Bob Stoops set to return after chaotic offseason
BY JOHN E. HOOVER World Sports Writer
Friday, July 23, 2010
7/23/10 at 3:44 PM
Correction: A Friday Tulsa World Sports story misspelled the first name of former University of Oklahoma football coach Bennie Owen. This story has been corrected.
Related story: OU Football: Summer Update.
BOB STOOPS is entering his 12th season as head football coach at the University of Oklahoma. Only three men — Bennie Owen, Bud Wilkinson and Barry Switzer — were Sooner head coaches for longer.
Stoops, whose team on Wednesday was picked to win an eighth Big 12 South championship, will turn 50 on Sept. 9. His career winning percentage of .801 — 117 victories, 29 defeats — is the best among active major college coaches with at least 10 years on the job.
And his four appearances in Bowl Championship Series title games and six Big 12 crowns are unparalleled.
On Thursday, after a summer of uncertainty regarding the Big 12's potential demise and alignment with the Pac-10, and before the league's coaches take center stage at Big 12 media days next week in Irving, Texas, Stoops answered questions from the Tulsa World.
Moving forward with a 10-team Big 12, what are your thoughts on that? It could make scheduling a little easier, but you lose a couple of marquee programs in Nebraska and Colorado.
Well, they were only on every two years anyway. So, in the end, heck, a lot of teams have been operating this way when you look at the Pac-10 and the Big Ten. They've been operating like this for how many years and nobody ever seemed to think that was a problem. Right?
Do you like the idea of playing nine conference games and three nonconference games?
Well, I don't mind it. It doesn't really matter to me. We've been playing a tough schedule to begin with. So for us, it doesn't make much of a change. Those teams that were playing four automatic wins, it probably changes things somewhat for them.
If you're playing nine conference games, would that impact the University of Oklahoma's scheduling philosophy with Florida State, LSU, Tennessee, Notre Dame, etc.?
It has to. It has to, to some degree, yes. Because obviously we've got another conference game, just as you explained.
Is there a possibility teams like LSU or Notre Dame or Tennessee would be dropped from future schedules?
There's always those possibilities. Or someone else. We can't play all four of them, right? So someone has to be dropped. That goes without saying. Correct?
But would the extra conference game take that one marquee opponent every year out of the equation?
Oh, it all depends. I don't know. Joe (Castiglione) and I will visit about that. In some cases it may, and in other cases it may not. I think it all depends on the years.
I want to ask you about three quarterbacks. Do you think Landry is ahead of where he needs to be, or behind, or at just the right place?
I think he's in a great place. He obviously, after a full year out there on the field a year ago, he's grown and matured tremendously through that experience. So he's a completely different player coming into this season than he would have been had Sam (Bradford) not gotten hurt. I think that's obvious to everybody. So I'd say he's ahead of schedule.
Blake Bell: is there anything you've learned about him in the first month you've had him on campus that you didn't know before?
I don't see practices or workouts. So all I know is he's a great kid coming through the office, or when you see him, he's a big, good-looking guy with a quick smile, just a sharp young man to visit with. A lot of players, their rumblings seem to be (they're) really impressed with him.
I spent a day with him last month in Wichita, and while I don't get to visit a lot of kids in their homes and schools like you do, he and his family seemed very impressive. Is that typical, or are they special in that way?
Well, I don't know. They're pretty special, I think, but I think a lot of families are. I do get to visit with a lot of great kids and a lot of great families. So in the end, I don't know how to just go comparing them. But they are just your classic, great family, competitive background, but they keep a good balance, which is obvious, a great balance in your life. And in the way Blake chose to come to Oklahoma. He understood there would be competition. It didn't bother him. And he's gonna contribute. In the end, he's going to really make a difference here. But he does come from an excellent family.
Have you spoken with Sam Bradford in the last few weeks? He's really got his mind on, instead of the money, on the football.
Yeah, I spoke with him not long ago. All those guys, that's what they want to do, they want to play. But you also have one opportunity to get it right, so I'm sure his people will be working to get his contract right. And Sam's anxious to play, of course. He's looking forward to it, as you would expect.
One preseason magazine has you guys ranked No. 1. Is that too high?
Makes no difference to me. Those magazines mean zero. As well as papers. In the end, it doesn't matter. I don't care, you can discern that.
But is this a team that can compete for a championship?
Well, we're not on the field yet. We'll see.
Original Print Headline: Sooner skipper
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