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Oklahoma football: Bob Stoops has a makeover on his hands

COMMENTARY — After the Cotton Bowl loss to Texas A&M, it's apparent the Sooners need to upgrade their personnel, both on offense and defense. But in no way is the Schooner on fire.
by Berry Tramel Published: January 5, 2013

Guess who had Bama-style interior linemen? Bama. And Johnny Football zapped the Crimson Tide for 29 points.

Truth is, the Sooners are stunningly shy of linebackers who can run and tackle. That hasn't been the case in Norman in forever, but it is now.

Surely that's what the Brothers Stoops had in mind with their talk after the game.

“We had guys plenty of times in position to make a play,” Bob Stoops said. “Couldn't make a play. That's just where we are.”

Where we are. Seems like code for who we've got.

So OU is going to get an offensive personnel makeover and needs a defensive personnel makeover.

But unless another Johnny Football or Roy Williams drops out of the sky, there are no quick fixes. Stoops tried that last offseason, bringing back his brother to coordinate the defense, at the expense of longtime lieutenant Brent Venables.

The result? The 2011 Sooners were torched by Seth Doege, Brandon Weeden and Robert Griffin III. The 2012 Sooners were torched by Nick Florence, Geno Smith, Clint Chelf and Manziel. Turns out Mike Stoops was not the panacea his brother expected.

“We've got to make improvements in all areas, run defense, pass defense, pressures, whatever we're doing,” Bob Stoops said. “But again, some of it, too, our players have got to make some improvements.”

Again, two straight 10-3 seasons is not disaster. In fact, it's a sign of strength, to have that much success in what is viewed as turbulent times.

However, the most disconcerting development of the last two years is that neither team improved down the stretch.

Stoops' teams historically get better and better as the season progresses, be they Big Bowl or rebuilding seasons.

But in 2011 and 2012, OU peaked in October and gradually slid back. Who knows why. But we do know who's responsible.

Which means Stoops has his work cut out in his most interesting offseason since his first.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at