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OU football: Mike Stoops will be closely scrutinized in return

OKLAHOMA FOOTBALL — Mike Stoops has always been emotional on the sidelines. That drew mixed emotions from the Arizona faithful, but athletic director Greg Byrne reportedly told him to tone down his demeanor. And the former head coach will draw a different level of scrutiny in his return to OU.
by Jenni Carlson Published: January 18, 2012

Oklahoma football might have resurrected a defensive savior by hiring Mike Stoops.

We'll know for sure next fall.

But we don't have to wait to know one thing about the Sooners' new defensive coordinator — he's a crazy man on the sideline.

Those wild gesticulations you remember from his earlier days in Norman? The arm waving? The foot stomping? The curl-your-hair, hide-your-children screaming?

None of it's changed.

Those years wandering in the desert did nothing to mellow Brother Mike.

For some members of the Sooner Nation, this is good news. For others? Not so much. But here's the reality Sooner fans: Stoops is bound to do things on the sideline next fall that will draw attention. Cameras will be trained on him. Pundits will be focused on him.

Like it or not, the scrutiny is going to be there.

If I'm Bob Stoops, I tell little brother that he needs to cool it.

Now, don't misunderstand — Bob has just as much fire in his belly as Mike does. These two are cut from the same blue-collar, hard-nosed cloth. They want to win and want it badly.

Bob has learned how to control the emotions that come with that competitive drive.

Mike has not.

Bob admitted a while back it took him a decade or so as a head coach to completely bring his emotions in check. Mike was the coach at Arizona a little less than eight years, so maybe there's still a chance he can rein it in.

I would think he would want to do that. After all, his sideline antics were part of what got him fired at Arizona.

Some of the Wildcat faithful loved the fire. The veins popping out of his neck. The color rising from his neck to his cheeks to his forehead. The words that Mama Stoops didn't teach him spewing out of his mouth.

Other administrators, boosters and fans thought it was embarrassing.

Count Arizona athletic director Greg Byrne among the latter. He wasn't in Tucson during Stoops' first five seasons — former athletic director Jim Livengood basically let Stoops' behavior go unchecked and unchanged — but when Byrne took over in 2010, reports are that he quickly told Stoops to tone down his sideline demeanor.

It became a conversation they had many times.

Continue reading this story on the...

by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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