Kentucky hired Mark Stoops as its new football coach on Tuesday, making him the third member of his family to be a head coach.
Stoops, Florida State's defensive coordinator, is the younger brother of Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops and Sooners defensive coordinator Mike Stoops.
Mark Stoops was an assistant at South Florida, Wyoming, Houston and Miami before joining Mike Stoops' Arizona staff in 2004.
He became Florida State's defensive coordinator in 2009. While at FSU, he coached twice against Bob Stoops' Oklahoma teams, which beat the Seminoles 47-17 in Norman two years ago, and 23-13 in Tallahassee, Fla., last season.
“I'm excited for Mark, proud of him, all those things,” Bob Stoops said Tuesday. “He's earned it. He's done really well everywhere he's been and, of course, in the last several years at Florida State finishing it off.
“I know he's really prepared for the job and believe, as he does, that Kentucky has a lot of potential, a lot of resources to build so I know he's excited about the opportunity.”
WHY IS OU SO GOOD ON THE ROAD?
The Sooners have been hounded by questions about losing their edge at home. They lost two games in Norman this year — against Kansas State and Notre Dame. Before this season, under Bob Stoops, they had only lost three home games.
As for their road games, the questions is completely opposite. The Sooners are undefeated on the road this year. So why is Oklahoma so good on the road?
Stoops said it was a certain maturity.
“It's shown up there and it's shown up in tough games here at home, too,” Stoops said Monday. “They've continued to work and have a great attitude about what they're doing and have confidence in how they're playing. They keep playing well and finding a way to win.”
Senior quarterback Landry Jones said he also attributes the road success to the kind of leaders the Sooners have on the team this year.
“And I think we just execute,” Jones said. “That comes with practicing better and then taking what we've practiced into games.
BACK-TO-BACK SHOOTOUTS AND EIGHT WEEKS WITHOUT A BYE
Oklahoma players may be drained from back-to-back shootout, come-from-behind victories, but they've still got to gear up for Saturday's regular-season finale at TCU.
On Nov. 17, quarterback Landry Jones led a game winning drive in the fourth quarter that allowed OU to escape Morgantown, W.Va., with a 50-49 victory.
Then last weekend, the Sooners rallied to beat Bedlam rival Oklahoma State, 51-48, in overtime; OU took its first and only lead of the game when Brennan Clay scored his 18-yard touchdown that ended the game.
Also, the TCU contest represents Oklahoma's ninth straight game without an off week; the Sooners last had a bye the weekend of Sept. 29.
OU clinches at least a share of the Big 12 championship with a win, so there's plenty of motivation for Saturday, Bob Stoops said.
“In the end, there's nothing to bounce back from,” Stoops said. “Everything's in front of us. We've got a big game ... with championship implications. All of that in front of you, so if anything, I would think it'd give you some momentum.”
Jones, though, admitted that it's not easy to move right into another huge game after the Bedlam thriller.
“It's hard to come back and be focused and be all into a game whenever you have these emotional games, I know for sure, because it's draining,” Jones said.
“It's exhausting to play in those games and it's hard to get back up for practice, it's hard to forget about that game and move on to the next opponent.”
JONES SEES IMPROVEMENT
Two months and two days after Oklahoma suffered its first loss of the season to Kansas State, the Sooners pushed their Bedlam game to overtime for the first time in rivalry history.
That night, for the third time in his career, Jones had a 500-yard passing game. He also led the Sooners to a second straight comeback victory.
After that Kansas State loss, the blame fell onto the starting quarterback. After the Bedlam victory, the praise fell on, among many, the quarterback.
The change isn't just in the quarterback alone. Jones said this team is just overall a better team than the one that played in September.
“A lot better, for sure.” Jones said. “I think our confidence is higher just as an offense realizing what we can do as an offensive team.”