Bob Stoops told a great story last week at the OU Caravan in Dallas (actually Plano). He’s told it before, I’m sure, but it was really insightful in a variety of ways.
Someone from the crowd said they loved former OU backup Patrick Fletcher, who played in 1998-00 and thus was on Stoops’ first two Sooner teams.
Here’s the transcript of Stoops’ story:
“P-Fletch? Yeah, I loved him, too. Listen, you gotta know the story. Patrick Fletcher, we get there, is a backup quarterback, beautiful kid. Great team guy. We loved him as coaches. Everybody loved him. Team loved him. Backup QB to Josh Heupel.
“We got a fake punt (actually field goal) in our first year, homecoming, Texas A&M. We got it set up perfect. I was a little bit crazy then.
“They guard all the tight ends and the wings, they’re spread out. Sure enough, four or five guys cover ‘em all. Middle of the field is wide open. Kicker’s supposed to go right down the middle of the field. Patrick’s going to hit him.
“We told everybody about the fake but the kicker. It was beautiful. Parted like the Red Sea. I’m looking down, where in the heck’s the kicker? Not what I said actually.
“P-Fletch is looking around. No kicker? He runs, honest to God, he runs 12, 14 yards. It wasn’t like five. He makes a first down he has no business making. And it’s in the first half and we put it in for a touchdown after that and we end up beating ‘em 56-, to, I don’t know what, we killed ‘em (51-6).
“Everytime I see him, today when I see him, I grab him, give him a big hug him, ‘you saved my butt buddy. You’re the best.’ He knows it. He’ll tell you.”
Great story. But also insightful. A few things:
1. First, Fletcher really was OU’s backup quarterback in 1999. Fletcher was a salty competitor but had nowhere near the size or talent to play Big 12 football. We talk about lack of quarterback depth in football these days, be it at OU or anywhere else? That’s laughable compared to OU 1999. The Sooners were out of quarterbacks when Stoops and Mike Leach arrived in December 1998.
2. Stoops said he was “a little bit crazy back then.” Uh-oh. All the people who say Stoops has changed? They now have self-incriminating evidence. I think Stoops still takes some gambles, and I think any radical change in his game-decision demeanor is overrated. But there is it. He’s admitted it himself.
3. Never hurts to remind people of 45-point wins over A&M. The Aggies’ 41-13 rout of the Sooners in the Cotton Bowl still smarts and showed how vulnerable OU has become. That led to all kinds of decisions, including three staff firings by Stoops.