas. You can be a pretty good team and lose a game you shouldn't. 


Also, considering OSU struggled a bit with a mediocre TCU team and beat no one OOC, we lost to ND and Florida, PSU barely beat Appalachian State, WI lost at home to BYU, MSU lost to ASU, NW lost to Duke & Akron, and Purdue lost to EMU & Missouri there are a lot of data points that suggest the B1G is nothing to write home about this year. 


December 30th, 2018 at 2:44 PM ^

Oklahoma doesn't have much talent but DFW is just as close to Norman as to Austin and the amount of talent coming out of Texas is enough to support multiple top programs. The state of Texas has 45 4-stars and 18 top 100 players this year. So geographically I think they are better off than us but it also helps that their primary competitor in Texas has struggled a bit whereas OSU has not in a long-time. 


December 30th, 2018 at 5:31 PM ^

Kind of like what 'Bama is now? Even Saban is on the "we need an explosive offense" train and he was as old school (almost) as they came! Meanwhile UM is struggling to get plays in on time and not throwing to our talented WR's even though that was the only way they moved ball at all yesterday!

Just... what the shit, ya know? What the shit is going on with the program?


December 30th, 2018 at 6:32 PM ^

Michigan hired Dan Enos, or almost did.  He's at Alabama now. 

After watching Alabama last night, it seems like Michigan has personnel similar to Alabama.  Michigan did install some RPO, which Alabama ran a lot last night.  Alabama ran a lot of pick routes and clear outs and then threw flares to their RB's.  They also ran plenty of 12 personnel.  


December 31st, 2018 at 12:51 AM ^

But offensive and defensive philosophies require being complementary, to some degree. 

In order to play the high risk/high reward Don Brown likes to play, he is very public about the fact that it works optimally on a low total amount of snaps on defense--being well-rested, so the defense can play at top speed. To ensure this, you need an offense that controls the ball for a longer time, therefore the focus on TOP, slow tempo on the offense. Unless you are certain of scoring touchdowns nearly every time, speeding up the tempo of offensive possessions (and throwing more) means putting the defense on the field more. 


December 30th, 2018 at 2:46 PM ^

Great post OP, makes a lot of salient points.

We should be better then boomer sooner for many reasons and yes our conference is tougher but we should have as much national success.

Durham Blue

December 30th, 2018 at 2:48 PM ^

Credit to Gary Moeller for making Michigan "quarterback U" in the early 90's.  Then Lloyd extended it to the mid-2000's.  The program fell off a cliff from 2008 to 2014.  Now JH is restoring what appears to be more of a Bo style offense than a Moeller/Carr offense.  But the jury is still out.  I think JH is a smart football guy and will come of age on the offense.  His QB recruiting suggests as much.  We have DCaff and Milton, both of whom can throw it (with more velocity than Patterson) and they run it just as well as Patterson.  The offensive scheme needs to catch up with the talent that we have.

And Michigan recruits nationally as well as any blue chip program besides maybe ND and Alabama.


December 30th, 2018 at 6:02 PM ^

Sorry, the Jury is not out . Harbaugh is trying to push a square peg in a round hole . I have read many articles from many different writers who all see it . Plus seeing it myself from watching the games . Harbaugh is not willing to adapt . He seems to believe the key to winning is running the ball .   You can pass to set up the run. You dont always have to run to set up the pass .  


December 30th, 2018 at 6:24 PM ^

Lloyd Carr's offense was a run first PA scheme.  It was anything but wide open. The only game that I recall Carr being creative was the spread to pass game against Florida, the last game of his career.  He had Breaston, Avant and Edwards and still ran his way to 28 points per game.

In the 2007 Rose Bowl against USC, the score was 3-3 at the half.  Lloyd stated that they needed to establish the running game in the 2nd half.  Meanwhile, USC knew they couldn't run, so they passed their way to a 32-18 win.


December 30th, 2018 at 2:53 PM ^

I wonder how well a spread to pass offense would work in the north during late October/November when it gets cold, gusty, and rain/snowy.


I know Oklahoma is prone to bad weather too, but the Great Lakes to me are much worse


December 30th, 2018 at 3:24 PM ^

Well Ohio State went 12-1 and won the conference Championship with a passing spread so I think Michigan would be fine. Weather was not a factor. People act like it's Iceland or Alaska and there's 15 inches of snow on the ground in October and November it's 30° big whoop.


December 30th, 2018 at 2:55 PM ^

Innovation and Michigan are synonymous with one another.  Unfortunately our football program didnt get the memo.  You would think that Harbaugh would see the radical changes that our Basketball program made, and maybe realize that change isn't always a bad thing.  


December 30th, 2018 at 3:20 PM ^

The last time we had a truly innovative football program was in Crisler's final years. The single-wing itself wasn't unique, but the extent and amount of ball-handling deception that the '47 team employed was unequaled by any other program in the country at that time.


December 30th, 2018 at 3:00 PM ^

The Big XII is worse top-to-bottom than the Big 10.  Oklahoma played exactly 4 teams (Texas 2X, Texas Tech, WVU) in the top 50 of S&P+ before Alabama, with the highest-rated being WVU at 20; Michigan played 5 teams, including the #6, #7, and #11 teams, before Florida.  

Oklahoma's offense is spectacular and covers up for a lot of sins, but their defense is bad, has been bad for a while now, and while it should get better with a Stoops in charge it isn't going to be improved overnight.

Michigan needs to play a better brand of offensive football.  That's not open for debate.  But as a team Michigan is absolutely on the same level as anyone not named Clemson, Alabama, and probably Georgia.


December 30th, 2018 at 7:01 PM ^

You are correct generally, though the past three years it definitely felt like Michigan was closer than people gave them credit.  OSU this year was not that good; we remember the last two games, but it's also the tram that got blown out by a 6-7 Purdue team and nearly lost to Maryland and PSU.  

The Pharaoh of Filth

December 30th, 2018 at 6:03 PM ^

"Michigan needs to play a better brand of offensive football.  That's not open for debate.  But as a team Michigan is absolutely on the same level as anyone not named Clemson, Alabama, and probably Georgia."

The delusion continues. Michigan was outclassed in its three Big Games losses. OUT-classed. Didn't belong on the same field in the last two.

Saying Michigan is in the same class as everyone but the three you mentioned is out of whack. Even historically--over the last 40 years, not even close. Nebraska and Oklahoma have each won five or six NC's; Florida State three and played for many more. Miami Fla--multiples (five?). Georgia Tech and Colorado have won as many as Michigan (1/2).

I mean, over the last decade Michigan isn't worthy of any designation other than "struggling"--and over the last 40-50 years--merely above average.

The OP's point about Oklahoma being better than Michigan is valid as hell--and the question is why should it be that way? I don't think it should.

But it is. Badly.


December 30th, 2018 at 11:27 PM ^

Michigan led at halftime against Florida and basically had the same number of yards, so while it came apart at the end the idea that Michigan was "OUT-classed" in that game from the jump is not true.  Plus, Michigan was legitimately down half their usual defense by halftime.

OSU beat the pants off Michigan this year, but watching the two teams this year it's hard to argue that Michigan was demonstrably worse than OSU to that degree.  Yes, head-to-head matchup matters, but OSU also got destroyed by Purdue, nearly lost to Maryland the week before, and looked worse against most of their common opponents.  If OSU saved up their best performance of the year for Michigan then so be it, but it cost them a shot at the national title in the process.  And for the past couple of years, Michigan looked absolutely equal to OSU and a couple of bounces the other way would have changed this narrative.

Michigan lost by 7, on the road, to ND despite starting a new QB and having a lot of new starters on the offensive line.  They looked perfectly fine; point to me the immense evidence they were out-classed.

I'm not going to get into a national title debate as a proxy for the relative greatness of programs.  It's a discussion that leads to people arguing over whether or not Colorado, a team that has finished the season ranked exactly once in the past 15 years is as good as Michigan because the won a national title in 1990.

Michigan has been one of the best teams in college football for decades.  They aren't the best by any means, but right now there is Alabama, Clemson, and maybe Georgia and then a ton of teams bundled beneath them, which includes Michigan.  You can put in OSU ahead of them and I wouldn't quibble.  But every team has years of struggle, many of them far worse than Michigan's run, and still emerged.  Go look at Oklahoma after Switzer left and Stoops came in.  That's a rougher go than Michigan ever experienced.

Michigan does and (I assume) will get better.  There will be changes at the staff level.  But this is still a team that is in the upper tier of college football, and maybe that means top-10 or top-15.  But I don't believe that a fully-functioning Florida, LSU, Auburn, Texas, USC, ND, etc. is demonstrably better or worse than Michigan.


December 30th, 2018 at 3:06 PM ^

In this scheme Kyler Murray would similar passing stats to Shea and more rushing yards. Still nowhere near the Heisman numbers he put up at Oklahoma.


December 30th, 2018 at 3:07 PM ^

Why do we not actually strive for really being the best? 

I don't know that it is this so much as we have this uncanny ability, even under Harbaugh, to put square pegs in round holes. The talent is there, I believe, but the insistence on a scheme which is demonstrably deficient against quality competition is what I cannot get my mind around. I honestly believe that they are trying to be the best, but there needs to be a serious look at how exactly we're going about that because clearly we are not. 


December 30th, 2018 at 3:25 PM ^

"we have this uncanny ability, even under Harbaugh, to put square pegs in round holes."

This is a hallmark of coaches who simply aren't that bright, and are stubborn to boot. It's a lethal combination against top-level opposition coaches, and not in a good way.

For chrissakes, after four years we can't even run a two-minute/hurry-up offense when the game is in dire circumstances. That's just dumb.


December 30th, 2018 at 3:48 PM ^

No ability to run 2 or 4 minute offenses and we very seldom play with tempo. And last 2 games have shown we lack urgency when score and time dictate we play quickly. I have to think that the offensive play calling by committee is a key root cause for those issues and our slogging approach to offense in general.

Chitown Kev

December 30th, 2018 at 3:18 PM ^

Yes, Switzer's Sooner teams ran the wishbone to near perfection but his championship teams had great defenses...and Stoops best teams had great defenses as well.