“I grabbed him, put my arm around him and said, ‘Hey, Rip, we're going to put you on scholarship for the next season. You've earned it and we appreciate you,'” Stoops remembered Thursday.
“We recognize — and always have here — guys that are making a strong contribution and feel they should be rewarded for it when they do. Rip has a lot of great years in front of us with us. He'll continue to get better.”
DAMIEN WILLIAMS: ‘I FEEL GREAT'
Junior running back Damien Williams said he's enjoyed having some time off to allow his ankle to fully heal.
“I feel great,” Williams said. “I feeling way better than I did a couple weeks ago when we were playing Notre Dame and West Virginia. My ankle has been able to get better.”
Williams, who transferred from Arizona Western and became OU's starting running back in its fourth game, led the Sooners with 905 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns.
He also showed the ability to break off long, thrilling touchdown runs; his season-long came in a 95-yarder inside Dallas' Cotton Bowl Stadium against archrival Texas.
Williams, though, injured his ankle in a late-October home loss to Notre Dame, and was limited the following week at Iowa State.
“It's great to get this big break, because you actually get to focus on your injuries and what you need to work on,” Williams said. “I feel like this break is well needed for anybody.”
MIKE STOOPS ON SUMLIN: ‘HE OWES ME'
When OU defensive coordinator Mike Stoops became Arizona's head coach before the 2004 season, he tried to hire Kevin Sumlin as his offensive coordinator.
Stoops was fired in the middle of last season, and returned to Oklahoma in January. Sumlin, a former OU assistant, now coaches Texas A&M.
“I might still be at Arizona if he would've went with me; I tell him that all the time,” Mike Stoops joked.
“It worked out better for him than it did for me, so he owes me.”