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Bob Stoops' leadership never wavers, especially in tough times

Although Oklahoma failed to meet its 2011 expectations, the Sooners football coach will work hard to get team ready for Insight Bowl.
by Berry Tramel Published: December 19, 2011

NORMAN – Bob Stoops showed up at his media luncheon Monday and did something totally outrageous.

Grabbed a paper plate and ate a little rice. Hadn't so much as snacked at his own luncheon in years.

And people say the man is inflexible.

But fear not, or rejoice not, depending on your disposition, this is not a body-snatching case.

Same old Stoops. He addressed the Oklahoma press corps and delivered an assortment of bad news. Yet Stoops did so without alarm or regret.

Yep, Brandon Williams is leaving and others might, too. Yep, Ronnell Lewis is ineligible for the Insight Bowl and almost surely has played his final OU game. Yep, getting the Sooners fired up to play Iowa will be a non-guaranteed process, both here on the prairie and out in the desert.

No matter. Stoops shows no signs of panic.

Leadership is his greatest trait, you know. Schemes, motivation, organization, public relations. Lots of things are demanded of a head coach. He's good at most of them. But leadership is where he shines.

Knows what he believes in, knows whom he believes in, and doesn't deter. That's not inflexibility. That's commitment.

Stoops believes in determination. He talked Monday of coaches, no one in particular, who believe the grass is always greener somewhere else.

That's not his style. Stoops has changed employers twice in 22 years – Kansas State to Florida in 1996, Florida to OU three years later – and is nothing if not stable.

Just like his football program. These are rocky days, by OU standards. No Big 12 title. No BCS bowl. Discontent in the ranks, both among current and past players.

But Stoops offered no help in stoking the fire. Was his typical forge-ahead self.

Said he is satisfied with his staff, though admitting with the head-coaching turnover across college football, you never know when a job could come open for Brother Mike.

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by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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