OU names co-offensive coordinators; Josh Heupel to call plays
BY JOHN E. HOOVER World Sports Writer
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
12/14/10 at 6:23 AM
The keys to Oklahoma's high-powered offense are now in Josh Heupel's hands.
On Monday, OU coach Bob Stoops announced that Heupel and receivers coach/assistant offensive coordinator Jay Norvell would be promoted to co-offensive coordinator, and that Heupel would be calling plays, starting with the Fiesta Bowl.
Also, as first reported on tulsaworld.com, former offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson - hired last week as head coach at Indiana - will remain with the team through the bowl game and will coach tight ends and fullbacks.
"As has always been the case, our entire offensive staff will work together in game planning, but there needs to be one coach who calls the plays and Josh will have that responsibility," Stoops said. "Josh has a good feel for the game and rhythm that we've been able to establish.
"This is a great way to maintain our current style and continuity. Our current style fits our personnel and allows us to remain balanced, something that is important to me."
Stoops said he didn't have a timetable to fill Wilson's position.
The No. 9 Sooners (11-2) meet No. 25 Connecticut (8-4) at 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 1 in Glendale, Ariz.
Heupel, 32, one of the most beloved players in recent OU history, was the quarterback who helped Stoops resurrect the program in 1999 and 2000.
A left-hander from Aberdeen, S.D., by way of Snow (Utah) College, Heupel rewrote the OU record book for passers in leading the Sooners to a 7-5 record - the program's first winning record in seven years - then outdid himself by leading the Sooners to the national championship in 2000, when OU went 13-0 and he finished second in the Heisman Trophy balloting.
When injuries ended Heupel's playing career in 2001, he did what he was born to do: He went into coaching.
The son of high school football coach Ken Heupel, Josh Heupel spent the 2003 and 2004 seasons as an OU graduate assistant. His first full-time paid job was as tight ends coach at Arizona, where he worked under Mike Stoops.
Then in 2005, prior to the Sooners' trip to San Diego to play Oregon in the Holiday Bowl, Heupel was hired by Bob Stoops as OU's quarterbacks coach.
In 2006, Heupel tutored Paul Thompson, who switched back from wide receiver and led the Sooners to the Big 12 championship. In 2007, Heupel tutored Sam Bradford, who set a handful of national freshman records and led the nation in passer efficiency while leading OU to a repeat Big 12 title. And in 2008, Heupel helped Bradford win another passer efficiency crown, another Big 12 title and the Heisman Trophy. Bradford went on to become the No. 1 overall pick in last year's NFL draft and is a leading candidate for the NFL's rookie of the year award.
Last year, when Bradford went down with a shoulder injury, Heupel molded Landry Jones into a record-setting quarterback who set marks for touchdown passes in a game (six) and passing yards in a bowl (418). This year, Jones won the Sammy Baugh Award as the nation's top passer, and helped get the Sooners another Big 12 championship while setting school records for pass attempts and completions. Jones' 4,289 yards ranks second in OU history (Bradford threw for 4,720 yards in 2008).
In October the OU staff received pay raises, and Heupel's was the largest. Heupel's base salary and personal services income was increased $50,000 to a total of $250,000. Stoops has consistently rewarded Heupel's coaching acumen. As recently as 2007, Heupel's income, before incentive bonuses, was $136,000.
Since his playing days, Heupel has been active in the Norman community. Each holiday season, his 14 Foundation, now administered by his parents, raises money to buy food for needy families throughout Oklahoma.
Norvell, 47, was hired by Stoops in 2008 from UCLA, where he was offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for a year under Karl Dorrell. In 2004-06, Norvell was offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Nebraska. Though head coach Bill Callahan was the Cornhuskers' primary play-caller, Norvell coached quarterback Zac Taylor to Big 12 player of the year accolades.
Norvell was an All-Big Ten defensive back at Iowa in 1985. He played one season there with Stoops (1982) and was a Hawkeyes graduate assistant for two years (1986-87) at the same time Stoops was an Iowa volunteer assistant.
Norvell was an assistant at Northern Iowa in 1988 and Wisconsin in 1989-94. He was assistant head coach at Iowa State under Dan McCarney from 1995-97, before spending four seasons coaching receivers for the Indianapolis Colts and two coaching tight ends with the Oakland Raiders.
The Colts offense was among the NFL's most prolific (wideout Marvin Harrison became the first player in NFL history with four consecutive seasons of 100 catches), and the Raiders led the NFL in total offense in 2002 and went to the Super Bowl.
Norvell was hired by Stoops in 2002 as receivers coach and was in Norman for a month before joining the Raiders.
In his second stint at OU, Norvell has coached Juaquin Iglesias, Manuel Johnson and Ryan Broyles to All-Big 12 honors. All three players owned the school record for either single-game receptions (Iglesias), receiving yards (Johnson) or both (Broyles).
Norvell's guidance helped Broyles mature into an All-American. Broyles leads the nation with 118 receptions and ranks third in receiving yards (1,452) and fourth in touchdown catches (13). He also owns virtually every major receiving record at OU.
Wilson was promoted to offensive coordinator in December 2005, one day after Chuck Long took over as head coach at San Diego State. Head coach Bob Stoops took six days to elevate Mark Mangino in December 1999 after Mike Leach left for Texas Tech, and took two weeks to promote Long in December 2001 when Mangino left for Kansas. Stoops' latest announcement comes one week after Wilson's departure for Indiana.
Wilson, 49, will assist the Sooners while trying to hire his own staff, learn his new players, make recruiting inroads and just find his way around the Bloomington campus.
"If I'm part of that, we'll make it work at both ends," Wilson said last week at his introductory press conference. "It's not an issue to me. I know (OU coach Bob Stoops) is gonna do what's best for Oklahoma."
Wilson takes pride in what the Sooners have accomplished this season and wants to help the team enjoy that success as long as possible.
"We're getting some monkeys off the back down there," Wilson said last week in Bloomington. "One of them was we couldn't win on the road, couldn't win tough games, couldn't come from behind. All that, we've done it down the stretch. Now we've got a thing that we can't win a BCS game. We've lost the last (five).
"It'd be nice, though. I know coach (Stoops). We need to win that, Oklahoma needs to win that bowl game. So I know he's gonna do what he wants to do."
University of Oklahoma football assistants and their salaries:
Brent Venables: (associate head coach/defensive coordinator/linebackers) $440,000
*Kevin Wilson: (tight ends/fullbacks) $430,000
Bobby Jack Wright: (assistant defensive coordinator/defensive ends) $271,600
Jackie Shipp: (defensive tackles) $256,600
Jay Norvell: (co-offensive coordinator/receivers) $255,000
Cale Gundy: (recruiting director/running backs) $255,000
James Patton: (offensive line) $255,000
Willie Martinez: (defensive backs) $251,500
Josh Heupel: (co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks) $250,000
*NOTE: Wilson is now head coach at Indiana but will coach tight ends and fullbacks through the Fiesta Bowl.
Josh Heupel bio
Born: March 22, 1978
Raised: Aberdeen, S.D.
Coaching experience: OU quarterbacks, 2005-present. Arizona tight ends, 2005. OU grad assistant 2003-05.
Playing experience: OU quarterback 1999-2000 (OU's first consensus All-American QB, Heisman runner-up, Maxwell Award, AP Player of the Year, led OU to national championship). Miami Dolphins quarterback, 2001.
Prominent pupils: Paul Thompson, Sam Bradford, Landry Jones.
Jay Norvell bio
Born: March 28, 1963
Raised: Madison, Wis.
Coaching experience: OU receivers/assistant offensive coordinator, 2008-present. UCLA offensive coordinator/quarterbacks, 2007. Nebraska offensive coordinator/quarterbacks, 2004-06. Oakland Raiders tight ends, 2002-04. OU receivers coach, 2002. Indianapolis Colts wide receivers 1998-2001. Iowa State assistant head coach/quarterbacks/receivers, 1995-97. Wisconsin receivers/special teams, 1989-94. Northern Iowa receivers, 1988. Iowa graduate assistant, 1986-87.
Playing experience: Iowa defensive back 1982-85 (All-Big Ten Conference, led Big Ten with seven interceptions in 1985, helped Iowa to five bowl appearances, two Rose Bowls). Chicago Bears defensive back, 1987.
Prominent pupils: Lee DeRamus, Marvin Harrison, Doug Jolley, Zac Taylor, Juaquin Iglesias, Manuel Johnson, Ryan Broyles.
Oklahoma vs. Connecticut
7:30 p.m.Jan. 1, 2011
Radio: KMOD fm97.5, KTBZ am1430
Tickets: (800) 456-4668 or soonersports.com
Heupel has been impacting OU's offense for years.
Original Print Headline: Heupel to call plays for OU
John E. Hoover 581-8384
New co-offensive coordinator Josh Heupel will call plays following the departure of offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson. TOM GILBERT / Tulsa World file