NORMAN — Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops fired three assistants last February, replacing them with coaches who brought impressive recruiting backgrounds.
This weekend might be a sign that things are turning back around for the Sooners, who have been criticized for a perceived talent shortage the past few years.
New defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery, who was hired away from Michigan, is bringing in two California defensive tackles — Tashon Smallwood from Fresno and Ainuu Taua from Lompoc — for Saturday's home game against TCU.
The Sooners are also hosting five-star athlete Adoree' Jackson (Gardena, Calif.); five-star running back Joe Mixon (Oakley, Calif.); and four-star athlete Michiah Quick (Fresno, Calif.) this weekend.
Josh McCuistion, who covers OU recruiting for the Rivals network site SoonerScoop.com, said the staffing changes haven't just affected recruiting in the new coaches' position groups, but across the board.
“You can tell talking to the (high school) coaches that deal with these guys year in and year out,” McCuistion said. “They'll say, ‘Man, Oklahoma's more present. They're around. We're hearing from them more.'
“Just little things like that, which, to the kids doesn't mean a whole lot. For the coaches, that's a big part of it. You want to make sure you're welcome in those doors anytime you go in. They used to feel like Oklahoma expected the kids to come there, rather than wanting to work to make sure they came.”
Today, though, the entire OU coaching staff seems fully intent on outworking the competition.
Co-offensive coordinator Jay Norvell, who has been widely viewed as Oklahoma's ace recruiter the past few years, said he's been impressed with Montgomery, offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh and special teams coordinator/tight ends coach Jay Boulware so far.