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Oklahoma football: Bob Stoops has brought in new faces; with that comes new expectations

Of Stoops' nine coaches for the Insight Bowl barely 14 months ago, five are gone. Four firings and one demotion, which led to Brent Venables' departure.
by Berry Tramel Published: March 7, 2013

NORMAN — Strange spring at the Switzer Center. New faces. New expectations.

Of Bob Stoops' nine coaches for the Insight Bowl barely 14 months ago, five are gone. Four firings and one demotion, which led to Brent Venables' departure.

Which in truth is tied to the lack of outside optimism surrounding the 2013 Sooners. OU is on a 10-3 treadmill, and with much talent departed, another 10-3 seems awfully ambitious. The Sooners figure to be picked no higher than third in the Big 12, behind TCU and OSU, and with the annual infatuation with the Longhorns, perhaps OU will be slotted behind Texas, too.

“Doesn't change anything at all,” Stoops said Thursday at a press conference to kick off spring practice. “We've never put much stock or cared” about prognostications. “We'll see if the players do or not. They're the ones who ultimately have to do it.”

Not terribly insightful but absolutely illuminating compared to Stoops discussing his staff changes.

A review: Stoops fired Jackie Shipp, Bruce Kittle and, essentially, James Patton, who at least found gainful employment at Indiana before the official announcement. Stoops has hired Bill Bedenbaugh to coach offensive linemen, Jerry Montgomery to coach defensive line and Jay Boulware to coach tight ends and special teams.

That's a year after Stoops fired Willie Martinez, demoted Venables (who jumped to Clemson) and hired Mike Stoops and Tim Kish.

A guy who had never fired a coach suddenly has fired four in 14 months. But Robespierre is in no mood to talk about the changes or what led to them.

“I'm not much about talking about my personal feelings about much of anything,” Stoops said. “Let alone what I do with my work.”

No holes in that theory. Not even Tony Soprano's shrink could get Stoops talking.

“Those are private conversations,” Stoops said. “There's always different reasons. We've had coaching changes over 15 years (virtually all because guys got promotions elsewhere). Different times, different ways. We'll adjust with this one best we can.”

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by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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