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 (4:03 PM)
Keep sending in your questions. We'll get started in a minute.
Cory (Florida) [via mobile]
So how close are the sooners to signing a deal to come my neck of the woods and play UCF next season. I heard if was in the works. I was just wondering if that is for sure or still just in talks right now.
Jake Trotter (4:06 PM)
There was some preliminary discussion between OU and UCF last month, but AD Joe Castiglione is probably waiting to get a better feel for what the Big 12 schedule might look like before signing any deals with non-conference opponents. The Sooners already have a deal with Notre Dame, so they don't have to worry about signing on with another big-name opponent.
Jake do you think coach Stoops will have advantage given his relationship with coach Ferentz and the Iowa program? What's the status of Frank Alexander?
Jake Trotter (4:07 PM)
Ferentz knows Stoops, too, so I can't imagine it will be a huge advantage either way. Alexander is doing better. The time off should really help his shoulder heal.
Tony Henderson (seattle,washington)
Is there a realistic possibility that Brent Venables will be fired at the end of this season. Given the defensive flameouts in big games(Boise St game, West Virginia game, Missouri the past two seasons, Baylor, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma St this year a change has to be made
Jake Trotter (4:08 PM)
No chance Venables is fired. He may take another job elsewhere. But he's not getting fired.
Jake..very concerned about the state of this team heading forward. We do have the talent IMO.. but the drive and execution is just not there!!! Saw an article at your old gig saying that players on twitter are a distaction and they think they are reality superstars...and I tend to agree with that!!! Too much talking by these current players...what is your opinion??? Also..this was the worst coaching with the best/experience talent in the Stoops era..agree???
Jake Trotter (4:12 PM)
The players have a right to be on social media, but they have to be smarter about some of the things they're tweeting. OU isn't the only place where this is an issue (see Ohio's punter). This was definitely not Stoops' best coaching job. Injuries hurt. But this is the first Stoops team I can recall that got worse over the course of a season.
Do you think OU gets DGB & Mario Edwards?
Jake Trotter (4:13 PM)
They certainly have a chance, and this weekend will be big, with both scheduled to attend the OU banquet in Norman.
Kenneth (New York)
Which team has a better chance of bringing home #8: 2012 Sooners with Landry Jones or 2013 Sooners with Landry not having returned for his senior season?
Jake Trotter (4:15 PM)
2012 with Landry. You're right in that the '13 Sooners will be better off with the new QB gaining experience in '12. But Landry is a proven commodity. The other QBs are not.
What are the chances Dorial Green-Beckham commits to OU? Also, is Trey Metoyer still coming to OU?
Jake Trotter (4:17 PM)
It's hard for me to put a percentage on the chance DGB commits. Let's just say DGB is looking at Arkansas, Texas and OU, and OU is right there in the mix. Trey Metoyer has gone on complete radio silence since coming back from Hargrave. My assumption is that he's been instructed to refrain from talking with anyone in the media. But from everything I hear, he should be good to go to enroll at midsemester.
Whats the possibility of mike stoops returning to ou and how does ou fair in the recruiting of the Missouri wide receiver?
Jake Trotter (4:18 PM)
There's a decent chance Mike comes back, but that won't happen until someone on the staff leaves or is fired. So far that hasn't happened. Lot of DGB questions today.
L. B. (WELLING, OK)
Is the Williams injury cause for concern? Is the amount of community college recruiting targets business as usual or unusual?
Jake Trotter (4:19 PM)
Assuming you mean junior college. All that says is that OU needs help next season in certain spots. Tight end and secondary are two places where OU needs immediate help.
What is the feeling going into the insight bowl? We going to be ready to play or come out flat, like we don't want to be there.
Jake Trotter (4:23 PM)
Too soon to tell. The Sooners were off most of last week, and are taking finals this week. We'll have a better feel for the pulse of the team next week when they get back at it.
KB (Norman, OK)
What are the chances that Landry leaves? And who else might leave for the NFL?
Jake Trotter (4:26 PM)
I get the sense it's more likely Landry stays than leaves, but the latter is still a possibility. Landry and his family are waiting to get back a grade from the NFL draft advisory committee, which will give him a good indication of where he might get drafted. Ronnell Lewis is the most likely of any underclassman to leave early. In fact, I'd be stunned if he reconsidered and returned for his senior year.
Jake...are we actually going to see some competition for QB next season when Landry returns for a final year, or will he automatically get the nod? His meltdown in Stillwater was of an epic proportion and for the first time all season, he should've been pulled. Any chance the position is up for grabs?
Jake Trotter (4:27 PM)
The job is Landry's. Barring something unforeseen happening, Landry is OU's QB if he comes back.
Blaine (Norman, OK)
If OU gets DGB and Mario Edwards and Jones comes back.. Where does OU get ranked preseason in 2012? Top 10 at least i would think.
Jake Trotter (4:28 PM)
Bob Stoops (Norman)
Jake, I don't know how much you pay attention to recruiting but how legit of a shot do we have to get some of these high ranked guys i.e. Green-Beckham
Jake Trotter (4:29 PM)
Very legit shot, coach.
What recruits do we having coming in next year in the qb position? Will Landry be challenged by black bell, drew allen or a newcomer next year for his starting job?
Jake Trotter (4:31 PM)
The only QB coming in is Trevor Knight, who is a dual-threat QB, most likely a redshirt candidate. Landry would have to completely fall apart to lose his job if he came back.
What can OU do to improve their porous defense ?
Jake Trotter (4:33 PM)
For one, expand the number of players you can count on. At a place like OU, one defensive injury shouldn't result in a total meltdown.
Can we expect to see more of Tony Jefferson as a fulltime defensive back next season, his strongsuit, or will we continue to underutilize him as a linebacker or nickel back? Also, we need help at LB with Travis Lewis leaving...Bird, Wort (who needs serious work), and who else lead the way? Signed, Tom Wort's inability to tackle.
Jake Trotter (4:36 PM)
That will depend of what happens with the rest of the secondary. If Aaron Colvin has to go back to CB, I don't know how OU can afford to not play Jefferson at one of the safety spots. But if they do that, they don't have anyone who can play that nickelback spot against the spread attacks of the Big 12. I actually think OU will be solid at LB. Tom Wort was really good when he was healthy (he wasn't the 2H of the season), and Corey Nelson has a ton of potential.
Ryan (Cedar Rapids)
Are you surprised that the Hawks are +16 given their track record in bowl games?
Jake Trotter (4:38 PM)
I doubt Vegas was as concerned with Iowa winning 3 straight bowl games as they were with Iowa losing to Minnesota and Iowa State this season when setting the line.
David (Greensboro, NC)
Do you believe that Mike Stoops is coming back to Norman? What % would you say the chance are? It seems as though he must be a pretty hot commodity if Urban Meyer and Bo Pelini want him on their staff? It looks like OU would be using every card they could play to get him in Soonerville?
Jake Trotter (4:41 PM)
There are too many factors at work for me to place a percentage on it. Let's just say there is a pretty good chance, considering OU doesn't have a job to offer him at the moment. But if an opening pops up, I would raise that percentage dramatically. That will be the first sign something might be going down. Until then, this is all conjecture.
Jake...thanks for your answer on T Jefferson and company. I largely agree, except that Wort was "really good"....but that's another conversation. Another question, I'm not sure anyone expected the breakout season had by Frank Alexander. Who do you expect to stepup on the D-Line in 2012?
Jake Trotter (4:43 PM)
Wort was not the same player after Texas that he was before. Remember, though, he was OU's best defensive player in that win over Florida State. Injuries really slowed him down. The Sooners really need RJ Washington to live up to some of his recruiting hype. He finally turned a corner this season. They won't be Ronnell and Frank, but Washington and David King have a chance to be solid.
Christopher (Kalamazoo, MI)
Jake, what is Roy Finch's status for the bowl game after his arrest this weekend? Will Bob suspend him?
Jake Trotter (4:45 PM)
Depends on the circumstances surrounding the vandalism complaint. Finch wasn't arrested, though. He was cited, and allowed to do a sign and release. Either way, Brennan Clay better be ready to play this bowl game. Amazing the Sooners are down to 1-2 running backs, after they started the season with 6.
Steve B (Tulsa)
Do you feel our coaches' policy of benching running backs that fumble is consistent with playing receivers who drop passes or QB that throws INT, LB who misses tackle, etc? I am against fumbling, but I would like to see Brandon Williams play through mistakes and grow rather than go back to doghouse after each error.
Jake Trotter (4:49 PM)
OU's policy with RBs that fumble is no different than anyone else's. Joseph Randle, an All-Big 12 RB, got benched at Iowa State after he fumbled. And I recall Dejuan Miller getting benched in Bedlam for a couple of dropped passes (though he was hardly the only WR who dropped balls the final three games of the season). I would like to see BW get more chances, too. But it's on him to show he can take care of the ball.
Is the complexity of the schemes being used, a reason as to why the backups arent always ready when thrust into action?
Jake Trotter (4:49 PM)
Yes, a big reason. I think that's why you might see OU try to simplify the defense before next season.
Finally, a few columnists have pointed out the needed improvement in special teams play. With Honeycutt providing a solid placekicker, when can we expect to start seeing serious efforts to block punts or field goals? I seriously don't remember one single attempt at a blocked punt this season...even when opponents were punting from their own endzone. Please tell me I'm not the only one that's noticed our neutered approach to not-so-special teams.
Jake Trotter (4:53 PM)
The mismatch on special teams was palpable in Bedlam, and OSU didn't even return a kick for a touchdown this time around. Mike Gundy said afterward that he thought OSU could be aggressive against the Sooners in special teams, and you saw that early on when the Cowboys went for a couple of blocked punts. Hunnicutt has solved OU's placekicking problems, but the return teams are still mediocre. This is an area the Sooners will continued to be exploited in until they make drastic improvement.
Mike Stoops (Headed to Norman)
Jake, please let the bloggers know that I will be back on staff in the spring. Willie Martinez will not be returning, and Venebles will be demoted to just LB coach. My question is, does my brother need to hire Mangino back as well?
Jake Trotter (4:53 PM)
I'll pass along to the head coach.
Arlando (Bakken Oil Fields, ND)
Jake, miss reading you in your gig, anyhow, after this season do you see the Sooner going away from the Leach TTU 2.0 spread and the "hurry up" (or the meerkat as its known in some circles) into a more power oriented/pro-set attack next season?
Jake Trotter (4:54 PM)
Depends on whether Landry returns. If he does, I don't expect too many changes in the scheme. If he leaves, and Blake Bell is the QB you could see some revamping of the offense to fit his skillset.
Jake - The SEC has become a power, smash mouth conference while Big 12 has become more finesse. Does this breed soft defenses? Seems like OU has become soft. Wondering of this style of play is a factor?
Jake Trotter (4:59 PM)
It's an interesting hypothesis, but there are other factors. When OU decided to go uptempo on offense, they basically conceded that they were going to give up more points defensively (more plays = more points). Most SEC teams don't put that kind of strain on their defenses. The offenses are big time in the Big 12, too. That's another factor.
Jake Trotter (4:59 PM)
Guys, that's all the time we have this week. Thanks for the questions. We'll do it again next Monday, same time, same place.