Oklahoma notebook: Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads reminds assistant Kenith Pope of Barry Switzer

Kenith Pope, who was an Oklahoma defensive back in the early 1970s, has coached Iowa State running backs for the past four years under Paul Rhoads.
by Jason Kersey and Stephanie Kuzydym Published: November 1, 2012

Iowa State assistant Kenith Pope's boss reminds him of his own college football coach.

Pope, who was an Oklahoma defensive back in the early 1970s, has coached Iowa State running backs for the past four years under Paul Rhoads.

Barry (Switzer) was a very energetic guy, and he does remind me of Coach Rhoads,” Pope said in a telephone interview with The Oklahoman.

“(Switzer) knew what to say, he knew how to motivate you each week, and he was fun to be around. ... (Rhoads is) a special guy and has a special way of motivating young men, and that was the same way with Coach Switzer.”

Pope, who has been an assistant coach all over the country during his two-decade career, said he loves working for Rhoads because of his energy and enthusiasm, which has shown through in passionate postgame speeches after big wins.

“I am so proud to be your coach!” Rhoads tells players in the online videos that went viral.

“What you see is really what he is,” Pope said. “He is that way all the time, and all the players know this is real. Everything about Coach Rhoads is real.”


Senior defensive lineman David King said he harbors no disdain for any team on Oklahoma's schedule ... with one exception.

“I don't have any hate for any team, outside of Texas,” King said with a laugh.

He's got no problem pulling Saturday for Oklahoma State to upset Kansas State, or for any other team to beat the Wildcats until they've clinched the Big 12 championship.

Kansas State, still unbeaten and ranked No. 2 in the BCS Standings, beat Oklahoma 24-19 on Sept. 22. The Wildcats would have to lose two conference games — and the Sooners would have to win out — for Oklahoma to be conference champion.

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by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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by Stephanie Kuzydym
Stephanie Kuzydym learned at a young age that life is a game of inches. That's just one reason why she loves football. Kuzydym joined The Oklahoman in July 2012. Before arriving in the state, Kuzydym was an intern for the sports departments at...
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