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SPORTS: University of Oklahoma

Oklahoma Offense Has Great Chance To Get On Track Against Cyclones

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NORMAN, Oklahoma -

Thursday night in Waco, the Oklahoma Sooners' offense was unable to do anything well. It was quite possibly one of the worst offensive performances in the Bob Stoops era.

The Sooners have struggled all year to get consistent play from the quarterback position, but against Baylor, the Sooners were unable to even get the run game going, something they've been able to do with success this season.

Now, saddled with two losses, the Sooners are left playing for pride in an attempt to finish the regular season with 10 wins. It's something that's attainable, but not with performances like Thursday night.

"That is probably the most frustrating performance we've had since I have played here," OU center Gabe Ikard said Monday. "Just knowing all the opportunities we had in the first half and how well the defense played, to not put something together and get points on the board was extremely frustrating."

Coach Bob Stoops has been very firm in his stance that Blake Bell is Oklahoma's quarterback. On Monday, he said he wasn't going to make "wholesale changes" at the position, which, for most people, refers to inserting Kendal Thompson at quarterback to see what he is able to do.

"Kendal has done an awesome job; we love what he's doing," Stoops said. "He's got a bright future. It's hard to overcome the initial way that he started. It's no one's fault that he was injured and he missed 40 practices to start the year. Are we going to go and experiment now? I don't think that's the case. He's doing everything. He's a wonderful young man with a bright future, and he's a talented guy."

Thursday night was the first game the Sooners played without fullback Trey Millard, who was lost for the year against Texas Tech. Stoops said Aaron Ripkowski played very well in his place, while tight end Brannon Green played, "OK." However, Ikard refused to use Millard's absence as an excuse.

"He is a great player but we had things on Thursday night that Trey couldn't have helped us with," Ikard said. "In some of those short-yard spots and all the things he does on special teams, stuff like that, we missed Trey out there but that is no excuse for the way we played on the offensive side of the football."

If there was ever a perfect opportunity for Oklahoma to regain some confidence in their offense, it would be Saturday against Iowa State. Despite Thursday's lackluster showing, the Sooners are still averaging 217.7 yards per game on the ground, good for 21st in the country. Meanwhile, Iowa State has been abysmal stopping the run this year, ranking 102nd in the country by allowing 209.4 yards per game. Two weeks ago against Oklahoma State, the Cyclones gave up 342 yards on the ground.

The Sooners shouldn't have to throw the ball very much against Iowa State, but if they do, it will be Bell throwing the ball and Stoops expects it to be better than last week.

"We could've executed our passing game better last week," Stoops said. "There were plays and routes that were open and we've got to be able to hit them. We've got to be able to throw it more accurate in some instances. But, the other night we needed to be able to run the football better than we did and find ways to get them off us in the way they were defending the run game, but that gets back to us being able to throw the football."

The Sooners have shown flashes of quality play on offense, but their two losses this season have been the worst offensive showings in quite some time. The defense has performed well, but it can only continue to do so with some help from the offense. If the Sooners can't find consistency—the good kind—it could be a long last three weeks of the season.

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