|No. 1 Sooners are their own worst critic|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 09 October 2008 09:08|
Better than the 49.6 points they're averaging. Better than the fourth-best passing offense, the fifth-best overall offense and the 11th-best total defense.
And most importantly, finish better than they did last season.
``We know we can be good, but what do we have to do to be better than last year? I don't think we're going to be satisfied with anything,'' receiver Juaquin Iglesias said. ``Still now with some of the numbers we've put up, we know we can be a lot better. Ten times better. We're not settling for anything.
``We know, as many games as we're winning right now, it's at the end when it counts.''
Last season, a 4-0 start moved them up to No. 3 in the AP poll, they promptly were upset by Colorado. Their next visit to No. 3? Another upset in a defensive meltdown at Texas Tech in which quarterback Sam Bradford go down with an injury. And then, after they knocked off No. 1 Missouri to win the Big 12 title, came the 48-28 Fiesta Bowl loss to West Virginia.
The result was a change of attitude in the offseason.
``I really don't think it's something that anyone said. I think it's just people took it upon themselves, tired of losing two or three games a year,'' Bradford said.
That's been the case the past two years for the Sooners. Before last season, it was the onside kick debacle at Oregon and a Red River Rivalry loss to Texas that spoiled a promising 2006 season.
But heading into the meeting with No. 5 Texas (5-0, 1-0) this year has a different feel for coach Bob Stoops - although he's been hesitant to heap the kind of praise on this team that he did only days before the Colorado upset last September.
``I think there is more guys that want more of their play, expect more of theirself and are more demanding than maybe in some other years,'' Stoops said.
Case in point: After throwing for five touchdowns and a career-high 395 yards in another 50-plus point showing, Bradford spent parts of the Cincinnati postgame breaking down how the Sooners wasted opportunities by getting in their own way with turnovers and other mistakes.
of the reasons that we've been successful so far, is because people are hard on themselves.
``I think everyone wants to play well and when you don't play well, you can't listen to other people tell you why. It comes from you. You've got to change it. No one else can change the way you play.''
Bradford thinks the Sooners' critical nature is directly linked to last year's ups and downs. The good times let players know just how well they can play, and the hard times showed how fragile that success can be.
Perhaps that's why they've shown so little interest in any talk about being the No. 1 team in the country at this point in the season.
``To us, it doesn't mean anything and everybody feels like that on this team,'' Iglesias said. 'We could be No. 1 right now until the last game of the season and lose, and then it doesn't mean anything.
``We want it to be at the end when we're No. 1.''
That makes this week's showdown with the Longhorns just another step down the path toward the Sooners' ultimate goal.
``After this game, if we do come out with the win, I don't think anybody's going to crown us the champion then,'' defensive end Auston English said. ``I think it's something that's going to be week to week that we have to continue to build on.''