It's hard to believe it's already been four years under CPR, but here we are. That's enough time to consider the program truly "his" so I wanted to put some (hopefully well-reasoned) thoughts together and see what people think. To me the most notable thing is that our baseline level of play, or the minimum/worst effort we can expect to see any given Saturday, is gradually improving. We're better able to compete against everyone on our schedule. When Rhoads came we could count being blown out by at least one or two high-powered teams a year. A trip to Norman was a sure bloodbath. This year the final scores at OSU and Texas weren't close but we were far more competitive than we might have been in past years. The lows haven't been as low. Likewise, the highs have been incredibly high. We all know about the upsets but we've seen some really fantastic performances too. At Texas Tech last year and at TCU this year really stick out in my mind. Not huge upsets but really solid performances against good teams. We rarely (if ever) lose to teams we should beat. So in short it seems like we can credibly expect more from this program every time out and that is the ultimate testament to CPR and his staff. That doesn't mean there's nothing to criticize. After four years it's fair to ask what it's going to take to get us to the proverbial "next level" and how we intend to get there. Rhoads himself has said our goal needs to be .500 or better in conference, so to me it seems reasonable to think we can be a program that consistently wins 7-8 games each year, with 4-5 conference wins. Maybe a great year is +2 wins and a bad year is -2. To get there, our offense simply has to get better. Our defense has been compromised far too much and far too often by our offense. Until the Kansas game one of my real disappointments with the Rhoads era was the failure to improve the QB situation over the past two years. Sammy Football certainly looks like he may be a solution but time will tell. It doesn't reassure me that much that as solid as he's been in two games (though yesterday was a comedown from @ KU to be sure) Rhoads and staff never game him a real chance until now. Is QB evaluation a weakness of our staff? I didn't think Tom Herman lived up to his billing and I've been a little disappointed with Messingham as well. I can't describe the passion with which I hate watching us run poorly called or executed read options. There have been a few games where our offense looks great on opening drives and then falls apart. Maybe it's because we're not as good when we're not scripted. Or maybe it's because we're easy to figure out. But our offense has to get more dynamic; in the Big 12 we know we're going to face offenses that can score, and we have to be able to keep up. Our defense can't do it all every time out. Perhaps with a better QB they'll feel more comfortable with letting him make plays. Our defense hasn't been perfect either. Obviously the loss of Knott hurt and you can't paper over that. But the last few games our opponents have been able to get just about anything they wanted through the air with plenty of cushion from our DBs. My biggest concern with the defense is more long term. I think there's always been a sense that we have a great old salty dog in Wally Burnham who makes our defense better than it really is. So I worry about what happens when we lose him. What else do we need to do to continue toward that next step?