Drake Stoops weighs in on Oklahoma’s doomed final Bedlam play

Drake Stoops weighs in on Oklahoma’s doomed final Bedlam play

Guerin Emig: Drake Stoops came up short on Bedlam’s final play, but not on details explaining it.

Guerin Emig

By Guerin Emig

| Nov 8, 2023, 11:17am CST

Guerin Emig

By Guerin Emig

Nov 8, 2023, 11:17am CST

NORMAN — It shouldn’t be surprising to hear Drake Stoops, son of a coach you may have heard of, detail Oklahoma’s doomed final Bedlam play better than anyone has since Stoops’ 3-yard catch on fourth-and-5 signaled OSU’s 27-24 victory. 

He was asked about the play Monday during his media session, specifically about whether any timing was off. 

It’s a lot,” Stoops told reporters.

A fitting beginning to his answer. It was a lot. 

“I ran probably about a three-and-a-half-yard route,” Stoops continued, “and I had to come back a little friendly to the quarterback because I could feel the guy driving on me.”

The guy driving on him was Dylan Smith. He was the OSU safety covering Stoops on the play, and who would make the tackle to end the game. 

Dylan Smith took Stoops, who was lined up in the slot left in OU’s formation. Cornerback Kale Smith took Nic Anderson, the receiver lined up wide left. 

Cornerback Korie Black took Jalil Farooq, the receiver lined up wide right. Black was a lot tighter on Farooq than the Smiths were on their receivers, on the chance Dillon Gabriel was targeting Farooq on a slant, something he had done earlier in the game. 

Instead, Gabriel rolled left toward Stoops and Anderson. 

“It’s really just a rub route,” Stoops continued Monday night. 

Meaning, Anderson is supposed to “rub” the corner covering Stoops off of Stoops after releasing at the snap. 

The problem was Dylan Smith lined up six yards off Stoops, a yard behind the first down marker even, and Kale Smith lined up three yards off Anderson. The defensive backs’ positioning set up Kale Smith’s early interference on Anderson, ironic since he was the one who was supposed to be interfering, and therefore an easier route to Stoops for Dylan Smith. 

Applaud not just the Smiths’ execution, but the preparation by OSU secondary coaches Tim Duffie and Dan Hammerschmidt, not to mention defensive coordinator Bryan Nardo. 

My guy’s at depth,” Stoops said of Dylan Smith. “The corner (Kale Smith) is pressing. So when inside (Anderson) releases to go rub my guy, the corner washed him down and he has free access to drive over the top.”

Add Kale Smith to the list of unsung OSU heroes from the final Bedlam. 

“What you like to see there is maybe him (Anderson) try and get more vertical after releasing to make him (Dylan Smith) either run around or come underneath,” Stoops continued.

Again, credit Kale Smith for making it difficult for Anderson to get vertical. 

“It’s just good execution by them in high-low like that, and playing a different level so that they can’t get rubbed,” Stoops said. “At the end of the day, I thought it was a good call. That’s a go-to call, one we execute daily and honestly one of my favorite plays in the whole offense because it comes in critical situations like that.”

Stoops wasn’t the only one who thought it was a good call.

Reviewing Dylan Smith’s role in the play Monday, Mike Gundy said: “He plays over the top of the first receiver (Anderson) when most guys run into it. That’s why they run that play. A good football play, a good call for that time. But he plays over the top.”

Brent Venables has bounced from saying postgame Saturday: “We had the play we wanted and the coverage that we wanted” to saying Monday on his coach’s show: “We probably, you know, we got a whole Rolodex of maybe some plays that are better than that play” to shutting down a follow-up question Tuesday about his Rolodex comment. 

OU offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby hasn’t been heard from since postgame when he said of the play: “We liked it. Thought it was going to be man-to-man. Needed to be about a yard deeper. That’s the reality of it. I can put us in a better situation.”

This leaves Stoops as the clearest-speaking Sooner on their fourth-and-5 miss. If he came up short against OSU, he certainly did not while reviewing the play two days later for OU beat reporters. 

“Just didn’t go down like we wanted to,” he said. 

 

 

 

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Guerin Emig is a columnist for the Sellout Crowd network. Read his work at selloutcrowd.com and guerinemig.com. Reach out with feedback and/or ideas at [email protected] or (918) 629-6229. Follow him on Twitter at @GuerinEmig and Instagram at @guerin.emig. .

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