NORMAN — There's an obvious link between Kansas State and Oklahoma's football programs, in the form of Sooners coach Bob Stoops.
Stoops was at Kansas State as an assistant under Bill Snyder from 1989-95.
“I had a great seven years there,” Stoops said Tuesday during his weekly news conference. “I've always thought back on those fondly. I have a lot of great relationships and friends from being there.”
Snyder is back and winning at K-State the same way he did when he initially built the program. It's all about tough-nosed physicality and fundamentals for the Wildcats, who enter this week's game with OU 7-0 and eighth in the latest BCS standings.
“No. It doesn't surprise me at all,” Stoops said of KSU's resurgence under Snyder, the 72-year-old who returned to Manhattan in 2009. “And that's a compliment, because I know how Coach does it and works and has been part of it for a long time.”
Stoops had to laugh when talking about the conditions of the program when Snyder's staff first arrived. A Sports Illustrated story called K-State “Futility U.” just before Snyder's first season.
“I don't know that anybody can really look back, unless you were there at that time, and see how really poor and rotten it was,” Stoops said. “There's no describing it. There really isn't. It was horrendous. I hope no one there's mad at me (for saying that). It was. They know it. I can't say it any other way.”
So, why would Stoops leave Kent State to take a job there?
“I was young and naïve,” he said. “I never thought for a minute we wouldn't win. I had that much respect and faith in Coach Snyder, having worked with him all those years at Iowa. All we did at Iowa was win. … Sometimes, if you've been jaded by this profession and in it a little longer, you'd look at this situation and go, ‘Good luck with that.'”
Stoops said he didn't even ask Snyder what his salary would be.
“When Coach Snyder called and said he had the secondary job for me,” Stoops said, “I was squealing my tires, headed out of there.”
Fast-forward to this intriguing meeting.
The Sooners (6-1) are in rebound mode this week after a 41-38 loss to Texas Tech. The Red Raiders led 31-7 in the third quarter, on their way to ending OU's 39-game home win streak.
“They understand that (K-State will be up for this game),” Stoops said. “It's a big challenge. They understand they'll be chomping at the bit to play us. I don't have a magic trick to make them want to play. … It's about doing the work to be ready for that, to be ready to execute against that.
“This isn't their first game against a team that was dying to play them.”
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Here's a look at what else Stoops had to say during his weekly press conference:
… on K-State QB Collin Klein, who also leads the team in rushing (670 yards, 14 TDs):