How to manage a rout: Coaches like Bob Stoops, Mike Gundy can be left in tricky situation

Can you win, even when you win? Coaches sometimes draw flack for leaving starters in blowout wins. OU coach Bob Stoops has found himself under the microscope several times, including comments from ABC's Brent Musburger in the Sooners' 55-10 win over Texas.
BY TRAVIS HANEY Modified: October 12, 2011 at 5:47 pm •  Published: October 12, 2011

OU's backups were in for the next offensive possession, which followed the Sooners' third defensive touchdown of the day. Jamell Fleming's fumble recovery and return made it 55-10, Sooners.

Stoops has admitted a couple of different times this week that he considered sending the first-team offense back on the field — or at least senior receiver Ryan Broyles — so Broyles could set the NCAA's career record for receptions. He needed three more catches to tie it, four to set it.

Ultimately, Broyles stayed on the sideline.

“We thought about it,” Stoops said. “We said, ‘Should we?' We said, ‘Well, we haven't done that. We haven't left our guys in to get records in those kinds of situations in the past.'

“We didn't want him to get hurt. We'll just wait and let him get it when it comes in the flow of our offense. We still had 12 minutes to go if we wanted to throw him four more balls.”

Oklahoma's defensive starters, though, remained on the field — chiefly because they were trying to prevent Texas from scoring an offensive touchdown. A kick return had accounted for the Longhorns' only touchdown to that point.

“You want to finish strong, too,” OU senior defensive end Frank Alexander said. “After we knew we had the blowout, my biggest thing was going out there and stopping them from scoring, just like it was 0-0. We didn't want them to score.”

In the final minutes, subs such as ends Geneo Grissom and Chuka Ndulue entered the game. But the starters were also interspersed with the backups.

Musburger made his comments during that point in the game, even though the 'Horns did score to make it 55-17.

“It's not the easiest thing to do, to just wholesale change,” Stoops said. “We're in good shape going into Kansas. I'm not real concerned about what he thinks we ought to do or not, in all respect to him.

“We were playing Texas. Not like we were playing the Little Sisters of the Poor, right?”

Players such as Alexander understand the delicate balance. They're immersed in the emotions of the game — and a big win — but they understand it's a 12-14-game season and decisions are made for the marathon. They're made for the future, as well.

“It's both,” Alexander said, when asked if it was a good or bad thing to exit a game early. “I feel good that you can come out and rest for the next week. The downside, you still want to go out there and play, make plays and stuff like that. I've got a competitive spirit.

“Any time I can play, I want to go out there and do it. But there comes a good point in the game to get a young guy out there, to go out there and experience the real game. It's going to be on them next year, because I'll be gone.”

John Helsley, Gina Mizell and John Rohde contributed to this story

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