Bob Stoops was asked an interesting question at his press conference Monday. What does he consider to be the hallmarks of the OU football “culture”?
It’s not the kind of question that can easily be answered off the top of your head. But Stoops gave a revealing answer.
“One that continually tries to develop its players,” Stoops said.
Good answer. Player development – be it Jason White or Keenan Clayton or Chris Messner or a hundred other guys – has been at the cornerstone of Stoops’ great Sooner success.
That’s not to say that the Sooners don’t recruit well. In fact, Stoops shot down the idea that Texas outrecruits OU, and the Sooners make it up on the back end.
Sure, Texas gets more five- and four-star recruits than OU (or most anyone else). But much of that is politics.
“I feel as far as recruiting, we like whatever stars we got,” Stoops said. “We like our players. Meaning when we recruit a guy, it isn’t because of how many stars. We may like how he fits, or like some of his intangibles, or we like how tough he is.
“That part of it, we’ve got good players, too. So fortunately, in some of these games, the last few, we’ve played well.”
But Stoops takes pride in the player development. Takes pride in “demanding” a lot out of his players.
“I’m not afraid to say demanding in what we expect and how to work in the offseason, how to work during the season,” Stoops said. “Most players, they want to be in the NFL, they want to be all-American type players. Only way that works if we’re demanding. Maybe we do it better one year than another. But we’ve got to make sure we continue to challenge our players.”
Whatever the reason for the success of the culture, Stoops is 9-5 against Texas. Bud Wilkinson went 9-8 against the Longhorns. Barry Switzer went 9-5-2.
Beat Texas on Saturday, and Stoops will have the OU record for most wins ever against the Longhorns.
Only Matty Bell and Jess Nealy have beaten the ‘Horns more. Nealy went 11-16 against Texas from 1940-66. Bell went 11-7-2 against Texas while coaching TCU from 1923-28, Texas A&M from 1929-33 and SMU from 1935-41 and 1945-49.