There's an obvious link between Kansas State and Oklahoma's football programs, in the form of Sooners coach Bob Stoops.
Stoops was at Kansas State as an assistant under Bill Snyder from 1989-95.
“I had a great seven years there,” Stoops said Tuesday during his weekly news conference. “I've always thought back on those fondly. I have a lot of great relationships and friends from being there.”
Snyder is back and winning at K-State the same way he did when he initially built the program. It's all about tough-nosed physicality and fundamentals for the Wildcats (7-0), who enter this week's game with OU ranked eighth in the latest BCS standings.
“No. It doesn't surprise me at all,” Stoops said of KSU's resurgence under Snyder, the 72-year-old who returned to Manhattan in 2009. “And that's a compliment, because I know how Coach does it and works and has been part of it for a long time.”
Stoops had to laugh when talking about the conditions of the program when Snyder's staff first arrived. A Sports Illustrated story called K-State “Futility U.” just before Snyder's first season.
“I don't know that anybody can really look back, unless you were there at that time, and see how really poor and rotten it was,” Stoops said. “There's no describing it. There really isn't. It was horrendous. I hope no one there's mad at me (for saying that). It was. They know it. I can't say it any other way.”
So, why would Stoops leave Kent State to take a job there?
“I was young and naïve,” he said. “I never thought for a minute we wouldn't win. I had that much respect and faith in Coach Snyder, having worked with him all those years at Iowa. All we did at Iowa was win. … Sometimes, if you've been jaded by this profession and in it a little longer, you'd look at this situation and go, ‘Good luck with that.'”
Stoops said he didn't even ask Snyder what his salary would be.
“When Coach Snyder called and said he had the secondary job for me,” Stoops said, “I was squealing my tires, headed out of there.”
VARIETY OF INJURY REPORTS FLOAT AROUND
Stoops was hopeful about the conditions of injured cornerback Jamell Fleming (knee) and linebacker Tom Wort (head).
On Fleming: “There's still hope Jamell could play.”
On Wort: “I believe (he will play), yes.”
A couple of hours later, a report on an Oklahoma City radio station said both Fleming and Wort would again be out. That report was then retracted.
Fleming had arthroscopic surgery a week ago. It's still unlikely that he would be available this week, again forcing Aaron Colvin and Gabe Lynn to play the boundary corner spot.
Wort, out with a concussion sustained two weeks ago against Kansas, will be evaluated later in the week. One source familiar with Wort's condition said he is expected to play this week.
Conditions for other injured Sooners, including defensive tackle Casey Walker, were not known Tuesday.
PASSING GAME PROVES ‘UNPRECISE,' COACH SAYS
Uncharacteristically inconsistent play from Oklahoma's quarterback and receivers during the Texas Tech loss forced Stoops to invent a word Tuesday to describe it.
“Unprecise, I think, is the best way to say it,” he said, referring to Landry Jones and the team's receivers. “We have guys in spots that we're used to converting and picking up. We had some drops, some poor throws … all of it together was not very precise. It showed.”
Jones finished with 412 yards and five touchdowns, but Stoops has says those numbers are misleading because of long, late scores and misfires early in the game.
DEPTH CHART UPDATES
Marshall Musil is listed as the second-team fullback, but Stoops said it's actually been freshman Aaron Ripkowski for “about six, seven weeks.” Ripkowski was in for the goal-line play in which Trey Millard, the starting fullback, was at tailback. The play went for a loss because of poor blocking on the right side.
Brennan Clay is listed ahead of Roy Finch for second-team running back, though Stoops said that's a situational, package-by-package deal. Finch was the first back in the game this past Saturday, with Dominique Whaley out because of an illness.
Stephen Good, who has been out due to a concussion, is listed as the starter at left guard. But co-offensive coordinator Jay Norvell said Monday that Good's replacement, Adam Shead, was one of the few Sooners to play well last week.