MOORE — Oklahoma offensive coordinator Josh Heupel has been severely scrutinized as a play-caller this season with the attention intensifying after the losses to Texas and Baylor.
Sooner coach Bob Stoops didn’t exactly give Heupel a pat on the back Monday.
“Whether it is or not, it isn’t something I’m going to acknowledge publicly,” he said when asked if the play calling was a problem. “That’s something we’ll work through in the office with the other coaches. It’s always fair to say there’s blame to go around for everybody, but also sometimes when you’re getting beat up front it doesn’t matter what you call. You’re going to be an ugly play-caller when the defense is playing a lot better than you.”
That might have been the case against Baylor, but many are questioning an offense that’s on pace to average less than 30 points a game for the first time since 2005 and is averaging just 21.6 per game in conference play and has scored two offensive touchdowns or less in three of those games.
“We’ve talked about a lot and there’s a lot we’ll work on this week in practice. But that’s all I’ll say about it,” Stoops said.
Tapper suspended for a half: OU defensive end Charles Tapper will serve a conference-mandated suspension in the first half of Saturday’s game against Iowa State.
Tapper was ejected in the fourth quarter of the Baylor game.
“It shouldn’t happen regardless,” Stoops said. “It’s got no business being part of the game.”
OU has rotated Chuka Ndulue, Geneo Grissom and Tapper at the two defensive end spots all season. Tapper’s absence in the first half means freshman Matt Dimon will be the third man in.
Injury update: The Sooners sustained several injuries in the Baylor game. Cornerback Aaron Colvin, nickelback Gabe Lynn, wide receiver Sterling Shepard, running back Keith Ford and linebacker Jordan Evans were all knocked out of the game due to injuries.
The only one Stoops was ready to give an update on Monday was Lynn. Stoops said he would return to practice this week. The rest are questionable for Saturday’s game against Iowa State.
Remember the sneak?: OU quarterback Blake Bell has not been effective as a short-yardage runner this season. One thing OU hasn’t tried all season is a quarterback sneak from under center. Stoops said that’s probably been a mistake.
“It’s because we haven’t been under center as much as anything,” he said. “But I have always been an advocate of it. It’s something you probably need to have.”
Ikard named Wuerffel Trophy finalist: OU center Gabe Ikard is one of eight finalists for the 2013 Wuerffel Trophy presented by the All Sports Association, Inc., in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. The Wuerffel Trophy annually honors the college football player who best combines exemplary community service with outstanding academic and athletic achievement.
Ikard is a senior co-captain who has started in 46 games, including every one this season. Named a National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Award recipient and a finalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, Ikard was also named a midseason All-American by USA Today, Sports Illustrated and CBSSports.com.
Ikard is also a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award. Fans are encouraged to vote at seniorCLASSaward.com through Dec. 16 at http://www.seniorclassaward.com/vote/football_2013/.