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OU's Bob Stoops addresses possible conference realignment

BY JOHN ROHDE, Staff Writer Modified: September 19, 2011 at 2:25 pm •  Published: September 19, 2011
With the likelihood of his school moving to the Pacific 12 Conference drawing near, Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops calmly maintained the same stance he has throughout the mercurial conference realignment process.

"Real simple," Stoops said Monday morning during the weekly Big 12 coaches teleconference. "My comment on it is what it has been the last two weeks, that I leave that in the hands of my president (David Boren) and athletic director (Joe Castiglione) who I have great faith in to determine what's the very best for the University of Oklahoma, and I mean that. That's not just a pat answer."

The OU board of regents will meet late this afternoon in Tulsa, where it is expected to authorize Boren to act on the school's behalf regarding conference realignment.

Stoops said he has been consulted on the issue. "I have been all along," Stoops said. "They (Boren and Castiglione) have wanted to know my feeling in regard to this whole matter and in respect to the piece of the puzzle it is to everything."

Away from the board room, the top-ranked Sooners strengthened their hold at No. 1 with a 23-13 victory at No. 5-ranked Florida State on Saturday night.

OU hosts Missouri on Saturday at 7 p.m. looking to avenge last year's 36-27 loss against the Tigers in Columbia, Mo. At the time, the Sooners were ranked No. 1 in the first BCS rankings released last season.

"We went up there and they whipped us," Stoops said. "Our players are more than aware of that and anxious to play."

Earlier in the teleconference call, Texas coach Mack Brown reiterated his school wants to keep the Big 12 intact, in part because joining another conference would negatively affect traditional rivalries and the ability of fans to travel to road games.

"I think everybody that has been here the last couple of years was for all that, as I was," Stoops said of keeping the Big 12 intact. "But at the end the day, as landscape changes, you have to change with it. There's a lot to consider, which our university officials are considering. As far as (being) a distraction, I don't see it being one. All we're thinking about is playing Missouri."

Stoops on other topics during the teleconference call:

Your reaction when Jimmy Stevens' line-drive barely cleared the crossbar on his 31-yard field goal with 2:01 remaining.

"You're kidding me, with such an easy field goal that's all we got? But, anyway, at least he had the right (direction). It's kind of like when you hit a poor drive, 'I had it down the middle, even though it didn't go as long as I wanted, you know.' So, anyhow, it got the job done."

What did you learn about your defense Saturday night against FSU?

"A lot of guys were so good. (Middle linebacker) Tom Wort was incredible, had a huge game. (Defensive end) Frank Alexander had a huge game up front, was really great. (Free safety) Javon (Harris) had an excellent night. You know what? Most everybody did. It was great. We had one bad play (a 56-yard touchdown pass on third-and-28 with 9:32 remaining). Even with that bad play, they don't get 250 yards. It was really solid. It makes a big difference when you can play defense like that."

What did you learn overall about your team, especially in the fourth quarter?

"Just the character, the poise, to play in the fourth quarter the way they did and answer the bell. I've had a good feeling about this team, and yet you have to prove it and you have to see it – that they have that kind of poise and character to come out and finish the game. The last nine minutes of the game are exactly what you want, in all parts of the game. (When) we had to answer it and go down and score, we did. … Defense gets an interception, so they answer the bell. The offense runs the ball, runs the clock out, gets the field goal. … In all phases, we did what we needed to do."

What do you hope a win like this does for your team the rest of the year?

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