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Oklahoma football: Bob Stoops' resolve a product of his coaching counterpart on Saturday — Bill Snyder

by Jenni Carlson Published: November 22, 2013

MANHATTAN, Kan. — Bob Stoops has a stiff upper lip.

Always has.

Probably always will.

Part of it is upbringing. Growing up in a blue-collar, hardscrabble town like Youngstown, Ohio, teaches you how to be strong when times get tough.

Part of it is coaching pedigree. Learning from square-jawed men like Hayden Fry and Bill Snyder shows you how to act when adversity comes.

As injuries mounted and quarterbacks changed and struggles brewed this season, the Oklahoma coach's resolve has been a huge plus. It's buoyed his players. It's stabilized his program.

“Excuses aren't acceptable to him,” Sooner center Gabe Ikard said, “and that's one of the reasons why this program is the way it is.”

Of course, it might not save Stoops and the Sooners on Saturday at Kansas State.

That's because no one does resolve better than Snyder. When he took over K-State in 1989, the program was the worst in college football history. The Wildcats had won 130 games in the prior 51 seasons.

But Snyder preached process, then stuck to it like wet skin on frozen metal.

The results were dramatic.

Still are. The Wildcats lost to North Dakota State earlier this season, and while I understand that the Bison are a good FCS team, they are still an FCS team. But because Snyder puts his head down and goes to work and teaches his players to do the same thing, the Wildcats have improved to the point that Baylor and Oklahoma State have to be thanking their lucky stars that they played K-State early in the season.

Much like his mentor, Stoops usually produces teams that improve as the season progresses.

Not so much this season.

That is a rarity in the Stoops Era. Even in seasons that have been rough, the Sooners have showed continued signs of improvement, but this season has been a struggle. Injuries and suspensions have exacerbated an already inconsistent bunch of players.

But Stoops has remained steadfast.

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by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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