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Oklahoma football: Bob Stoops fires assistants Jackie Shipp and Bruce Kittle

The two departed assistants follow former offensive line coach James Patton — whose exit was announced Monday — out the door. Stoops, who just completed his 14th season as OU’s head coach, had never fired an assistant before last January, when secondary coach Willie Martinez was let go.
by Jason Kersey Published: February 12, 2013

/articleid/3754634/1/pictures/1951855">Photo - OU asistant coach Jackie Shipp was fired on Tuesday and marks the third coaching change in two days.  PHOTO BY STEVE SISNEY, The Oklahoman
OU asistant coach Jackie Shipp was fired on Tuesday and marks the third coaching change in two days. PHOTO BY STEVE SISNEY, The Oklahoman

During his time on Stoops’ staff, Shipp has recruited and developed several top-notch defensive tackles, including Tommie Harris, Dusty Dvoracek and Gerald McCoy.

Harris and McCoy were each first-round NFL Draft selections and All-Americans; Dvoracek was a two-time first-team All-Big 12 selection and played a few seasons with the NFL’s Chicago Bears.

Lately, though, Oklahoma’s defensive line — particularly its interior — has come under intense scrutiny due to a perceived decrease in talent and underwhelming on-field performances.

“My thing with personnel moves is, I trust Bob,” Runnels said. “I trust him to do what’s right for the program. Ultimately, this is his job that’s on the line.

“That’s one of the things he told us when we got there. He said, ‘There’s only three ways I can make this team better: I can recruit better players; I can develop you guys better; or I have to get rid of people.’ ”

For the 2013 recruiting season, Shipp lost out on four-star defensive tackle Justin Manning, the brother of former Sooner DeMarcus Granger, who signed with Texas A&M last week.

But, after Manning committed to the Aggies, Shipp finished strong, getting four-star tackle Kerrick Huggins to flip from A&M to OU, plus signing Matthew Romar and Charles Walker, as well as Trinity Valley Community College transfer Quincy Russell.

“That’s all coach Shipp knows,” Runnels said. “I hate to see him have to make this transition, but he’ll bounce back. He’s a damn good coach.”

Meanwhile, Stoops is apparently close to filling Patton’s position; reported Tuesday that OU is close to hiring West Virginia offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh.

Bedenbaugh spent six seasons on Mike Leach’s staff at Texas Tech before a four-year stint under Mike Stoops at Arizona. He’s been on Dana Holgorsen’s West Virginia staff for the past two seasons, and has developed a reputation as an outstanding recruiter.

by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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