After Oklahoma linebacker Jordan Evans was ejected in the first quarter of Saturday’s season opener against Louisiana Tech, Sooners coach Bob Stoops said he was going to seek clarification on the call with Big 12 officiating coordinator Walt Anderson.
Tuesday night on his weekly coaches show, Stoops said Anderson had told him Evans did nothing wrong on the play.
“I spoke on Monday with Walt Anderson, it was actually after my press conference. He cut me off really and said, ‘Bob, your player didn’t do anything wrong.’ He understood that, for whatever reason, they misinterpreted the rule to some degree and because I didn’t know what to tell my player.
“The quarterback’s no longer a quarterback when he’s running with the football and he’s a runner. He wasn’t on his knee. He wasn’t falling backwards to slide. He (didn’t) even have his knee on the ground yet and my guy’s already committed to tackling him when he ducks late. I was asking for, what am I going to tell my guy? He said, ‘You don’t have to tell him anything. He did what he was supposed to do.’ No one’s making an issue of it. Everybody’s on this learning curve of understanding the targeting rule and it’s the right rule. We’ve just got to keep working through it to make it correct.”
Evans will be back in the lineup Saturday when the Sooners play at Tulsa.
Sooners defensive coordinator Mike Stoops was adamant that Evans did nothing wrong when asked Tuesday.
“He did what we told him to do,” Mike Stoops said. “You always have to tackle with your face up. People that say he ducked his said, that’s wrong. He did exactly what we teach him to do. That’s why it’s hard for us. That’s what we teach our players to do. He never ducked his head. He led with his face. You can always lead with your face. You can’t spear (a guy), lead with your head but you lead with (your face) the way we tell our guys to tackle.”
Mike Stoops said he wouldn’t change what he tells his players.
“It’s just one of those freak plays that happened in a bang-bang situation like that,” he said. “Sometimes it looks worse than it really is and that’s the unfortunate part but it is what it is.”
THE WALK HAS BEEN DONE BEFORE
The Sooners started a new game-day ritual last Saturday against Louisiana Tech. OU encouraged fans to form a path for the squad to walk from the bus, which dropped off the players at Jenkins and Lindsey, into the Switzer Center. And the turnout was strong. The fans responded.
“I think the walk deal was pretty cool,” said OU quarterback Trevor Knight. “For the first time, we were kind of hesitant whether a bunch of people were going to show up. Maybe start a little routine there.”
But the fans were plentiful.
Just one thing. This was not the first time. This was not the first walk in OU football history.
In 1995, Howard Schnellenberger instituted a march of the Sooners from the Sooner House hotel, just north of the OU Law School, to the stadium. The fans, who were fired up for that 1995 season perhaps like no other time in school history, turned out en masse and made the walk quite a spectacle.
Of course, Schnellenberger’s season went splat. Bad football. Bad form by the coach. The fans soured. By December, Schnellenberger was ousted and that new tradition went the way of the wind.
Such campus walks are common in a lot of places. Iowa long has done one. So has Mississippi State and several other SEC locales. OSU started a walk from the Atherton Hotel to the stadium in the Les Miles days, and that tradition has continued, with great success.
The OU walk under Schnellenberger would have had to be changed, anyway, since the Sooner House was not conducive to hosting a football team. The hotel has since been renovated, but it still doesn’t work for hosting the Sooner football team. The Stoops method, unveiled Saturday, works better.
PARKER SETTLING IN
Freshman safety Steven Parker won’t grade his performance in the season opener but said he has plenty of room to grow.
“I felt like I tackled really well,” Parker said. “Thanks to my team I got to fit in the right gaps and all that kind of stuff. What I feel like I can improve on is my coverage skills and even more tackling.”
Parker was thrilled to see game action in his first time in a Sooners uniform.
“After the first game, I was like, ‘Wow, I can’t believe my life has actually taken this route where I’m wearing a Sooners uniform.’ I grew up watching it. I finally get to picture myself in that uniform.”
Parker, a former Jenks standout, gets to go back home this week when the Sooners play at Tulsa.