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OU coach Bob Stoops: Keeping upperclassmen focused a tough job

BY JAKE TROTTER, Staff Writer, Modified: December 21, 2010 at 2:37 pm •  Published: December 21, 2010

Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops admitted Tuesday that keeping upperclassmen players “all in” from the end of the season to the bowl game has been a challenge in the past.

“That's a legitimate factor,” Stoops said during his pre-Fiesta Bowl press conference — the Sooners will meet Connecticut on Jan. 1.

“Juniors and seniors already with a foot out the door. We had a bunch of kids already graduate, they're on to the next step as soon as they walk out your locker room they're in to something different after that game. Or a junior that's going out early. And that is an issue that in these games can be hard to manage, too.

“It's talking to them about it, reasoning with them to stay all in until after the game then make those decisions. Because I believe if they already know exactly what they're doing, subconsciously, they've got a foot out, instead of waiting.”

Stoops also confessed that could have been a factor in any of OU's five straight bowl losses. In most of those games, the Sooners had several underclassmen that declared for the NFL Draft the following week.

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