The University of Oklahoma Board of Regents approved a two-year extension to football coach Bob Stoops' contract Thursday afternoon.
The action, which extends Stoops' contract through the 2020 season, includes no pay raise or other changes to Stoops' current deal, an OU spokesman confirmed.
Stoops, 52, is set to earn $4.55 million this year, his 15th as the Sooners' coach. Regents last extended his contract in September 2011, when he agreed to a seven-year deal worth $34.5 million before bonuses.
With annual stay bonuses, Stoops' salary was already set to increase to $5.15 million for the 2016-18 seasons.
Stoops has compiled a career record of 152-37, with eight Big 12 championships and the 2000 national title.
He's one of four coaches in OU history to win at least 100 career games, and is only six wins from surpassing Barry Switzer as the Sooners' all-time winningest coach.
If Stoops stays in Norman through the end of his newly extended contract, he'll tie Bennie Owen as the longest-tenured OU football coach with 22 years on the job.
NELSON SAYS DEFENSE LACKED LEADERSHIP IN 2012
Oklahoma's defense came under fire late last season after giving up eye-popping point and yardage totals in games against Baylor, West Virginia, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M.
So far this season, the Sooner defense looks much improved. Defensive coordinator Mike Stoops has installed a base 3-3-5 scheme, and OU has looked more aggressive than it did last year.
Senior linebacker Corey Nelson said player are “more engaged” this year, and said last year's struggles were largely a result of leadership.
“I feel like we didn't have no leadership on defense last year,” Nelson said. “We just didn't have no guys stepping up and taking control of the defense and grabbing it by the horns.
“We're all running to the ball. That's one thing that we did not do last season or maybe even the season before that and if we don't run to the ball, we get punished for it so that's one thing that has changed and I see a lot of us doing.”
Nelson leads the team with 20 tackles through three games, and fellow linebacker Frank Shannon is second with 19 stops.
The Sooners have this weekend off before their looming Sept. 28 trip to Notre Dame. The Irish beat OU 30-13 last year in Norman.
“We have to come out there and give it all that we've got,” Nelson said. “This will be the biggest game and the most important game of the season thus far. It'll show what our defense is really made of.”
SOONERS STILL THIN AT OFFENSIVE TACKLE
Offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh was blunt when asked how he felt about his backup tackles.
“Not great,” Bedenbaugh said. “It's reality. I don't feel very good about it.”
Juniors Tyrus Thompson and Daryl Williams are the Sooners' starters at tackle, and both have played well. But after them, the situation gets murky.
Bedenbaugh said senior guard Bronson Irwin is working as the third tackle.
“After that, we've gotta have guys who step up and continue to get better,” Bedenbaugh said, seemingly referring to sophomore Derek Farniok and junior Josiah St. John.
St. John was one of three junior-college transfers the Sooners added in their 2013 recruiting class, but so far, none of them have seen any significant action.
Guards Tony Feo and Dionte Savage have played in three games, but St. John has yet to make an appearance.
“You know, if you bring in a JUCO kid in December, where he's here through spring ball, then those are the guys you really expect to play,” Bedenbaugh said. “These kids got here in the summer. Some of them later than others.
“It's hard to get on the field. We've got some pretty quality guys starting in front of them.”
MONTGOMERY HAS TO KEEP PUSHING PHILLIPS
Through three games, Oklahoma's defensive line has certainly exceeded the low preseason expectations many had for it.
Perhaps no defensive lineman has been more impressive, though, than sophomore tackle Jordan Phillips. He was a four-star prospect out of high school, but to this point in his career, hadn't developed enough to see any significant playing time.
New defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery arrived in February and began making an impact on Phillips' work ethic and skills, and the results are clear. Phillips has started all three games this year.
“I put my foot on his throat every single day,” Montgomery said. “Because the minute you let up … you give him an inch, he's gonna take a foot. He's a good kid. He's learning. He's learned how to play at a high level, and when he does, it shows up.
“Sometimes you've gotta be hard on him, but at the same time, you've gotta be critical of the mistakes they make, you've gotta teach them how to do it better, and I'm not real negative in my approach.”
Junior offensive tackle Daryl Williams, on the offense's versatility:
“We have the potential to do anything — run, pass, whatever. I don't think we've reached our potential yet. It's really not surprising to me or anybody on the offense or the team for what we did on Saturday or last week or a couple weeks ago with rushing and with passing last week.”