WACO, Texas — When Bob Stoops came to Oklahoma 10 years ago, Big 12 offenses could’ve starred in the movie "Leatherheads.” In other words, they relied on a three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-mud power rushing attack.
Stoops, however, would change that, hiring pass guru Mike Leach away from Kentucky. "I remember their time of possession was good, they had a good number of first downs and they were scoring points on everybody,” said Stoops, recalling why he decided on Leach as his offensive coordinator. That hire proved to be the catalyst in the explosion of spread offenses in the Big 12. OU’s opponent today, Baylor, is the latest team to thrive in the spread. Under first-year coach Art Briles — who was at Stephenville (Texas) High School when Leach hired him to be Texas Tech’s running backs coach — the Bears are averaging 41 points a game and are 2-1 since inserting freshman quarterback Robert Griffin into the starting lineup. Baylor fans can thank Stoops in part for their newfound success, since it was he who brought Leach, and in turn the spread, to the Big 12. "I certainly think Bob had a big part in bringing the spread to the league,” OU defensive backs coach Bobby Jack Wright said. "When Mike came here, he did a tremendous job for us. Coaches, we all mimic each other, we’re all copycats. "The spread offense is something you see going on across the country, and Mike started that in the Big 12.” Leach’s spread offense instantly caused problems for defenses accustomed to defending the I-formation as OU went 7-5 in 1999, after a year in which the Sooners finished 5-6. After that, versions of his offense unfolded like a grass fire to all corners of the league. In 1999, the Sooners were the only Big 12 team to finish in the top 15 in pass offense and one of only two league teams to rank in the top 10 in scoring.
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The spread worksFind out just how effective the spread offense is in the Big 12. Look at the pass efficiency and scoring offensive rankings of Big 12 teams that use the spread. Page 11C