NORMAN — Thirteen Football Bowl Subdivision programs — and counting — will have new head coaches next season.
Only one has filled its opening so far; considering recent trends and the eye-popping offensive numbers being recorded nationally, Kentucky's hire — former Florida State defensive coordinator Mark Stoops — seems like an anomaly.
Over the past decade, spread offenses have taken the nation by storm and helped elevate several offensive coordinators into head coaching gigs. But where does that leave talented, ambitious defensive coaches?
Fourteen-year Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops views his brother's hire at Kentucky as evidence that athletic directors still believe defensive gurus are capable of running entire football programs.
“There's enough quality guys that have defensive backgrounds that are out there,” Bob Stoops said.
“People are still realizing that and seeing that.”
Last season, Arizona fired another defensive guy from the same family and replaced him with offensive whiz Rich Rodriguez.
Mike Stoops got the Arizona gig in 2003, after he'd led dominant Sooner defenses for four years.
Even after his first head coaching experience — and all the offensive changes over the past decade — Mike Stoops remains staunch in his belief that defense is ultimately what wins championships.
“I guess people like all that scoring, so those guys are all very good and were great coordinators and certainly have become great head coaches,” said Mike Stoops, who returned to his old job in January.
“But I still think you win with defense.”
The Southeastern Conference's run of six consecutive national championships would seem to bolster that argument; Alabama coach Nick Saban is a former defensive coordinator, and he's won three career national titles.