TULSA — Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops met with reporters before his OU Caravan appearance Monday evening.
Here are a few highlights. I’ll have a few additional, more in-depth, posts from Stoops’ half-hour interview session in the coming days.
* Stoops responded to ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer’s criticism of the Oklahoma offense.
Dilfer famously called the OU offense “a joke” and its playcalling “brutal” shortly after the Pittsburgh Steelers selected former Sooner quarterback Landry Jones in the NFL Draft’s fourth round.
Dilfer said he “disregarded” Jones’ senior-year film.
“I don’t have much of an opinion on their opinion,” Stoops said. “Obviously, I thought Carey stated it the best. Admittedly, he didn’t watch him as a senior. Well, how many general managers don’t watch a quarterback as a senior? That doesn’t make much sense.”
I assume Stoops was referring to this SoonerScoop.com article from my friend Carey Murdock. Give it a read.
I’ll have more on Stoops’ response to Dilfer and similar critics later today.
* In Tuesday’s newspaper, I wrote about Stoops’ thoughts on the new College Football Playoff and its selection committee. You can read that here.
Stoops’ best quote — “Oh, hell no,” when asked if media should be involved in the playoff team selection — was preceded by another gem that didn’t make it into my story.
“Old coaches may go to bed too early,” Stoops said, before quickly adding, “I go to bed early.
“They’re not going to watch USC play at 9, 10 at night.”
But Stoops also said former coaches — like media, current coaches and administrators — unquestionably harbor some biases, even if its unintentional.
Last summer, legendary former Sooners coach Barry Switzer told me he’d consider it an “honor and a privilege” to serve on the selection committee if asked.
“I think coaches that have been gone for a long time probably would be better,” Switzer said then. “I’ve been gone 23 years, and I don’t even know most of the head coaches that are coaching today for major college teams. I’m not biased. I don’t have any bias in that.
“There’d be a lot of work involved, but it’s what we’ve done all our lives — evaluating football. It’s what coaches have done. They spend 16 hours a day for 40 years looking at teams, evaluating the best.”
* On the quarterback derby — which will rage on through the summer and into fall camp — between Blake Bell, Kendal Thompson and Trevor Knight.
“We’ve got a good background … and I’m not being boastful here, we have had a good track record with quarterbacks,” Stoops said. “We’ve won eight Big 12 championships with six different quarterbacks, and been to four national championships with three different quarterbacks. We don’t find a necessity to have to name him right away.
“We have a lot of different leadership on the team, and we don’t need that one guy to be the one guy that has to lead everybody through summer. I think people who might name somebody and he’s truly not the leader, or the guy yet, you’ve got a false leader through the summer, I don’t think that’s a good thing.
“In the end, our guys all work hard, and they’ll go through the summer doing the same thing. Working hard and making improvement, and guys around them, we’ll see how it all adds up.”
* Stoops gave some general thoughts about where the team is after spring football:
“I think we made some good strides in areas we needed to, developing new players,” Stoops said. “Again, in areas … to me, it’s always, first and foremost, where you lose guys, where are guys coming up? And I thought we had guys really show up.
“In particular, in the spring game, the D-line. I thought a lot of guys really played well. Then in the secondary, same thing. Cortez Johnson had a great spring all around. He did again in the spring game. Showed consistent improvement. Gabe Lynn played well. Julian Wilson in the nickel spot, big guy that’s 6-1, 6-2, really did well.”
* Stoops expressed disappointment for former Sooner safety Tony Jefferson, who wasn’t selected in last month’s NFL Draft.
But Stoops also said he wasn’t surprised.
“Nothing surprises me in the draft,” Stoops said Monday, when he appeared for an OU Caravan event at Tulsa’s Shusterman Center.
“I was disappointed, of course, I want all my guys to be drafted as high as they can be. But in the end, there’s always a lot of reasons why NFL teams do or don’t draft guys. Some of them are whether they play, how they test when they measure a guy.”
Jefferson chose to skip his senior season to enter this year’s NFL Draft, and most experts projected him for selection in the top three rounds. But his draft stock gradually slipped from January to April, and ultimately, every NFL team passed on the second-team All-American.
Jefferson signed a free-agent contract with the Arizona Cardinals shortly after the draft ended.
Asked if he thought in January that Jefferson might go undrafted, Stoops said, “To a degree. I thought he would be. I didn’t feel it would be in the first day because of information I have. I feel bad for him. I wish he was.”
Stoops added that “it will be difficult” for Jefferson to make the Cardinals’ roster as an undrafted free agent.
Jefferson led the Sooners with 119 tackles last season, playing most of the year on a high-ankle sprain.
* I asked Stoops if Jefferson’s story can be a relatable teaching moment about leaving college early.
“I wish it wasn’t, but it is to a degree,” Stoops said. “But in the end, we’ve had those teaching moments. I’m very schooled on how it all works and what they make and who gets released in the first two-three years and who doesn’t. That’s been presented to our players at least twice a year. So I don’t need that teaching moment. I wish I didn’t have it.”
Stoops talked at length about the value of players earning their degrees. I’ll have a separate post about that soon.
* Stoops talked about receiver Justin Brown, the Penn State transfer who was selected in the sixth round by the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“Just was a great addition to everything we had here,” Stoops said. “He made a huge impact, obviously, catching 75 or so balls, touchdowns and big plays, special teams plays. He had a huge impact on us.
“You know what was also undervalued was he was a guy that was just here a year and was a leader with how he conducted himself, how he worked, his attitude about everything, his business-like tough attitude about everything. He made an impact on the offensive guys in particular and the receiver group. He was awesome. I absolutely love the kid. I believe he’ll make it.”
* Former OU running back Adrian Peterson will be presented the 2013 Henry P. Iba Citizen Athlete Award in June.
“As much as Adrian has been under the microscope since he arrived at our place, let alone what he’s been through since, he’s been an excellent citizen in every way,” Stoops said. “He’s been great teammate. Obviously, he’s been incredibly successful in the way he’s worked for his team. It’s all been driven by hard work and determination. He’s what you want in every way. I’m proud of him. Look at what he’s given back to Oklahoma. He enjoyed his experience here. He’s a special guy.”
* Stoops was asked about Headington Hall, the new athletic dorms located on the southeast corner of Lindsey St. and Jenkins Ave. The swanky new residence hall opens this fall:
“I think it will be incredible for every sport. I think it’s gonna be a huge boost to everybody. They’re brand new. You’ve got apartment-style living in that each kid has his own bathroom, shower, toilet area, opposite a TV room and kitchen area. I think it will be fabulous. I’ve been through it and it has a movie theater, coffee shops, new dining hall; it’s gonna be everything you want.”