NORMAN â€” Bo Pelini is college football's reigning sideline maniac. He stole the crown from Mike Stoops. Who took the status from his brother.
They come by it honest. They come from Youngstown.
Ohio's symbol of the Rust Belt stands tall Saturday night, when the Big Reds collide for the Big 12 Championship down in Arlington. Pelini's Cornhuskers and Bob Stoops' Sooners.
Youngstown runs deep through the bones of the families Stoops and Pelini.
â€œIt's very much a blue-collar environment,â€ Bob Stoops said. â€œWork hard for anything you get. You gotta earn it. Nothing's given to you. Be willing to fight for it. That's everybody's nature back there.
â€œWe never had trouble fighting for it back then.â€
That nature remains today. Oh, it's slowly seeping out of Stoops, who isn't nearly as volatile as he was when he first arrived in Oklahoma. Isn't nearly as likely to go ballistic as he was 10 years ago.
When Stoops was Kansas State's defensive coordinator in the early 1990s, the coaching booth in the pressbox was next to president Jon Wefald's suite. Wefald eventually moved elsewhere in the pressbox.
Because of the coaches' emotional outbursts?
â€œThat's what the word was,â€ Stoops said.
But surely it was little brother Mike, right?
â€œMostly me,â€ Bob said. â€œI was crazy.â€
The Stoops brothers formed quite the tag-team duo on referees â€” and beaten defensive backs â€” at OU, but now Mike is blowing gaskets at Arizona and Bob has mellowed.
â€œIt's taken me 12 years,â€ said Stoops, who is still capable of sideline blowups, but they are rare. â€œI guess I've been in too many games now.â€
Stoops talked the other day how stunned he is when he goes back to Youngstown and hangs out with old pals, at how coarse is their language. â€œGeez, guys,â€ he'll tell them. â€œDo you have to talk like that?â€