Share “Stoops@10: What about Bob?”

By Jake Trotter & Berry Tramel Modified: August 26, 2008 at 4:31 pm •  Published: August 18, 2008
ddy Lehman was a freshman linebacker fresh out of Fort Gibson High School.

“He told us the night before at the team meeting that breakfast was mandatory,” Lehman said. “‘Everyone eat breakfast.'”

The next day, the Sooners took to the practice field and stretched. Then Stoops called everyone around.

“He goes, ‘Who all ate breakfast?'” Lehman said. “Everyone raised their hands. He said, ‘You liars, everyone on the line.'”

And Stoops ran his team. “We were run into the ground,” Lehman said. “From then on, everyone said, ‘We got to do what this guy says.'”

You know the rest; 13-0, Orange Bowl victory over Florida State.

“That's how we won a national championship,” Lehman said. “You had the whole team buying in from then on. That set the stage for everything.”

Smarts respected by Coach Synder

Bill Snyder was on the Iowa staff when Bob Stoops played there. When Snyder became coach at Kansas State, he brought Stoops along and began what became the Manhattan Miracle.

Snyder was a notorious taskmaster with his staff. Long hours. Skeptical of quick answers.

Except with Stoops.

Stoops “was the one coach, when coach Snyder asked him something, when he gave an answer, it was taken as golden,” said Brent Venables, who played for Snyder and Stoops, then coached with them and now is in his 10th season on Stoops' OU staff.

“There wasn't a lot of debate going on,” Venables said. “Coach Snyder really respected his football mind.

“We were getting ready to play Nebraska. Coach Snyder said, ‘What if they scoop the nose guard? What are we going to do then?'

'Mister Clean," just like his dad

Ron Stoops Sr. was a high school coach in Youngstown, Ohio. He believed in a clean locker room, even if he had to do the cleaning.

His son noticed.

Bob Stoops picks up after himself.

“That's one of his pet peeves,” said OU offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson. “He cleans up after himself.”

A cluttered meeting room? A dirty locker room? “He doesn't handle that well,” Wilson said.

“To me, of all the coverage we get, I don't think people understand what just a good guy, a good person, he is. I don't know if that comes across to the media.

“He has some very simple, honest, moral values. He's a quality guy. Genuine.”

Standing up to the 'Ol Ball Coach

In Bob Stoops' first game as Florida's defensive coordinator, in 1996, it seems Louisiana-Lafayette was moving the ball. Coach Steve Spurrier strode over to Stoops and said, in that half-kidding, half-not attitude, “Bob, we ever going to get the ball back?”

A day or two later, Stoops went into his boss' office and said, “Look, either I'm the defensive coordinator or I'm not.”

The story is apocryphal but explains Stoops' rampant popularity with Gator fans. Stoops stood up to Spurrier, Spurrier respected that and the two are fast friends today.

“He's one of the great ones,” Gainesville (Fla.) Sun sports columnist Pat Dooley said of Stoops. “Oklahoma-Florida is one game Gator fans don't want to see. They don't want to root against Bobby Stoops.

“People here still love him. And when he (and the Sooners) beat FSU (Florida State) in the national championship, that really added to it.”

“Coach Stoops doesn't blink. He didn't stammer around and give three or four half answers. He said, ‘If they scoop the nose guard all day, we're gonna get our butts beat. You want me to invent a defense? I can't without slipping a 12th player on the field.'” The result? Nebraska scooped the nose guard and routed the Wildcats.