Oklahoma football: Readers respond to Bob Stoops’ ‘excuse-making’
Lots of feedback from my column on Bob Stoops making excuses. You can read the column here. I think fans enjoy seeing what other fans say, particularly when they write in thoughtful manners, not shotgunning on a message board. So here you go.
Gene: “It looks like he has gone from Big Game Bob to Alibi Bob. Just an opinion, and I could be wrong, but as my grandmother used to say, ‘the proof is in the pudding.’”
I repeat. I don’t see a lot of change in Stoops. But giving in to excuses, I see.
Jake: “Berry, I normally enjoy reading your stories but here, does it not only seem that your storyline is thin, in my opinion, this is a very cheap shot.”
Hmm. I don’t know which one I disagree with more. The thin theory or the cheap shot allegation. I don’t think it was a cheap shot. But I don’t think it was a thin storyline, either. Seems like a lot of people have noticed.
Craig: “Stoops has always rubbed me the wrong way. Pat Jones is the same way when he spouts off on WWLS. Many of us played. I was calling offensive line calls 40 years ago. Directing guards, traps, etc. I have had theory of football. Do I have their experience ? Heck no. But we aren’t stupid.
“Two plays cost OU, in my opinion. The 62-yard run right up the gut and the 50-yard pass. Stoops is arrogant. Thank heavens Brent Venables wasn’t coaching defense. They would have wanted his head.”
I sense a great deal of displeasure with Stoops’ personality. Frankly, I think he’s always been this way. I don’t really see it as a big deal. He doesn’t suffer fools gladly; never has. I’ll bet most people from Youngstown are the same way. It’s part of what makes him who he is.
Jerry: “I’ve been dying for you to write the ‘no excuses’ article simply because I’ve noticed the same thing. Stoops is turning out to be such a whiner and extremely sensitive when asked tough questions. I was floored when he got so irritated about the toughness question he was asked earlier in the year and how he didn’t like the question. It was a fair question. I was also appalled at his reaction to the question at halftime of the Notre Dame game, when asked about what the deal was on the call where the Belldozer touchdown was called back. He said it was ‘a setup question.’ Geez Bob, take a valium.
“I think someone needs to sit him down and explain to him that as long as he is cashing the checks, he is accountable whether he likes it or not. I do realize that some people go overboard in their critique of some things, like Landry Jones, but please don’t come off as thinking that everyone is stupid about football and you have it all figured out – he obviously does not.
“I was also bewildered that he was ticked off because he had been doing the radio show and answering questions and then found out no other coaches were doing it. I know he’s human like everyone else and wants it both ways, but for 5 million bucks I think I could train myself to be thick skinned and answer tough questions. His players would learn a lot from it and so would everyone else.”
Stoops has a bad reputation with the media — the TV halftime reporter, press conference questions — and I don’t think it’s deserved. I think he’s just fine with the media. I really do. His bedside manner isn’t pristine, but what do I care. He answers most questions well. He doesn’t answer bad questions well. And he doesn’t do well at halftime. There’s no doubt about that.
Mark: “You have been in this business long enough to know and realize that in a close game like the one we are referring to that there is a thing called momentum. The officiating was inconsistent at best in this game. It was very lopsided. The holding call that called back the TD by Bell at the end of the first half was a no-call. That was a game changer. Notre Dame held all night and didn’t get one holding call. OU had at least two that I remember. We both know Stoops long enough to know he doesn’t make excuses for bad calls. But he had a beef in this game. It was horribly inconsistent. The reaction when the ref made the holding call that nullified the TD by Bell, is something that we haven’t seen. He was livid. And had every right to be. There was a major holding no-call on the long pass by ND that led to the winning TD in the second half.
“The game was close all the way up to the end. The final score was not indicative of how close this game was. A few calls here and there differently WOULD have and DID have a bearing in the final outcome of this game. One thing I cannot stand in sports is when the refs have a say in the final outcome of a game. This was a perfect example of that very thing.
“I’ve always liked your columns and listening to you on the Sports Animal, Berry. You are very good at what you do. But, I have to disagree with you on this one. I think you are being a little harsh on Bob. Yes, this is out of character from him, maybe because he’s right?”
No. He’s not right. And Stoops gets livid all the time. He and Mike are like basketball coaches, the way they ride the refs. Sure, a few calls here and there can turn a game. But the losing team often focuses on the calls. The winning team rarely does. The refs could have made a few decisions that would have made Notre Dame’s victory even more decisive.
David: “Nice article on Bob Stoops – I could (not) agree more! He is tired of getting his butt whipped and the image of Big Game Bob.”
I think Stoops is frustrated. That’s what I think.
Dennis: “Just a short ‘atta boy’ for you. I follow the Sooners and cheer for them against anyone except the U of Arkansas (my alma mater). I agree that Bob Stoops was making excuses after the Irish loss, even with the TV reporter as he left the field at halftime. He should watch the tape and see how the Irish coach talked calmly and courteously before and after the game.
“This is not the first time he’s been more than prickly about questions that don’t suit him. Perhaps you can inform him for me that shooting the messengers rarely is an effective management tool and only serves to alienate your supporters, much less those inclined to hate on OU anyway. May I submit Joe Biden’s latest debate debacle as exhibit A, your honor.
“In addition, you may pass along my concern that his standard criticism of ‘ignorant’ public comments about football place him squarely in the viewfinder of those ‘ignorant’ commenters who form the base of his Oklahoma support, and and whose public and private support allow his exalted salary.
“Someone says, ‘be careful not to criticize him, he may take his talents elsewhere.’ To which I say, there are dozens, nay hundreds, of qualified coaches who would catch the next plane to Norman to apply for his job. It may be time for David Boren to muzzle his outrageous and offensive behavior. In the meantime, your not-so-gentle jabs will serve nicely to pluck him from his daily walk across Lake Thunderbird.”
Dennis got more worked up, the longer he wrote. He was sort of stingingly witty by email’s end.
Wayne: “Really, Berry? No big bowl win in 12 years? We won the Fiesta Bowl in 2010.OSU wins it in 2011 and you guys act like it was the greatest thing ever. When we lost to Boise State and West Virginia, they were big losses, but I guess if we’d won them they wouldn’t have counted. As an OU Alum and someone who lived out of state most of my life but chose to come back after I retired, if it weren’t for OU football, the geese would fly upside down over this state. The main thing we Oklahomans have to brag about is our football team. We know the university is a good thing as a whole, but most people don’t care about anything on campus other than the football team. It’s sad but it’s true. I do agree things have slipped a little,and other than recruiting better players, I don’t know what the answer is. I don’t want them to get in a bidding war for good players, ala SEC teams. We only have so much to offer,and some kids aren’t in to tradition,or the great past we have accomplished.”
I didn’t say big bowl. I said Big Bowl. National championship game.
Paul: “Great article about ‘I’m not supposed to lose Stoops.’ A lot of people have two favorite teams, including me. OSU and whomever is playing OU. From what I saw, Stoops spent a lot of time screaming in the face of his players at the Notre Dame game.”
Thanks for writing, Paul, but I’m afraid most people reading this are not going to care what you think.
Sean: “I am confused. You began your article by stating that Coach Stoops has changed his rhetoric and may be giving excuses. Then in the same article you state that the program is in good shape. Then you bat around the idea that the program needs to get better to challenge for the national championship and could use some reinforcements at key positions. Berry, you can’t have it both ways. As I have stated earlier, there is something wrong in Norman. Even if they have ‘missed’ on some recruiting, this is enough. Try putting yourself all the way out there next article, you will feel better. You are almost there.”
Yes. You are confused. A program can be in good shape AND still lack a few blocks in building a national title team. You can have it both ways, because most elite programs are that way. LSU, for example, right now has no quarterback, which is strange but virtually indisputable.
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