John Hoover

Ask Hoover: TU’s missed opportunity, Gundy’s smoothie, OU’s freshmen … and Mrs. Hoover?

Ask Hoover: TU’s missed opportunity, Gundy’s smoothie, OU’s freshmen … and Mrs. Hoover?

Baker Mayfield may get to help in the new search for a coach when Cleveland eventually fires Hue Jackson. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Time again for Ask Hoover, my weekly blog where I answer your college football questions.

On tonight’s Franchise Drive (6-8 p.m. on 107.7 The Franchise in OKC, 107.9 The Franchise in Tulsa, online here (click the listen tab at the top of the page) and on the free Franchise app, we’ll pick the best question and examine it in depth.

Huge week for the Big 12 Conference, and a huge week for both in-state Big 12 teams, with OU starting league play at Iowa State (remember last year’s upset in Norman) and OSU hosting No. 17-ranked Boise State. Tulsa has a big game, too, trying to bounce back at home against former Sooner QB Justice Hansen and the Arkansas State Red Wolves after last week’s missed opportunity in Austin, Texas.

Let’s get to the questions:


Yeah, except for the three missed field goals and two dropped touchdown passes, the Golden Hurricane played very well. Unfortunately, those were scoring plays. You can’t leave points on the board, especially when you go on the road as an underdog. Listen, Texas isn’t back. Texas isn’t any good this season, at all. The Longhorns lack elite big-play personnel, and are not dominant at the line of scrimmage on either side of the ball. Sure, Tulsa may surprise us a bit this season. But also consider the fact that last week might have been the Super Bowl for TU. Only one of the 53 Texans on the TU roster was even recruited by the Longhorns, and there are anti-Texas feelings throughout the Tulsa coaching staff. It’s possible the Golden Hurricane peaked at DKR.

Tulsa quarterback Luke Skipper (13) threw two interceptions but otherwise played well enough to win last week in Austin. (AP Photo/Michael Thomas)


From the Twitch chat (Twitch.TV/TheFranchiseLive): saramhill: What flavor will Gundy’s smoothie be this week?

Win or lose, if Mike Gundy doesn’t come to the postgame presser sucking on another smoothie, it’ll be a huge letdown. And if that smoothie is anything but vodka-flavored, I will have lost my faith in humanity.

Mike Gundy may or may not have a new endorsement deal. (PHOTO: video screen capture)

I firmly believe Lincoln Riley when he says all those guys (Trey Sermon, Marcelias Sutton, Kennedy Brooks and T.J. Pledger) will get a shot. There may still be a tiny smidgen of hope that Pledger can redshirt, but only if one of the other three becomes a steadying force in the backfield. I think that could be Sermon, who had three starts and three 100-yard games as a true freshman last year. But if it’s not Sermon, OU will offer up a committee. Also, expect Kyler Murray to become just a little more involved in the running game.

Oklahoma running back Trey Sermon (4) gets the first shot at replacing injured Rodney Anderson this week as the Sooners open Big 12 play at Iowa State. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)


No rug. My man Gary is 100 percent real.


From Twitch: scott4mayor: #askjohn who will win the Boise State/OSU game, and why or how?

I’ve got the Broncos. They’re historically unfazed by playing a one-off Power 5 school, having won 15 of their last 23 in that situation since 2006 (yes, that includes the Fiesta Bowl against OU). But give me Brett Rypien and a good defense with 10 returning starters over Taylor Cornelius and an unsteady offensive line.

Boise State quarterback Brett Rypien (4) is the most experienced quarterback in college football. The Broncos visit Oklahoma State on Saturday. (AP Photo/Steve Conner)


I wish this Bob Stoops was the same Bob Stoops who coached the Sooners. Seems very cool, relaxed and comfortable in his own skin. Stoops relaxed a bit in his last 2-3 years, but didn’t come close to this level of chill.


I think Kyler always has the green light to scramble, and I think he’s smart enough to know when to avoid danger by sliding or going out of bounds. The question becomes how much does Riley purposely work Murray into running game? His read-option TD run last week looked embarrassingly easy, but imagine being a defensive coordinator telling his team on Monday or during the Friday walk-through, “watch out for the quarterback on the goal line.” What a nightmare. If defenses stack the box and dare Murray to throw, he can throw it just fine. But if it’s wet or windy and defenses stack the box with Anderson sidelined, Murray’s running will become an invaluable part of the offense. His deception and speed will be paramount to OU moving the chains. More than likely, it will be a week-to-week situation. That Kendall isn’t back yet (who knows when he will be?) certainly complicates Riley’s decision.


From Twitch: SirKyleLewis: #AskHoover your odds of Cornelius going all season without being yanked and backup(s) given meaningful snaps.

For my money, this is the question of the year for Oklahoma State. When the games get tough and the defenses get tougher, I don’t see Cornelius keeping the job. I hope I’m wrong. The kid has put in his time and paid his dues and he deserves to have some prolonged success. But while he has made some very nice plays and some big-league throws, much of the evidence I’ve seen through the first two games points to Mike Gundy giving Dru Brown a chance eventually.

Oklahoma State quarterback Taylor Cornelius has had some great moments this season, and a few not-so-great. He’ll need to be more consistent when No. 17 Boise State comes to Stillwater on Saturday. (AP Photo/Brody Schmidt)


Turnovers, of course. That’s always No. 1. The Cowboy defense has been exceptional the last 5-7 years in creating them. But if Taylor Cornelius is careless with the ball like he has been, things could get ugly. OSU’s special teams still aren’t any good, so expect field position (especially against a team with good special teams) to be huge. Generating a consistent pass rush on Brett Rypien would seem important, though he’s savvy enough to know what to do. All those things being equal, if the OSU offensive line doesn’t generate running lanes for the Cowboys’ talented backfield and reset the line of scrimmage, it’ll be a long day for the Cowboys. The o-line needs to be much better than it has been, particularly in short-yardage situations.


I’d put the odds at 80/20 they’d call Riley before they call Stoops. Riley’s offensive genius and his relationship with Mayfield isn’t lost on GM John Dorsey. And you can bet that Riley would have Mayfield’s endorsement. But you’re right, both men are in play. Stoops seems very content in retirement, especially now that Drake is getting to play at OU. Watching your son catch passes for the Sooners beats game planning for the Steelers or Ravens any day, wouldn’t you say?


This is easy. Since Kempt outdueled Baker Mayfield and beat OU in Norman last year, it’s Noland. The Cyclones have played only one game so it’s a small sample size, but did you know Iowa State ranks 129th out of 129 FBS teams in total offense, according to the NCAA website? Having Kempt certainly would help that.


I’ll see if any of my friends in the athletic training community know the answer to your first question, Koby. (OU might be getting close.) The second question may be just as impossible to answer. This is a big, strong, experienced group of blockers with arguably the best offensive line coach in the country. They had a freshman at center last week, and Creed Humphrey struggled to read things correctly on a handful of plays. So maybe this week Jonathan Alvarez gets a little more playing time. My guess is that this is a perfectly normal phenomenon. Lincoln Riley said this week that some of his recent offenses at OU, even with Baker Mayfield at quarterback, needed a few games to reach maximum efficiency, and he seemed to lay it mostly at the feet of the o-line.


Most medical redshirts: technically, two is the NCAA limit if the hardship is applied and granted. Other years lost to injury beyond two are not given back. I’d put the odds that Anderson returns to OU next year pretty low. I hope he leaves, I hope some team takes a flyer on his athletic ability, and I hope he gets paid handsomely for his skills and for his trouble.


This isn’t a college football question, but I like the way you think. I’ll talk to the bosses about it. All the bosses.


Haha, I get it. But would that be acknowledging that someone thinks they’re not? Like there’s some kind of dispute? There is no dispute that I know of, outside the east wall of Boone Pickens Stadium. Anyway, having the president skydive today with the Army Black Daggers, who will jump into the stadium Saturday with the game ball, is a pretty cool tribute.


This is amazing. So cool. If I were an OU fan living in the Atlanta area, I’d be organizing the biggest Sooner watch party east of the Mississippi. And if I were a college football fan (I am) spending any time at all in the ATL (I have), I’d make a half day to take a tour through the College Football Hall of Fame (I have). It’s incredible. The Hall has interactive displays in which you can punch up videos of every member, even Booker T. Washington coach and East Central University legend Brad Calip. Also, I made a 30-yard field goal. Right down the middle. Really.


No doubt. College officials are returning to the median when it comes to a lot of these hits. When the rule was first enacted, you might see one or sometimes two DQs a game in a given week. Now, that’s become the exception. They’ve tweaked the rule and are using reviews with common sense. We’re seeing much the same in the NFL, where the new “helmet rule” drew a massive overreaction in the first couple weeks of the preseason but seems to have leveled out. It’s still there on both levels, and if guys abuse it, they’ll get penalized/ejected/fined. But at least officials don’t just hard-line it every time they think they see it.


Brendan Radley-Hiles is one of a handful of OU freshmen we can expect to see in every game for the Sooners this season. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)

Great question. I don’t think even Lincoln Riley knows the answer to this one. It’ll change week-to-week, and he’ll play guys on a need basis. That said, with two blowouts in the first two games, don’t expect to see all the freshmen you’ve seen so far in the rest of the games. Now’s the time this equation becomes a challenge for Riley and his staff. He’ll want to keep some guys available for duty later, in case depth is needed in tight games. But, in an attempt to answer your question, here are the best freshman I’ve seen so far through two games who definitely will stay on the field all season: DB Brendan Radley-Hiles, DE Ronnie Perkins, WR Jaylon Robinson and LB DaShaun White. TE Brayden Willis, DB Miguel Edwards and RB T.J. Pledger have looked good, too. With Anderson’s injury, Pledger might be in line for a lot more duty.


Columnist John E. Hoover is co-host of “The Franchise Drive” every weeknight from 6-8 on The Franchise in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, and appears throughout the day on other shows on The Franchise. Listen at fm107.7 in OKC, fm107.9/am1270 in Tulsa, on The Franchise app, or click the “Listen” tab on The Franchise home page. Hoover also covers the Big 12 for Sporting News and Lindy’s magazine and is a feature writer for Sooner Spectator magazine. Visit his personal page at

John Hoover

Hoover wrote for the Tulsa World for 24 years before joining The Franchise, where he's now co-host of "Further Review" on The Franchise Tulsa (weekdays 12-3, fm107.9/am1270) . In his time at the World, Hoover won numerous writing and reporting awards, including in 2011 National Beat Writer of the Year from the Associated Press Sports Editors for his work covering the Oklahoma Sooners. Hoover also covered Oklahoma State, Arkansas, Oral Roberts and the NFL as a beat writer. From 2012 to 2016, Hoover was the World's lead sports columnist. As a columnist, Hoover won national awards in 2012 and 2014 from the National Athletic Trainers Association for reporting on sports medicine and in 2015 won first place in sports columns from the Oklahoma Society of Professional Journalists. After receiving a journalism degree from East Central University, Hoover worked at newspapers in Ada, Okmulgee, Tahlequah and Waynesville, Mo. He played football at Ada High School and grew up in North Pole, Alaska. Hoover and his family live in Broken Arrow.

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