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Oklahoma football: Mike Stoops owns up

by Berry Tramel Published: March 8, 2013

Mike Stoops admitted on Thursday that OU football had a coaching problem last season. And he was part of it.

“Last year, we take full responsibility as a staff,” Stoops said. “Certainly not an indication of a coach’s ability or inability.”

The Sooners played solid defense through the first eight games of the season. Then OU beat Baylor 42-34, West Virginia 50-49 and OSU 51-48 in overtime. Finally, Texas A&M routed the Sooners 41-13 in the Cotton Bowl.

Mike Stoops talks with the press before the start of Spring Football at the University of Oklahoma (OU) on Thursday, March 7, 2013 in Norman, Okla. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman

Mike Stoops talks with the press before the start of Spring Football at the University of Oklahoma (OU) on Thursday, March 7, 2013 in Norman, Okla. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman

The yardage figures from those games were ugly: an acceptable 424 by Baylor, an historic 778 by West Virginia, an acceptable 490 by OSU and 633 by A&M.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” Stoops said. “At times last year we played well. But down the stretch, when we got against some good offense, didn’t play nearly as well as we need to here at Oklahoma.”

For the Friday Oklahoman, our man Jason Kersey wrote about the OU defense going into the spring. You can read that here. I wrote about Bob Stoops’ coaching changes, which you can read here.

Mike Stoops admitted that he and his linebackers coach, Tim Kish, who came to OU with Stoops from Arizona, weren’t prepared for Big 12 offenses.

“Our staff gained experience as well,” Stoops said. “We learned a lot. Myself, obviously, coach Kish. Half our (defensive) staff was new to this league. The more you’re in it, the more adaptable you get. I didn’t understand Baylor to extent we understand them now. I think you learn a lot about your opponents. It was little bit of a disadvantage. We didn’t have all the answers that we needed.

“Beyond that, it was the best offensive skill I’ve seen in a long time in one conference. Then adding A&M (to the schedule) did us no favors. In the long run, maybe it’s good. Exposed some weaknesses in our team. I look at it as a positive.”

Some of the defensive ploys Stoops tried failed miserably. Like the no-linebacker set.

“We won a lot of championships,” Stoops said. “We tried something a little different. Still, we’re not balanced in our defense on what we want to do.

“Playing without two linebackers over the course of the season, it was like no other season I’ve ever seen. Being a little more adjustable to those formations is going to be important for us, because of that’s what you see in this league. It’s a wide-open league that goes 100 mph and really puts a lot of skll on the field and tries to separate your defense.”

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
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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