I’ve got a reader who’s been on Bob Stoops’ case for several years, and his primary charge is Stoops’ lack of second half adjustments. So I did the research.
Here it is. Stoops is 9-21 when trailing at halftime during his OU career. When tied at halftime, Stoops is 7-4. Which makes him 17-25 overall when not leading at halftime.
Let’s review. Here are the games in which Stoops trailed or was tied at halftime.
2012: OU trailed Texas A&M 14-13, then lost 41-13. OU trailed Notre Dame 10-6, then lost 30-13. OU trailed KansasState 10-6, then lost 24-19. OU was tied 7-7 with Texas-El Paso, then won 24-7. OU was tied 24-24 with OSU, then won 51-48 in overtime.
I’d say Stoops clearly lost the halftime battle against A&M. The other games, except for the inexplicable UTEP slow start, featured first halves very much like the second halves.
2011: OU trailed Texas Tech 24-7, then lost 41-38. OU trailed Baylor 17-10, then lost 45-38.
I’d say Stoops won the halftime battle in the Tech game. Baylor was a wash.
2010: OU trailed Missouri 17-14, then lost 36-27. OU trailed A&M 12-0, then lost 33-19. OU trailed Nebraska 20-17, then won 23-20.
I don’t see much affected by adjustments. OU played much better in the second half at A&M.
2009: OU trailed Nebraska 7-3, then lost 10-3. OU trailed Tech 17-6, then lost 41-13. OU trailed Stanford 24-17, then won 31-27.
I’d say OU lost the halftime battle against Tech, won the halftime battle in the Sun Bowl.
2008: OU was tied with Florida 14-14, then lost 24-14.
Clearly OU lost the halftime. The Sooners were much better in the first half than in the second half.
2007: OU was tied with Texas 14-14, then won 28-21. OU trailed Iowa State 7-0, then won 17-7. OU trailed Tech 27-10, then lost 34-27.
OU won the halftime battle against the Longhorns. The loss at Tech was the Sam Bradford concussion game. Not much you can do with that.
2006: OU was tied with Alabama-Birmingham 7-7, then won 24-17. OU was tied 13-13 with Washington, then won 37-20. OU trailed Oregon 13-6, then lost 34-33. OU trailed Tech 24-17, then won 34-24. OU trailed Boise State 21-10, then lost 43-42 in overtime.
Hard to count the Oregon fiasco against Stoops. Hard to credit Stoops for rallying against UAB and maybe Washington. But Stoops clearly won the halftime against Tech and Boise State.
2005: OU trailed TCU 10-0, then lost 17-10. OU trailed UCLA 13-10, then lost 41-24. OU trailed Texas 24-6, then lost 45-12. OU trailed Tech 10-7, then lost 23-21. OU trailed Oregon 7-3, then won 17-14.
Stoops lost the halftime against UCLA, but against who else? Certainly not Tech, Fiasco No. 1.
2004: OU trailed A&M 28-21, then won 42-35.
No problems here.
2003: OU trailed Kansas State 21-7, then lost 35-7. OU trailed LSU 14-7, then lost 21-14.
OU lost the halftime battle – and anything else you want to name — in the Big 12 title game. The Sugar Bowl was a wash.
2002: OU trailed Texas 14-11, then won 35-24. OU trailed OSU 28-6, then lost 38-23.
I’d say the Sooners won both halftimes.
2001: OU was tied with Nebraska 10-10, then lost 20-10. OU was tied with A&M 10-10, then won 31-10.
The halftimes determined both games, to some degree.
2000: OU trailed A&M 17-10, then famously won 35-31. OU was tied 10-10 with Kansas State, then won 27-24.
Stoops won both halftimes. Of course, that could be part of the argument, that Stoops back in the old days was much better than Stoops of recent vintage.
1999: OU trailed Louisville 13-7, then won 42-21. OU was tied with Texas 17-17, then lost 38-28. OU trailed Colorado 14-10, then lost 38-24.
Stoops won the halftime at Louisville but lost the halftimes in Dallas and at Colorado.
So let’s add it up. That’s seven games Stoops has lost in 14 years you could chalk up to getting outschemed in the second half. Colorado and Texas in 1999, 2001 Nebraska, 2005 UCLA, 2008 Florida, 2009 Tech (maybe), 2012 A&M. Although you could argue that just staying within a point of the Aggies at halftime of the Cotton Bowl was a monumental scheme accomplishment.
Anyway, how do Stoops’ records when trailing or tied at halftime stack up against other relevant coaches? I checked it out.
Behind at halftime: 9-21
Tied at halftime: 7-4
Behind at halftime: 15-26
Tied at halftime: 2-1
Very similar to Stoops.
NICK SABAN (Alabama years)
Behind at halftime: 2-2
Tied at halftime: 4-0
Not much data, but very impressive.
Behind at halftime: 23-28
Tied at halftime: 3-4
A little better than Stoops.
Behind at halftime: 15-17-1
Tied at halftime: 8-4-1
Wow. Switzer was almost .500 when trailing at halftime, and factoring in ties, too, Switzer was above .500.
So looking at all of it, how do we assess Stoops as a halftime adjustor? He doesn’t seem like a marvel, neither does he seem like a doofus. Won some, lost some. He’s not Barry Switzer, but few are.