Oklahoma football is staggered. Banished to the Insight Bowl, the Sooners cry out for direction and toughness and a touch of magic that seems to have vanished.
A messiah has been identified. Paging Mike Stoops. Paging Mike Stoops. Please report to the Switzer Center.
Unencumbered by employment, Brother Mike's resume' drifts through a variety of college football capitals. Columbus, Lincoln, Norman. On Tuesday, Arkansas joined the crowd looking for a defensive coordinator.
OU is not on that list, though the masses wish it was. Brent Venables' head would soothe many a savage Sooner breast.
Soonerville looks back longingly on the 13-2 Orange Bowl and the 10-3 Cotton Bowl, wondering why OU can't play defense like that. They tend to forget the 38-28 Bedlam and 35-7 Big 12 title game.
Don't get the wrong idea. Mike Stoops was a whale of a defensive coordinator. But he was not a wizard. He was not untouchable.
Besides, we're playing a different game in 2011 than we played in 2001. The numbers are bigger — for everybody. But the rankings? About the same.
OU's average Big 12 finish in scoring defense under Mike Stoops: 2.0. Second. OU's average Big 12 finish in scoring under Venables: 2.25. OU's average Big 12 finish in total defense under Brother Mike: 3.2. OU's average Big 12 finish in total defense under Venables: 2.5.
Even taking out 1999, when the initial Stoops staff was whipping the lads into shape, the numbers don't change much, and Mike Stoops never coordinated a defense whose offense was playing no-huddle and inviting opponents to run 90-100 plays a game.
So don't ask me to light a torch and demand Venables' ouster. Sacrificial lambs don't do much for me.
Besides, bringing back Mike Stoops doesn't seem like big brother's style, even though upon questioning a few weeks back, Bob Stoops said he would welcome Mike back, should there be an opening.
But does Bobby Stoops strike you as a man who says, “OK, I give up. I can't do it without you? Please help me.” That's not the Stoops I've seen for 13 years.
It's not like Mike needs a job. He's got a nice parachute payoff from Arizona and plenty of suitors. Old Youngstown pal Bo Pelini needs a coordinator at Nebraska; Urban Meyer already has talked to Mike about Ohio State. Lots of opportunities all over.
That said, maybe the Sooners do miss Mike Stoops' attitude. He was fire and brimstone; the players responded.
But Venables and Bob Stoops aren't exactly monks on the sideline or the practice field. They can ream out with the best of them.
And who knows if that even works anymore? It worked 10 years ago. Ten years is a long time, as the development of offensive alignment attests.
Catching a few Arizona games a year, Mike Stoops seemed ready to combust at most any time. It took awhile for the ‘Zonas to get going under Brother Mike, then they did, then fell off. And even accounting for the difference in talent, Arizona never remotely approached the defense that OU played before or after Stoops' departure.
Mike Stoops has a solid place in OU history. A national champion defensive coordinator, along with Larry Lacewell and Gary Gibbs. Stoops was a heck of a coach and probably still is.
That doesn't mean he's the messiah.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.