OU football: Bobby Jack Wright is in charge of special teams

While one coach has the title, other assistants will pitch in to instruct OU's kicking and coverage teams
by Michael Baldwin Published: March 31, 2012
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Having Wright in charge might enhance additional opportunities to create some special teams momentum-changing plays.

OU hasn't had a kickoff return for a touchdown since 2007 and no punt return TDs since 2009.

The Sooners were known for blocked kicks early in the Stoops era, but they haven't blocked a field goal in eight years and have only one blocked punt since 2008.

Wright's extensive background is a benefit.

During a 30-year career that includes being an assistant on the 1979 Texas A&I Division II national championship team, Wright has coached every position except offensive line.

Few, maybe no one, have experienced the Red River rivalry like Wright.

Before he arrived at OU Wright was profiled in a 1989 Sports Illustrated article that chronicled recruiting journeys as a Texas assistant before national signing day back when there was more drama surrounding the process.

Wright's recruiting ties are extensive. He's developed relationships with hundreds of Texas high school coaches.

His Red River story predates the Big 12 era, when he was on Texas' staff a dozen years, surviving three coaching changes.

The day after he was hired 14 years ago, Stoops hired the Mission, Texas, native with a 10-gallon-hat name — Bobby Jack. It was a ringing endorsement to Wright's impact on the recruiting trails.

Bobby Jack Wright has enjoyed an interesting career. A coach known for his down-home humor and straightforward approach has experienced one of college football's best rivalries from both sidelines for a quarter century.

Wright hit a milestone last season. He now has spent more years in Norman (13) than Austin (12).

“It's certainly been a great 13 years at Oklahoma,” Wright said. “We've certainly won our share of games, won more than our share of championships. Norman is a great town. I've had two daughters graduate from OU and another is a sophomore at OU. It's been a heck of a run.”

Surely it's been strange to be involved with burnt orange boosters a dozen years followed by 13 years in Sooner Nation.

“Not really,” Wright said. “While some people might see differences the two programs are very similar from the standpoint both have great traditions. It's a great college rivalry. It's fun. It's intense. It's important to both sides. There's great respect for each other.”

As he enters his 14th OU season, Wright downplays the perception his role will change dramatically by being named special teams coordinator.

Players, though, have noticed subtle differences.

“Coach Bobby Jack Wright really knows what's going on,” Way said. “He's been around the game for awhile. It's good to have someone who kind of helps with everything again.”

by Michael Baldwin
Reporter
Mike Baldwin has been a sports reporter for The Oklahoman since 1982. Mike graduated from Okmulgee High School in 1974 and attended Oklahoma Christian University, graduating with a journalism degree in 1978. Mike's first job was sports editor...
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Special teams production

Oklahoma has slipped in overall special teams production three of the last four years, but consistently has ranked among the top 40 programs in the country, according to a detailed formula compiled by Phil Steele Publications and Joey Lucci.

Phil Steele Publications has ranked OU in the top 15 in overall special teams in seven of coach Bob Stoops' 13 seasons.

Listed below is OU's overall rank in special teams during the Stoops era and where each unit was ranked the past five years, according to Phil Steele's formula.

Year Overall- punt coverage- punt returns- KO returns- KO coverage

2011 34th- 102nd- 57th- 24th- 64th

2010 37th- 2nd- 54th- 65th- 53rd

2009 12th- 2nd- 3rd- 27th- 83rd

2008 101st- 9th- 67th- 102nd- 5th

2007 6th- 90th- 78th- 71st- 1st

(Other Stoops years, overall only)

2006 9th

2005 27th

2004 53rd

2003 11th

2002 13th

2001 29th

2000 11th

1999 2nd

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