Like I keep telling you, coaches believe in their power to impact young lives. It goes beyond Mixon’s reputation as the second coming of Adrian Peterson. Stoops stuck his neck out for Ryan Broyles, who was a difference-maker. Stoops also stuck his neck out for Jaz Reynolds, who was not. Doing the same for Mixon wouldn’t be popular among those of us who think of things beyond touchdowns and bowl games, but popularity and right isn’t necessarily the same thing.
Of course, who knows if Mixon even would want to stay at OU? He could forever be known as the guy who punched the girl.
Transfer to Oregon or Auburn or somewhere, and Mixon would just be some guy with a troubled past. Murky background. In Oklahoma, we’re going to discover every tiny detail of what happened at Pickleman’s the other night. Mixon could be branded with a scarlet letter. He might prefer to bolt and start over somewhere else.
It’s a Solomonic situation for Stoops.
That’s the lot of the head coach.
Any head coach. Decisions like this are not why he’s paid $5 million a year. Stoops is paid $5 million a year to win Bedlam and beat Texas and send OU fans out partying on Poydras after the Sugar Bowl. Coaches in Tahlequah and Rush Springs have to make decisions like this all the time, too, it’s just that few care.
Lots of people care about the Joe Mixon case.
If this was an offensive tackle in trouble, it wouldn’t get this kind of scrutiny. If Mixon was a three-star tailback, instead of a precious five-star, you wouldn’t have everyone on the street chatting about it.
But Mixon has become a legend before his own time, even though we don’t know if he’s the next Adrian Peterson or the next Jermie Calhoun.
And if we ever find out rests in the decisions of Greg Mashburn and Bob Stoops.
Editor’s Note: Comments were originally disabled on this column. We have enabled the comments to be consistent with our treatment in the comments section of previous sports commentary about this continuing story.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 newsok.com/berrytramel.