Mossman Prophecies No. 032
July 2, 2007
A few words of caution... keep spring football and
bold predictions far apart.
And I think that pretty much holds true whether evaluating
individual players or the team as a whole.
On the matter of the latter, the 2007 spring game was
devoid of the following: Malcolm Kelly, Steven Coleman,
Mossis Madu, Phil Loadholt, Ryan Reynolds, Gerald McCoy,
Darien Williams, Matt Clapp and Brandon Walker.
The team that was running around Owen Field for the
Red/White Game was the 2007 Sooners in some part, but
it was not the complete article. Of that group listed
above one is the MVP of the Big 12 Championship game,
four have started for the Sooners and three more could
project that way without much clairvoyance.
Even among the players that were dressed out,
some were limited in what they did simply because the
coaches have enough knowledge of their status that
there is no need to see more.
Then you get the factor that is most often neglected
in evaluating any workout and that’s the revolving
door of substitutions. Of all the facets of a football
team, none takes a bigger hit in something like a spring
game than continuity.
There’s a reason why teams do not play three
quarterbacks in each game and rotate in a new one for
each series. And while the quarterback position is
the one that seems to most impact chemistry, the barrage
of new players in and out for every series on both
sides of the ball has a similar impact.
The temptation for fans, and I count myself among that
group, is to evaluate practice (and that’s all
the spring game is anyway) like a game when in fact
the only resemblance to a game is helmets and yard
The coaches have it right. They evaluate the game within
the game, the nuances, stuff that only they can see
through an eye that has been trained for years. When
a coach watches a play unfold, he watches only the
players he coaches with full knowledge of what they’ve
been taught and the call that is in for that particular
You and I sit there and bust on a corner that got beat
deep when it fact it was a failure in safety rotation
that led to an uncovered receiver.
Uninformed as I am, I have tried to adopt a coach’s
philosophy when watching practice. I try to pick a
player or position and watch it for several consecutive
plays. It’s easy to do that when DeMarco Murray
is juking through a secondary, but it can be even more
educational to do the same thing irrespective of the
Pontification is a lot of fun for sports fan, and there’s
no shortage of it these days between sports talk radio
and the internet. I just think that sometimes a lot
of us are jumping to conclusions when the available
information leaves us short of the knowledge we would
need to do such a thing.
Spring ball, to a point, is fun to watch and it’s
fun to ooh and ah over a specific play or player. In
the end, it’s probably wisest to leave the evaluation
right there and wait for another day, say a game day,
to really form an opinion.
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Kenny Mossman, Associate Athletics Director for
Communications, provides his perspective on Oklahoma
Athletics in his regular column on SoonerSports.com.