NORMAN — Football coaches regularly stress the importance of “attention to detail” during news conferences and media interviews.
It came as no surprise, then, when Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops and his brother Mike sermonized this week on the urgency of minding details Saturday, when their No. 6 Sooners open Big 12 play against No. 15 Kansas State on Owen Field.
“Attention to detail” is usually just a catchall, a popular phrase in coachspeak that states the obvious: Every single cog — no matter how small — must fulfill its role for the whole team to be successful.
But against this coaching staff, quarterback and program, the old adage represents a deep-seated lesson from Bill Snyder, who taught both Stoops brothers many things, but nothing more enduring than the simple importance of being detail oriented.
“All the little things matter,” Bob Stoops said when asked about Snyder's most impactful guidance.
“I think evaluation and developing your team and to be methodical and constant about it. I guess that's the best way to put it.”
Minor details have cost the Sooners in the early 2012 season; not in the win-loss column — yet — but in yards, points and turnovers surrendered to UTEP and Florida A&M.
When OU opened the season in El Paso, the Miners grabbed an early 7-0 lead when OU's punt protection broke down and allowed Tress Way's kick to be blocked and returned for a touchdown. UTEP also blocked a field goal.
Kansas State has blocked six kicks since the beginning of the 2011 season.
OU signal callers have been sacked six times in just two games; the Wildcats have recorded eight sacks so far this year, with three of them coming via defensive end Adam Davis, who's forced fumbles on each one.
And, of course, there is the not-so-small task of slowing the Kansas State rushing attack, led by quarterback Collin Klein.