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Oklahoma football: What happened to Bob Stoops' no-excuses approach?

Bob Stoops came to Norman 14 years ago preaching a no-excuses approach to OU football. Since the Notre Dame game, it seems he's forgotten that sermon.
by Berry Tramel Published: November 1, 2012

Maybe he's just frustrated by the losses to Kansas State and the Knute Rocknes. Or maybe he's just tired of the notion that Oklahoma football is somehow in free fall because it hasn't won a Big Bowl in 12 years or a Big 12 title in 22 months.

Can't blame him for that. I'm not into sky-is-falling mode, either. The Sooner program is in good shape.

The Sooners need to get better to challenge for a national championship, no doubt. OU could use some linebacking help, and the lines could use some reinforcing.

But the idea that Stoops has gone soft, that he's lost his edge and his innovation and the program is sliding, I don't buy. He seems mostly the same old Stoops to me.

Except on this excuse thing. The old Stoops wouldn't have trotted out “judgment calls” as a key to the game, especially unprovoked. Stoops volunteered the theory in his opening soliloquy Monday.

“We were just on the wrong side of some judgment calls, a tight football game, they're part of the game,” Stoops said.

He was referring to the holding call on Bronson Irwin and the lack of an interference penalty against Notre Dame's Dan Fox on the pass in which Te'o intercepted.

Those weren't blatant missed calls. Looked like holding to me. The Fox hit on Jalen Saunders was bang-bang, and the fewer bang-bang interference penalties in football, the better. Te'o's interception looked good, too. Close, but good.

Judgment calls did not determine the OU-Notre Dame outcome. And there was a time when Stoops wouldn't have said anything even if they had.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at 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

by Berry Tramel
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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