NORMAN — Save for an unexpected twist, Oklahoma will return an entire full-time football coaching staff intact next season for the first time since 2009.
And based on defensive coordinator Mike Stoops' remarks on national signing day, that's a great thing for the Sooners.
“This is the strongest staff we've had in a while,” Stoops said. “These guys have done a great job. Everybody comes together. Everybody just helps one another, and that's been key to our success here in the last month.
“Just in the last year, we've changed the whole vibe of Oklahoma football.”
Over the past two offseasons, Sooners coach Bob Stoops has replaced five assistant coaches. Former defensive coordinator Brent Venables took the same position at Clemson, and Willie Martinez, James Patton, Jackie Shipp and Bruce Kittle were all let go.
Bob Stoops has never publicly called those four changes what they were — firings — an obvious sign of how difficult those decisions were for him.
Still, the coaches Stoops hired to replace them have proved exemplary, both on the field and the recruiting trail.
“Sometimes change is part of it,” Mike Stoops said. “We've changed four coaches in the last two years. We've added … three new quality control coaches, a couple new GAs.”
Offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh, defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery and tight ends coach/special teams coordinator Jay Boulware all were impressive during their first season in Norman, each dealing with their own depth issues about as well as they could have.