Stoops borrows pages from mentor Snyder's playbook
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — When asked to identify the lessons he learned from working and playing under Kansas State's Bill Snyder, it's difficult for Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops to narrow it down to just a few examples.
The attention to detail stands out. The importance of consistency in preparation is a staple.
And yet, after being away from his mentor for 17 years, Stoops is still learning from Snyder.
Stoops and the sixth-ranked Sooners (2-0) borrowed from Snyder's playbook last year in creating their "Belldozer" short-yardage run package featuring backup quarterback Blake Bell. The power running plays were successful for Kansas State's Collin Klein, and then Stoops turned them against the Wildcats in a 58-17 win last season when Bell ran for one touchdown and two first downs out of the package.
The rematch is Saturday night, when No. 15 Kansas State (3-0) plays on Owen Field.
"We all do that. We all find things that work or little nuances that someone else does and try to integrate them," said Klein, who ran for 27 touchdowns last season — tied for second in the nation behind Wisconsin's Montee Ball.
"That's the game of football."
Klein said he was humbled when Stoops told him at Big 12 media days this summer that he was the model for Oklahoma's offensive set. And Stoops has hearty praise for Klein, who's averaging just over 200 yards passing and 70 yards rushing this season.
"He's a big, physical presence, so you're not going to arm tackle him. So, if you don't have a good square shot on him, he's going to run through it," Stoops said.
"And then ... he's got good speed. Just because he's not going to set a record, he's still very effective and it takes you a while to track him down, if you can. Sometimes you can't."
While Klein was having success, the Sooners were struggling at the time at converting short-yardage situations in the red zone and on third downs. It had come back to haunt them in losses to Missouri and Texas A&M in 2010 and then against Texas Tech last season, the week before Oklahoma played at K-State.
And so, the "Belldozer" was born — or stolen from looking over tape of what the Wildcats were doing.
"That's how we built it," said Oklahoma fullback Aaron Ripkowski, one of Bell's blockers. "We didn't originally plan on using it until we were having some problems with the short-yardage in games. Then, when we saw what they had done, we decided to throw it in."