Norman Tigers football
|5 - 5||3 - 2||2 - 3||.500||306||281|
|2013-09-05||vs||Norman North||W||38 - 31|
|2013-09-13||vs||Moore||W||45 - 30|
|2013-09-20||@||Yukon||L||19 - 21|
|2013-09-27||@||Mustang||L||14 - 34|
|2013-10-04||vs||Edmond Memorial||L||14 - 38|
|2013-10-11||@||Choctaw||W||49 - 31|
|2013-10-18||vs||Southmoore||L||30 - 33|
|2013-10-25||@||Edmond Santa Fe||W||28 - 14|
|2013-11-01||vs||Putnam West||W||48 - 0|
|2013-11-08||@||Lawton||L||21 - 49|
|Rush Yds||Rush Yds Game||Pass Yds||Pass Yds/Game||Yards Total||Yards/Game||Pts Total||Pts/Game|
|Rush Yds Allow||Allow Rush/Game||Pass Yds Allow||Allow Pass/Game||Yds Total Allow||Yds Allow/Game||Allow Pts||Allow Pts/Game|
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Norman football News
NewsOK articles about Norman football, or articles mentioning current or former Norman football players.
Norman High School Varsity Boys Football
Jan 24, 2015
Bobby Jack Wright joined Bob Stoops’ staff a day after Stoops was hired. Wright helped Oklahoma made a big push recruiting in Texas during his time with the Sooners. He isn’t sure what he’ll do in the future, though he has no plans to leave Norman.
Collected Wisdom: Bobby Jack Wright, retiring OU assistant coach
BY RYAN ABER | Jan 24, 2015Bobby Jack Wright joined Bob Stoops’ staff a day after Stoops was hired. Through 16 years, Wright bounced from position group to position group. At various times, he coached defensive backs, defensive ends and cornerbacks. But he and Cale Gundy have been the two constants on the staff. Two weeks ago, Wright stepped away from coaching after 42 seasons, deciding to retire. During that span, Wright spent 28 of those seasons on either side of the Red River Showdown — 12 seasons with Texas in various capacities before moving up I-35 to Norman. Wright helped Oklahoma made a big push recruiting in Texas during his time with the Sooners. He isn’t sure what he’ll do in the future, though he has no plans to leave Norman. My wife, Bee, and I came to the decision that it was time. We felt good about it ever since that time. It’s actually kind of an exciting time because it’s a little bit different. I think actually I’ve been struggling if you will — guess that’s a good word. We’ve been kicking it around, knocking it back and forth probably almost a year. You know, it’s time. Forty-two years, that’s a long run. It’s been a good run, a lot of fun. To only have to move my family one time in a 29-year period is really pretty special. I have three daughters. We were able to raise them all for the most part here in Norman. All three have graduated from the University of Oklahoma, proud to say. My youngest daughter is still in grad school at the OU Health Science Center in Oklahoma City. We’ve been very, very blessed and really fortunate. Bob Stoops is without a doubt one of the best coaches in the college game. Great, great football coach but better than that, great man, great friend. A guy I enjoyed being around, enjoyed working for, enjoyed coming to work every day. When I say coming to work every day, I’m lying. I never worked a day I was here. It was fun. I had fun. I played the game every day for 16 years at University of Oklahoma, and it was special to me. I was raised by a high school football coach. My parents were divorced at a young age. My old high school coach was named Lum Wright — his last name was Wright. He had four sons and we were all about the same age and he ended up kind of being that surrogate father. Well, I ended up being great friends with all of his sons, which I still am to this day. Of course I hung out with them, stayed with them and played for him. Everybody in Mission (Texas) thought he had five sons. They thought I was one of them even though I really wasn’t. I grew up with that ever since I was 6 or 7 years old. Just being around it all that time I just knew I was going to be a football coach. There was never any doubt. When I went to college I knew I was going to be a football coach and when I got out of college I went right into it the day I graduated. There was a player with Texas A&M when I was coaching at the University of Texas. That player went on to become the head football coach at the high school where Quentin Griffin was at. And he called me when I got the OU job. He said, ‘Coach Wright, I’ve got a player down here I think’s a good player that you ought to take a look at.’ I said, ‘OK.’ On that trip to Houston, I go by the school. He said, ‘Actually, I’ve got two really good running backs. One of them has already committed to A&M (Maurice Harris), but the other one has not committed to anybody yet.’ That was Quentin Griffin. I said, ‘OK, I’ll take a look at him. Punch the tape up for me.’ So he does. It’s a real small video screen and the tape wasn’t real good. He puts it up there and I’m standing there looking at it. And a kid rips off this long run that’s really impressive. I said, ‘Is that the kid that’s going to A&M?’ He said, ‘No, that’s Quentin Griffin.’ So I watch a little more and the kids rips off another really impressive run. I said, ‘Is that the kid going to A&M?’ He said, ‘No, that’s Quentin Griffin.’ I keep watching and gosh dog, he keeps ripping off these great runs. I said, ‘Is that Quentin Griffin?’ ‘Yeah, that’s Quentin Griffin.’ I said, ‘Well he’s better than the guy that’s going to A&M.’ And he said, ‘Well, he’s available.’ Long story short, we ended up getting Quentin Griffin. The other kid goes to A&M for a year and then he’s out. It was special getting him. That was one of my greatest recruiting coups, too. I think I beat Sam Houston State on Quentin Griffin. Really, he was very much overlooked because of this other kid he was sharing the backfield with. So he wasn’t a highly recruited guy coming out of high school. But when we got in and watched the tape, I called Bob on the phone. ‘Bob, I’m telling ya, this guy is something special.’ Bob said, ‘Well, you think about offering him?’ Yeah, no doubt. Bob said, ‘Well, if you think we oughta offer him, offer him.’ We offered him and we got him, and what a great career he had. He was a lot of fun. The biggest change in recruiting is all the social media that goes on — the Twitter, the Facebook, the Instagram, all those things. The cell phones — when I started, there weren’t cell phones. Literally you would drive in a car, go 50, 60 miles down the road and it’d hit you and go, ‘Man, I need to call Johnny.’ You’d pull in at a 7-Eleven or whatever and go up to a pay phone and start pouring your quarters in there to call Johnny to let him know where you were or when you were going to get to his house or whatever. Might just be a recruiting call to shoot the breeze with him. Then you’d drive another 50 miles and then pull into another 7-Eleven and make more phone calls. You’d have to go in and get some change from the cashier so you could go out and put your quarters in the phone. Then they finally came up with phone cards they’d give you. It’s changed quite a bit, no doubt. Back in the day when I started, there weren’t any limitations on the number of days you could go out on the road. Now, you’ve got all the NCAA regulations and number of times you can see kids. We could go to the same high school every day of the week. Back in the old days, you might spend five days a week at one guy’s high school. I can remember when I first got started recruiting in San Antonio, I was recruiting some kids at San Antonio Holmes High School and their coaching staff were big domino players. I didn’t know anything about dominos but after that recruiting season, I was a pretty good domino player because I was there every day at lunch sitting down and playing dominos because I was going to play dominos until the kids came out for the athletic period and then I was going to visit with them. I’m a big bicycle rider. I ride bikes for exercise. When I came here, I was the only one that rode a bike. I’d go out every day on my lunch hour and get an hour on my bike. Everybody kind of laughed at me, especially wearing the spandex shorts. Cale was just a young guy at that time. Not that he’s old now, but he was really young then. All the young guys were always making fun of me and making all the catcalls when I’d walk out in my spandex. Well, about four years ago Cale decided to join the bike club. He and I have a great relationship. We’ve been through a lot of recruiting together, a lot of football games. It’s been fun.
Oklahoma State football: Cowboy safety commit Bryce Balous talks Oklahoma ties, excitement for futureJan 18, 2015
Balous — a three-star rated safety prospect from McKinney North High School (Texas) — verbally committed to OSU in December. He took his official visit to Stillwater this past weekend.
Oklahoma State football: Cowboy safety commit Bryce Balous talks Oklahoma ties, excitement for future
By Kyle Fredrickson, Staff Writer | Jan 18, 2015Bryce Balous lived in Norman until he was 14 years old. Back then, his Bedlam allegiance was clear cut. “It was always OU,” he said. Not anymore. Balous — a three-star rated safety prospect from McKinney North High School (Texas) — verbally committed to OSU in December. He took his official visit to Stillwater this past weekend. Balous showcased his talents on both defense and in the return game last season. At the 2014 Dallas Nike Sparq Recruiting Combine in May, his 40-yard dash time was clocked at 4.39 seconds. Balous also held offers from Kansas State, Iowa, Nevada and others. As he transitions to the college game at OSU, it’s likely Balous — 5-foot-11 and 185 pounds — runs into Sooner-fan friends from his past. “Actually,” he said, “a lot of them are switching to be Cowboy fans.” Here’s more of what Balous had to say in a Sunday phone interview. Q: What did you experience on your official visit to OSU this past weekend? A: “We went to (the) stadium to go eat and then after that we went with our host … we went to Seth Jacobs’ house, the linebacker, and that was pretty fun. The next day we ate and all that, and then we went to Coach Gundy’s house. His house is crazy. It’s like a Bass Pro Shops. It was a big ol’ building. “They gave us a tour of the football facilities. It was amazing. I have never seen another facility that looks like that before.” Describe the recruiting process that ultimately led you to become a Cowboy. “My junior year, I don’t think I really played at a level like I’m playing at right now. But Iowa was my first offer. They told me they didn’t want me to commit yet until they saw more out of me. By my senior year, I guess I was doing pretty good and coaches saw that. That’s when more offers started to come in. “Kansas State offered me and that was my first Big 12 school. I committed to them, but then OSU offered. I knew people going to OSU … Coach (Tim) Duffie was definitely the guy who recruited me. We have a really strong relationship. “My family lives in Dallas. So if I would have played in Kansas, they probably wouldn’t be able to make it to home games. But if I play in Oklahoma, they can make it to home games.” Did Coach Duffie tell you what role he envisions you playing on the defense? “He told me that they were going to try me at free safety and see how I like it there. But he says he is going to get me on the field someway, somehow … I’ve practiced (at cornerback). I haven’t played it in an actual game. But I think I have the skills to play either DB position.” After finishing the year with consecutive victories, do you envision a bright future for the Cowboys? “Since we were young last year, we’re going to do great this year. That’s what a lot of the players are telling me.”
It’s the final Pre-Signing Day Edition of The Oklahoman’s Super 30.
High school football: The Oklahoman's Super 30
BY SCOTT WRIGHT | Jan 18, 20151. Josh Wariboko-Alali, OL, Casady, 6-3, 310 Undecided National champion Ohio State, Oklahoma and UCLA are his final three, with a decision coming on National Signing Day. 2. Will Sunderland, DB, Midwest City, 6-3, 197 Committed to Oklahoma The Sooners were the first to offer him, and their loyalty through the recruiting process won him over. 3. Jalin Barnett, OL, Lawton, 6-4, 315 Committed to Nebraska Picked the Cornhuskers over Oklahoma State after OU and Arkansas fell off over the last few weeks. 4. Dahu Green, WR, Westmoore, 6-4, 190 Committed to Washington State Backed out of his Louisville commitment last month and will instead join Mike Leach and the Cougars, who have recruited Oklahoma hard the last few years. 5. Marquise Overton, DT, Jenks, 6-2, 300 Committed to Oklahoma Committed to OU for more than a year, but grade concerns have arisen lately that could send him on a different path. 6. Austin Cantrell, DE, Roland, 6-3, 250 Committed to Arkansas Played everything from defensive end to tight end and running back in his senior season. 7. John Kolar, QB, Norman North, 6-4, 190 Committed to Oklahoma State The Timberwolves had a disappointing season, but Stillwater-bound Kolar was steady through it all. 8. Darreyl Patterson, RB/DB, Lawton, 5-11, 165 Undecided OU was the most recent program to offer the speedy Wolverine, and he was scheduled to visit Norman over the weekend. 9. Riley Daniel, OL, Ringling, 6-6, 300 Undecided Kansas State was the latest team to join in pursuit, along with Baylor, Texas Tech, Tulsa and Houston — where he had been committed before a December coaching change. 10. Dalton Wood, TE, McAlester, 6-5, 250 Committed to Oklahoma Tight end is the main position being discussed for Wood, who played quarterback at McAlester, but he has the body and athletic ability to play a variety of spots. 11. Denver Johnson, WR, Casady, 6-3, 205 Committed to Iowa State The big, athletic receiver helped Casady to an appearance in the Southwest Preparatory Conference championship game. 12. Michael Anderson, DE, Owasso, 6-3, 230 Committed to Tulsa Piled up 90 tackles and 19 sacks against the best offensive linemen Class 6A-I had to offer. 13. McKinley Whitfield, DB, Spiro, 6-4, 195 Committed to Tulsa Picked Tulsa in November, but decommitted when Bill Blankenship was fired. Decided in late December to stick with TU, where he’ll likely play free safety. 14. Tramayne Wauahdooah, LB, Anadarko, 6-1, 195 Undecided Plenty of offers on the table for the punishing linebacker, including Kansas, Kansas State, Tulsa, Iowa State, New Mexico and Arkansas State. 15. Davion Freeman, DB, Del City, 5-10, 160 Committed to Wyoming Constantly improving as a cornerback, and one of the most dangerous kick returners the state has produced in recent years. 16. Warren Wand, RB, Edmond Memorial, 5-7, 170 Committed to Arkansas State Size limited his offers, but from a talent perspective, Arkansas State is getting a steal. 17. Carson Epps, WR, Jenks, 6-2, 190 Committed to Iowa State It’s rare for a prospect from Jenks to stay under the radar as long as Epps did, but he emerged with multiple in-season offers, settling on Iowa State Sunday. 18. Kaden Jackson, OL, Kingfisher, 6-2, 275 Committed to Wyoming The powerfully built Kingfisher product will be an ideal fit on the Cowboys’ interior offensive line. 19. Dameko Doddles, WR/DB, Douglass, 6-2, 200 Committed to Wyoming Also offered by TCU, Doddles could play on either side of the ball at Wyoming. 20. Tristan Wyatt, OL, Shawnee, 6-5, 290 Committed to Tulsa One of Tulsa’s early in-state recruiting scores, Wyatt remained solid through his senior season. 21. Jace Sternberger, TE, Kingfisher, 6-4, 225 Committed to Kansas Another big, versatile athlete, Sternberger is targeted as a tight end for the Jayhawks. 22. Robert Charlton, DB, Edmond Memorial, 5-10, 170 Undecided Tulsa and Memphis lead his list of offers, but other programs showing interest late in the recruiting process. 23. Austin Grotts, DE, Bixby, 6-3, 270 Committed to Tulsa A late-emerging prospect capped his senior year with a stellar performance against Lawton’s Jalin Barnett in the Class 6A-II championship game. Committed to Tulsa on Sunday. 24. DeMikal Harrison, DL, Midwest City, 6-5, 290 Undecided UTEP recently became the first FBS program to offer the raw but talented prospect who can play inside or outside on the defensive line. 25. T.J. Harris, DE, Tulsa Washington, 6-2, 225 Committed to Arkansas State In a class that has produced several defensive line prospects, Harris’ speed off the edge sets him apart. 26. Dejai Johnson, DT, Midwest City, 6-0, 260 Undecided Air Force is the top offer for the undersized but overly talented Bomber lineman. 27. John Jacobs, QB, Shawnee, 6-1, 220 Committed to East Carolina Hasn’t wavered in his commitment to the Pirates, who promoted from within to replace offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley after he left for OU. 28. Ashton Preston, DB, Edmond Santa Fe, 5-11, 180 Committed to North Texas Battled some injury issues as a senior, but is a strong, physical cornerback. 29. Markale Moses, DB, Broken Arrow, 5-10, 165 Committed to Army Plays big because of his athletic ability, and took on some of the state’s best WRs with good success. 30. Chris Pogi, DE, Putnam City, 6-2, 215 Committed to Wyoming The fifth and most recent Okie to pick Wyoming, the versatile Pogi is seen as a defensive end prospect for the Cowboys. BY SCOTT WRIGHT
Jan 18, 2015
New offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley wants to keep quarterbacks healthy.
Oklahoma football: Quarterbacks' job will be to lead and distribute
By Jason Kersey | Jan 18, 2015NORMAN — Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops made it clear from the beginning that he would allow his new offensive coordinator to run their system. Stoops also said his hiring of Lincoln Riley stemmed from his desire to get back to running the Air Raid offense that made his teams so successful in the past. Where does that leave the quarterback run game that OU tried to hard to implement the past two seasons? “We’ve used it a little bit,” Riley said Saturday at his introductory news conference. The Sooners tried hard to make the zone read option an integral piece of their offensive attack beginning in 2013 — only months after Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel used his mobility to dominate OU in the Cotton Bowl. It’s a big reason why Trevor Knight beat out Blake Bell for the starting quarterback job before that season began. But the quarterback run game never quite took off the way OU coaches imagined it would. Knight sometimes struggled with his reads. OU coaches also were hesitant to run Knight very much early last season for fear of injury. Those fears have been validated, too. Knight has left three games with injuries to his knee, shoulder and neck. “I wanna keep those guys healthy,” Riley said. “Their number one job is gonna be to lead and distribute. I do think there’s a time and place for it. “We’ll look at our personnel and see what we have. If that fits us a little bit, we’ll look to it.” In five seasons as East Carolina’s offensive coordinator, quarterbacks rushed for 41 touchdowns, but never averaged more than one or two yards per carry. All four of the quarterbacks on the Sooners’ roster have the ability to run with the football. Knight is fast and athletic; sophomore Cody Thomas rushed for 103 yards and a touchdown at Texas Tech last season; junior Baker Mayfield showed some mobility during his one season of action at Texas Tech in 2013; and redshirt freshman Justice Hansen made lots of plays with his feet at Edmond Santa Fe High School. Because Mayfield played in a system like Riley’s at Texas Tech, some have said he might have an edge in the upcoming quarterback battle, especially with Knight’s inconsistent play last season. Riley, though, praised all of the quarterbacks he’s inheriting. “I got a chance to watch Baker as a freshman at Texas Tech,” Riley said. “We tried to get him at East Carolina when he left. He’s a very good player. “We’re gonna be very blessed in that quarterback room. … We have what we need in that room to be successful. We have to get it implemented and get those guys coached. I’m excited about Baker and all the guys in that room.”
Jan 17, 2015
The 6-foot-4, 195-pound Whitney verbally committed to USC last month, where he’ll have three years to play out his final two seasons of eligibility. He had 11 scholarship offers from Power 5 conference teams, and took official visits to Cal, West Virginia and USC before announcing his decision.
High school notebook: Former Southmoore receiver Isaac Whitney lands at USC
BY SCOTT WRIGHT AND JACOB UNRUH | Jan 17, 2015Coming out of high school in 2012, Southmoore grad Isaac Whitney was a good college football prospect. But not the type of player who would garner scholarship offers from Southern Cal, Florida, Nebraska and a half-dozen other big-name programs. A lot can change in two years. The 6-foot-4, 195-pound Whitney verbally committed to USC last month, where he’ll have three years to play out his final two seasons of eligibility. The Southmoore wide receiver with good size and speed signed with Central Oklahoma, where he played his freshman year. He ended up at Riverside (Calif.) Community College in the Los Angeles area this past season, where he had 49 catches for 809 yards. He picked up 11 scholarship offers from Power 5 conference teams, and took official visits to Cal, West Virginia and USC before announcing his decision. EDMOND SANTA FE ADAPTS WITH LOSS OF JONES Top-ranked Edmond Santa Fe never quite recovered Tuesday in an overtime loss to No. 5 Southmoore after junior guard Summer Jones suffered a torn ACL and MCL late in the second quarter. The Wolves even had a bit of a hangover Friday night before returning to form in the second half to rally past Class 5A defending champion Deer Creek 41-33. Now, Wolves coach Paul Bass hopes keeping the same game plan moving forward will help his young team. “When somebody goes down, you’ve got to pick it up,” Bass said. “But in high school when you’ve got a really good player and she’s screaming on the floor, that takes a lot of yourselves. It was a learning experience for us. Knowing that we haven’t lost two in a row in probably 10 years or so, I wanted to see what this team was like. Finally, we started kicking it in.” Before the injury, Jones was receiving some Division I and Division II interest. Bass said nothing should change because of the injury. “They still go after what your talent is,” Bass said. MOUNT ST. MARY’S TURNER OFFERED BY COLORADO SCHOOL OF MINES Colorado School of Mines has offered a football scholarship to Mount St. Mary defensive end Jesse Turner. The 6-foot-3, 245-pound Turner was named Defensive End of the Year in District 3A-2 this past season. “Jesse’s incredible work ethic and dedication have earned him this scholarship offer,” Mount St. Mary coach Chris Stiles said. “He has a great future as a student-athlete and potentially can become an impact player at the collegiate level.” Colorado School of Mines made the Division II national playoffs this past season, and is considered one of the top engineering schools in the country. CHOCTAW PREPPING FOR TOUGH STRETCH A rout of Putnam City on Friday was just the start of a tough stretch for the second-ranked Choctaw girls. The Yellowjackets have a tough week filled with the possibility of top 10 teams across four days of games. Choctaw travels Tuesday to No. 8 Midwest City and then is part of a loaded field in Moore’s John Nobles Tournament. No. 1 Edmond Santa Fe, No. 4 Muskogee and No. 5 Southmoore are in the bracket, setting up the possibility of the semifinals and championship featuring the four teams. “The big test is going to come next week,” Choctaw coach Ryan Maloney said. “We’ve won seven in a row now since Putnam city, we’ve won down in Ada but the next week we’re going to play some competition that we haven’t seen, so it’s going to be a real test for us.” NORMAN NORTH’S BARRETT REPEATS AS GATORADE AWARD WINNER For the second straight year, Ben Barrett has been named the Gatorade Oklahoma Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year. Barrett repeated as Class 6A champion in the fall and has been highly competitive on a national stage, qualifying for the Foot Locker Nationals the last two years. “Ben Barrett is it,” Mustang coach Mike McGarry said. “He can hang with anyone in Oklahoma and then the last 400 to 800 (meters), he turns on the jets and it is amazing. I’ve never seen anyone with his kick speed.” Barrett has signed a letter of intent to run at North Carolina State next year.
Jan 17, 2015
Despite his youth, new OU offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley has been a college football coach for a good while .Mike Leach hired Riley as his full-time outside receivers coach at age 23.
Oklahoma football: Why Bob Stoops thinks Lincoln Riley is 'the perfect guy' for the Sooners
BY JASON KERSEY | Jan 17, 2015NORMAN — Lincoln Riley’s remarkable memory was one of the first things his high school teachers and coaches noticed about him. “You tell him something one time, and that’s all it took,” remembered Muleshoe High football coach David Wood. “The teachers here at the school would talk about how he never took notes. He had a photographic memory. All he did was look at the board, and he’d be able to remember everything. “He has a brilliant mind.” That intelligence put Riley in the fast lane. It’s why the 31-year-old has gone from little Muleshoe, Texas, to becoming Oklahoma’s offensive coordinator in a lot less time than it normally takes coaches to reach that level. OU coach Bob Stoops officially introduced Riley at a Saturday afternoon news conference, calling Riley “the perfect guy to move forward in the direction we want to go.” Riley replaces Josh Heupel as Oklahoma’s offensive playcaller and quarterbacks coach. Stoops still has to replace fired wide receivers coach Jay Norvell and recently retired cornerbacks coach Bobby Jack Wright, but said Saturday he is still working on filling those positions. For now, Stoops has the most important of those vacancies filled. Following a tremendously disappointing 8-5 season — capped by an embarrassing 40-6 Russell Athletic Bowl loss to Clemson — Stoops is, in many ways, staking the future of his program on the youngest offensive coordinator he’s had since he arrived in Norman 16 years ago. Despite his youth, though, Riley has been a college football coach for a good while. He walked on as a quarterback at Texas Tech, but after his first season, coach Mike Leach called Riley into his office. “I’d probably never talked to him for more than five minutes,” Riley said. Leach told Riley bluntly that he probably wouldn’t ever play quarterback at Texas Tech. However, Leach had noticed Riley’s intelligence, and offered him a chance to become a student assistant. “I had to make a decision,” Riley said. “Do you keep doing the college thing and enjoying it and keep trying to play … or do you wanna grow up right now? That’s the path I chose.” Leach hired Riley as his full-time outside receivers coach at age 23. By comparison, when Stoops was 23, he was just starting as an Iowa graduate assistant. Stoops didn’t get a full-time college coaching gig until he was 28. “That’s rare,” Stoops said of Riley getting a job so young, “but when you look at his background and the fact that Mike had been grooming him there for four years as a student, he knew what he was getting.” Stoops compared it to when he was defensive coordinator at Kansas State, and Brent Venables became the Wildcats’ full-time linebackers coach right out of school. “I look at what kind of experience has it been? Has it been good or bad experience?” Stoops said. “Lincoln’s had a lot of good experience at a young age.”
Jan 17, 2015
It is obvious that Lincoln Riley now has one of the most prestigious coordinator jobs at one of college football’s most prestigious programs for lots of reasons. But as much as he was hired for who he is, he was also hired for what he runs.
Oklahoma football: Why Bob Stoops hired Lincoln Riley to bring back the Air Raid offense
By Jenni Carlson, Staff Writer | Jan 17, 2015NORMAN — Bob Stoops got to talking about the past again Saturday afternoon. But even Sooner fans rankled by such we’ve-been-so-good-before talk while the house was on fire these last few months will forgive him this. They might even hop in the way back machine with him. On the day that Lincoln Riley was formally announced as Oklahoma’s new offensive coordinator and answered questions from the media for more than 20 minutes, the most interesting answers actually came from Stoops. That’s no knock on Riley. He’s sharp. He’s engaging. He’s a guy that fans are going to like. (Though he’s going to be calling plays for the Sooner offense, so he immediately becomes the most hated guy in the state, too.) It is obvious that Riley now has one of the most prestigious coordinator jobs at one of college football’s most prestigious programs for lots of reasons. But as much as he was hired for who he is, he was also hired for what he runs. “When I started researching, first, I had a direction I wanted to go,” Stoops said. “I felt over the last several years, we’d gravitated away from where we started here.” Talking about last season is so two weeks ago. The 1999 season? That has suddenly become the rage. Stoops mentioned Mike Leach and Hal Mumme on a couple of occasions. Leach, of course, was a Mumme disciple of the Air Raid offense and the first offensive coordinator that Stoops hired after he was hired way back in 1998. Leach brought the system to Norman, and even though he left after only a year and handed off to Mark Mangino, Leach set in motion the change that would win a national title and propel the program to years of success. That offense was a game-changer in so many ways. It lured recruits. It won back fans. It vexed Big 12 defenses. And more than anything, it won lots of games. “We had so much success with it through the years,” Stoops said. “Little by little in the last several years, we slowly drifted away from it.” Stoops took the blame for that. “It’s ultimately my fault that we haven’t been in it the last several years,” he said, “and again, I had a strong feeling and commitment that I wanted to be back in it and adapt it to our personnel and what we can do the best.” It remains to be seen if the Sooners have the personnel now to excel like they did in the early 2000s. The running backs are stellar, and the offensive line has definitely stabilized under Bill Bedenbaugh. But the wide receivers lack a playmaker beyond Sterling Shepard, and the quarterbacks were a mess this past season. Riley, though, said Saturday that he likes the talent at quarterback. Even used the word blessed. “I’ve heard people on the outside say that’s a question mark,” he said with a slight drawl that harkens back to his West Texas roots. “To me, we have three guys in that room who have started major college football games. There’s plenty to work with in that group. “We have what we need in that room to be successful.” Ironic that when Leach first brought the system to Norman, he found the quarterback position lacking a good option for the quarterback position. He went out looking, scoured the high school and junior college ranks, and lo and behold, he found a gem. Josh Heupel. Heupel is clearly a branch off the Leach tree. He knows how to run the Air Raid. He frankly knows it better than Riley because he’s been in it as a player or coach since before Riley was even in college. But Heupel is no longer OU’s offensive coordinator because the Sooners got distracted by the latest shiny thing and switched to the zone read. What they didn’t realize was that it really only works with Johnny Manziel 2.0. Now, Stoops wants the Air Raid 2.0. Why go back? “First, all the success we had in running it,” Stoops said. But in case you’re worried about all this talk of the past, Stoops quickly turned the present. He talked about how nearly half of the top 13 offenses in the country this past season were Air Raid systems. Then, he mentioned that East Carolina under Riley was among the nation’s best in total offense, first downs and third-down conversions. Bottom line, the Air Raid still works. And Stoops believes Riley is the one to take the Sooners back to the future. “I really feel strongly about his background and the success he had running his system,” Stoops said. “He comes up through the tree I’ve had a lot of success with and really believe in. “I believe he’s the perfect guy to move forward with in the direction we want to go.” Even though Sooner fans may not have liked talk of past successes, it’s hard to argue the Air Raid’s track record at OU and its staying power in college football. The old is new again in Norman. The past is the future for the Sooners. Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at 475-4125. Like her at facebook.com/ JenniCarlsonOK, follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok or view her personality page at newsok.com/jennicarlson.
Jan 12, 2015
New coach runs Air Raid offense, but still depends heavily on running backs.
Oklahoma football: A closer look at Lincoln Riley and his offensive philosophy
Jan 12, 2015NORMAN — Running back Vintavious Cooper left his first conversation with Lincoln Riley with a clear idea of what his role would be in East Carolina’s “Air Raid” offense. Or so he thought. “He fooled me,” Cooper remembered with a laugh Monday. Riley “fooled” Cooper in a good way, though. “Coach Riley actually gave me the ball a lot more than I expected,” he said. Riley was officially hired as Oklahoma’s new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Monday after five years in the same position at East Carolina. Because he’s a Mike Leach disciple and runs the Air Raid, some might be worried what that means for Samaje Perine and the Sooners’ running backs. But fear not, Sooner fans. This isn’t Leach’s offense, which has never had a 1,000-yard rusher in any of Leach’s 13 seasons as a head coach. This is Riley’s own version of it, and he depends heavily on running backs. Cooper carried the ball at least 200 times in each of his two seasons — 2012 and 2013 — at East Carolina for a total of 2,242 yards and 20 touchdowns. He also caught 70 passes out of the backfield. “It goes hand-in-hand with his philosophy of establishing the physicality up front, and at the same time, having a guy that can come out of the backfield and make catches in the screen game,” Cooper said. East Carolina ranked third in the nation last year in passing offense (371.9 yards per game) and was fifth in total offense (533 yards per game). The 31-year-old Riley’s ECU offenses have ranked 1-5 in school history in terms of total offensive production. Before arriving at East Carolina, Riley spent seven seasons on the Texas Tech coaching staff under Leach. That tenure began when Riley — who spent one year as a walk-on quarterback with the Red Raiders — ended his playing career to become a student assistant. He was elevated to a graduate assistant coach, and became Tech’s full-time receivers coach at age 23. He was the Red Raiders’ wide receivers coach during Michael Crabtree’s record-breaking career. “Lincoln brings a fresh perspective to our program that I believe will help us maximize our potential offensively,” OU coach Bob Stoops said in a news release. “He owns a consistent track record of implementing innovative offensive concepts during his career and has a history of developing productive offensive players. He has been mentored by a number of successful offensive coaches during his career, while developing his own unique offensive approach.” After Stoops fired co-offensive coordinators Josh Heupel and Jay Norvell last week, he made it clear that he wanted to bring in an offensive coordinator with a strong system already in place. Riley certainly fits that bill, and has shown an ability to adjust his system based on the personnel he’s got. At Oklahoma, he gets a strong group of running backs led by Perine, who rushed for 1,713 yards and 21 touchdowns last season. Joe Mixon will also join the fray this year. The former five-star prospect sat out all of last season while serving a suspension, but while in high school, the Oakley, Calif., native was good at catching passes out of the backfield. Junior-to-be Keith Ford, who rushed for 392 and five touchdowns last year, also showed an ability to be productive in the pass game. As quarterbacks coach, Riley will inherit an open competition. Trevor Knight looked like a budding superstar in the 2014 Sugar Bowl against Alabama, but struggled mightily to reproduce that magic throughout last season. Baker Mayfield, who sat out this year because of NCAA transfer rules, is expected to be in the mix as a potential starter. He was the Big 12’s Offensive Freshman of the Year at Texas Tech in 2013. “Oklahoma is one of those programs you dream of working for as a coach, especially for a head coach as respected and as successful as Bob Stoops,” Riley said in a news release. “I know the high expectations that come along with this position, and I’m ready to embrace the challenge. I’m excited to arrive in Norman to build relationships with our student-athletes and get to work with the rest of the coaching staff.”
Jan 12, 2015
NORMAN — Oklahoma cornerbacks coach Bobby Jack Wright has decided to retire from coaching, sources confirmed Monday evening to The Oklahoman. An official announcement of Wright’s retirement is expected this week. He could move into an administrative role within the OU athletic department, although that is still yet to be determined. His retirement ends a […]
Oklahoma football: Cornerbacks coach Bobby Jack Wright retiring from coaching
Jason Kersey | Jan 12, 2015NORMAN -- Oklahoma cornerbacks coach Bobby Jack Wright has decided to retire from coaching, sources confirmed Monday evening to The Oklahoman. An official announcement of Wright's retirement is expected this week. He could move into an administrative role within the OU athletic department, although that is still yet to be determined. His retirement ends a remarkable coaching career that has spanned five decades. Wright began his coaching career in the early 1970s at Texas high schools before moving into the college ranks at Texas A&I (now Texas A&M-Kingsville) in 1979. There, he coached future Pro Football Hall of Famer Darrell Green. In 1983, he moved to North Texas State for three seasons. Wright came to Texas in 1986 and served under three head coaches while spending time coaching linebackers, the secondary, special teams and wide receivers. In 1997, Wright was the Longhorns' defensive coordinator. The Russell Athletic Bowl was Wright's 21st bowl game as a coach. Wright is one of only two assistant coaches to serve under Bob Stoops during all of his first 16 years in Norman. The Mission, Texas, native was one of the first hires Stoops made when he took over Oklahoma in 1999, brought aboard to bolster the Sooners' recruiting in the state of Texas. Wright did that throughout his time at Oklahoma and expanded his reach far beyond Texas. In recent years, Wright helped bring Tony Jefferson and Aaron Colvin to the Sooners. Wright discovered defensive end Charles Tapper at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl combine in San Antonio when Tapper was a raw, inexperienced football player. Tapper was a first-team All-Big 12 defensive end as a sophomore. For his first five seasons at OU, Wright served as the recruiting coordinator and defensive ends coach. In 2005, Wright was named the assistant head coach, assistant defensive coordinator and continued to coach defensive ends. From 2011-12, Wright added special teams coordinator to his duties in addition to coaching the defensive ends. In 2013, he switched to coaching cornerbacks when Jerry Montgomery came aboard to coach defensive linemen and Jay Boulware took over special teams.
Jan 9, 2015
Baylor, Texas Tech, Tulsa, North Texas and Houston are also pursuing Daniel. With only three weekends remaining before National Signing Day on Feb. 4, Daniel has a limited amount of time to visit the campuses of the schools he’s considering.
High school notebook: Ringling's Riley Daniel receives K-State offer
By Scott Wright and Jacob Unruh | Jan 9, 2015Time is winding down on college football recruiting for the 2015 class, and another Big 12 program has entered the competition for Ringling offensive lineman Riley Daniel. Kansas State offered a scholarship to the 6-foot-6, 300-pound left tackle prospect on Friday. Baylor, Texas Tech, Tulsa, North Texas and Houston are also pursuing Daniel. With only three weekends remaining before National Signing Day on Feb. 4, Daniel has a limited amount of time to visit the campuses of the schools he’s considering. “I’m not sure what he’ll be able to squeeze in,” Daniel’s father, Brent, said Friday. Daniel is a top-15 prospect in The Oklahoman’s Super 30 rankings and was a first-team All-State selection. He is part of the state’s elite offensive line class, the top three of whom have yet to finalize their college decisions. Along with Daniel, Casady’s Josh Wariboko-Alali and Lawton’s Jalin Barnett are still weighing their options. Barnett is choosing between Oklahoma State and Nebraska, while Wariboko-Alali will announce his decision between Ohio State, Oklahoma and UCLA on Signing Day. FERGUSON JENKINS, MICHELE SMITH AWARD WINNERS NAMED Warren Spahn Award Gala organizers announced Thursday the winners of the annual Ferguson Jenkins Outstanding Student Athlete Award and the Michele Smith Outstanding Student Athlete Award. The awards are presented to the state’s top high school baseball and softball players and coaches. The baseball winners include Thomas Hughes of Norman North, Keegan Meyn of Yukon, Trevor McCutchin of Owasso, Kyle Tyler of Westmoore and Corey Zangari of Carl Albert. The baseball coach being honored is Carl Albert’s Wayne Dozier. The softball winners include Michelle Brandon of Piedmont, Jayden Chestnut of Mustang, Caleigh Clifton of Wayne,Berkley Faulkner of Duncan and Kristen Prieto of Moore. The softball coach being honored is Newcastle’s Mike Crossley. The Ferguson Jenkins Award is presented in honor of baseball Hall of Famer Ferguson Jenkins. The Michele Smith Award is named for former Olympic pitcher and Oklahoma State All-American Michele Smith, who is a member of the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame. The awards will be presented as part of the Warren Spahn Award Gala on Jan. 14 at the Jim Thorpe Museum & Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame. Los Angeles Dodgers left-handed pitcher Clayton Kershaw will also receive the Warren Spahn Award, which is presented to the best left-hander in Major League Baseball in honor of Oklahoman and Hall of Famer Warren Spahn. FORMER BROKEN ARROW STAR TRANSFERRING TO TCU After just one semester, former Broken Arrow standout and The Oklahoman’s Super 5 Player of the Year Toree Thompson is transferring from Ole Miss to TCU. TCU announced Tuesday that Thompson had signed a financial agreement and will enroll for the spring semester, but she won’t be eligible to play until sometime next season. She told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that part of her decision to transfer was based on the chance to play in a Power 5 conference closer to home. “I get to be coached by a great coach and directed by a great staff that has a lot of professional experience, and I’ll be exposed to a family-oriented environment with quality people,” she told the newspaper. The 5-foot-10 Thompson started nine games last semester for Ole Miss, averaging 6.8 points, 1.6 assists and 1.5 rebounds. She scored a career-high 23 points against Utah. As a senior at Broken Arrow last season, Thompson led the Tigers to the Class 6A championship, averaging 21.9 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. SAND SPRINGS’ WALDEN WINS GATORADE AWARD Sand Springs runner Cheyenne Walden was named the Gatorade Oklahoma Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year, the organization announced this week. The sophomore won the Class 6A individual state title in the fall with a record time of 17:56.3. Norman North’s Ben Barrett was named the boys award winner last month.
NORMAN — Oklahoma is looking for an offensive coordinator, and Bob Stoops said he wants the person he hires to be someone with experience and a proven system. I published a list of 11 candidates who seem to make sense for a variety of reasons, and one of them — TCU co-offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie […]
Oklahoma football: Could Greg Roman be a good offensive coordinator candidate?
Jason Kersey | Jan 8, 2015NORMAN -- Oklahoma is looking for an offensive coordinator, and Bob Stoops said he wants the person he hires to be someone with experience and a proven system. I published a list of 11 candidates who seem to make sense for a variety of reasons, and one of them -- TCU co-offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie -- was apparently in town yesterday visiting with OU coaches. But I got an interesting email this morning from Brian Kardokus, an old friend and teammate of mine at Noble High School. He's a big OU fan, and sent along an idea for another candidate, one I hadn't thought about. Brian wanted to know if Greg Roman might be considered a candidate at OU. "Could you imagine Perine and Knight running that power run game vs. the light Big 12 defenses?" Brian wrote. Roman has been the San Francisco 49ers' offensive coordinator since 2011. Before that, he was on Jim Harbaugh's staff at Stanford. With Harbaugh leaving to take the Michigan job, Roman has become somewhat of a hot candidate around the NFL. According to this San Francisco Chronicle report, Roman has interviewed for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' offensive coordinator job and will interview for Buffalo's head coaching gig. So it sounds like Roman is probably going to stay in the NFL. Still, with the way big-time colleges are willing to pay, it doesn't seem totally out of the realm of possibility that Stoops might try for an NFL guy to run his offense. Heck, Georgia just hired Brian Schottenheimer as its offensive coordinator, and almost all of his experience has been in the NFL. I haven't heard Roman's name come up at all for the OU job, and it probably isn't going to happen. Still, I thought it was an interesting name worth throwing out there.
Oklahoma football: Coordinator candidate Sonny Cumbie has prior relationships with Trevor Knight, Baker MayfieldJan 7, 2015
NORMAN — As Oklahoma’s 2015 offensive coordinator search begins, there’s already a name floating around pretty prominently. Andrew Gilman of Fox Sports Southwest reported that TCU co-offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie was in town visiting with OU coaches Wednesday. Cumbie has little play calling experience. He was co-offensive coordinator at Texas Tech, where head coach Kliff […]
Oklahoma football: Coordinator candidate Sonny Cumbie has prior relationships with Trevor Knight, Baker Mayfield
Jason Kersey | Jan 7, 2015[img url=http://blog.newsok.com/dittocontent/uploads/sites/12/2015/01/Cumbie-2.jpg]3537444[/img] NORMAN -- As Oklahoma's 2015 offensive coordinator search begins, there's already a name floating around pretty prominently. Andrew Gilman of Fox Sports Southwest reported that TCU co-offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie was in town visiting with OU coaches Wednesday. Cumbie has little play calling experience. He was co-offensive coordinator at Texas Tech, where head coach Kliff Kingsbury called plays, and spent last season at TCU, where Doug Meacham called plays. Because Bob Stoops said he wants an experienced offensive coordinator with an established system, it's possible that he's looking at Cumbie as a quarterbacks coach that could get a co-coordinator title without playcalling responsibility. Cumbie worked with Baker Mayfield in 2013, when Cumbie was Texas Tech's co-offensive coordinator and Mayfield was a true freshman starter for the Red Raiders. But did you know that Cumbie is also tight with Trevor Knight's family? I interviewed George Knight -- Trevor's dad -- for a story back in October about how Trevor nearly committed to TCU during the spring of his junior year of high school. But during that conversation, George mentioned that he knew Cumbie, who was in his first year as TCU's co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2014. Trevor Knight attended the Air It Out passing camp in Abilene, Texas, while he was a high schooler, and Sonny Cumbie -- then a Texas Tech assistant -- was there watching. "I basically hung out with Sonny Cumbie for three days during the Air It Out camp in Abilene, and we became very close," George Knight said. In 2013, when Texas Tech played at Oklahoma, George walked down close to the field and called Cumbie over to say hello. "He came over and gave me a huge hug over the wall before the game," George remembered. Trevor Knight fell in love with Oklahoma, but George said his family had as good a relationship with Cumbie as they did with any other coach during the recruiting process.
Oklahoma football: Jerry Montgomery's strong impact earns him a promotion to co-defensive coordinatorJan 6, 2015
Since Oklahoma shifted to a 3-4 defense before last season, the strength of the defense has been the defensive line, where players like Jordan Phillips, Charles Tapper and Chuka Ndulue have thrived. Montgomery has also made big impacts on the recruiting trail, none more significant than in the last month.
Oklahoma football: Jerry Montgomery's strong impact earns him a promotion to co-defensive coordinator
BY RYAN ABER, Staff Writer | Jan 6, 2015NORMAN — Jerry Montgomery’s strong impact on Oklahoma’s defense has been easy to highlight the last two seasons. Since Oklahoma shifted to a 3-4 defense before last season, the strength of the defense has been the defensive line, where players like Jordan Phillips, Charles Tapper and Chuka Ndulue have thrived. Montgomery has also made big impacts on the recruiting trail, none more significant than in the last month. Tuesday, Montgomery was rewarded for his success as Bob Stoops elevated him from defensive line coach to co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach. “He’s a guy that really has excellent experience from the places he’s been,” Stoops said. “He’s an excellent leader and a great recruiter. Jerry’s a guy that I feel is a rising star in this profession.” The last time Stoops announced a co-defensive coordinator signaled big changes for the program. Three seasons ago, Stoops brought his brother, Mike Stoops, back on board as co-defensive coordinator and said he would once again share the duties with Brent Venables. But shortly thereafter, Venables was gone, off to Clemson where he became the defensive coordinator. Tuesday, Bob Stoops said he didn’t anticipate any other changes on the staff, though he left the door open for that to change. Stoops also said he didn’t anticipate much change with the defensive scheme, even after OU finished at No. 117 in the Football Bowl Subdivision in passing yards allowed. Only eight FBS teams were worse against the pass than the Sooners this year. “It’s primarily why I feel this is best because we’ve got nine guys returning,” Stoops said. “We’re invested in this to a certain point and I feel we’ll improve in it. I do. Some adjustments will be made but I’m encouraged by the number of guys that are back.” Montgomery’s positive impact on the recruiting trail has never been as noticeable as it’s been over the last few weeks. Tuesday night, the Sooners picked up a commitment from Gabriel Campbell, a three-star defensive end from Yazoo City, Miss. Campbell (6-foot-6, 250 pounds) picked the Sooners over Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Kentucky. Just before Christmas, four-star Virginia high school linebacker Ricky DeBerry committed to the Sooners. Instead of DeBerry being primarily recruited by linebackers coach Tim Kish, Montgomery led the recruiting charge. Saturday, four-star defensive tackle Neville Gallimore chose the Sooners after Florida State and Ohio State. “He’s like everything,” Tapper said of Montgomery during the season. “If I’m messing up, he’s my father. He’s going to let me know that you’re going to go out here and run these stadiums because you messed up in class. If I do something good, he’s going to be the first one to say, ‘Hey, that’s a good job.’ He’s going to give me a pat on the back. He’s going to brag about it in film and he’s going to tell all the coaches you got an ‘A’ in class.”
Jan 6, 2015
The Sooners’ offense will have new leadership in 2015, and Bob Stoops said he’s been given all the resources he’ll need to lure a top-notch offensive coordinator to Norman. Here’s a look at some of the possible candidates to be Oklahoma’s next offensive coordinator.
Oklahoma football: A look at some possible offensive coordinator candidates
BY JASON KERSEY | Jan 6, 2015NORMAN — Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops fired co-offensive coordinators Josh Heupel and Jay Norvell, announcing the moves in a Tuesday news conference. The Sooners’ offense will have new leadership in 2015, and Stoops said he’s been given all the resources he’ll need to lure a top-notch offensive coordinator to Norman. Here’s a look at some of the possible candidates to be Oklahoma’s next offensive coordinator: SONNY CUMBIE Age: 33 Current position: TCU co-offensive coordinator/QBs Current salary: N/A Why it makes sense: Cumbie spent four seasons as an offensive coordinator and receivers coach at Texas Tech — his alma mater — before jumping to TCU this season. His work with Horned Frogs quarterback Trevone Boykin has been phenomenal. Could he have a similar impact with Trevor Knight? Cumbie also has a relationship with OU’s Baker Mayfield — who could wrestle the Sooners’ QB job from Knight — from their days at Texas Tech. Why it doesn’t: Cumbie doesn’t call plays at TCU, and Stoops probably wants an experienced play caller running his offense in 2015. SCOTT FROST Age: 40 Current position: Oregon offensive coordinator/QBs Current salary: $400,000 Why it makes sense: Oregon ranks second in the country in scoring offense and third in total offense this season. Frost has been part of the Oregon staff since 2009 — and offensive coordinator the past two years — mastering the Ducks’ high-powered, up-tempo offense that has become one of the most explosive in the nation. He’s coached Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota the past two years, and Oregon is playing for the national championship next week against Ohio State. Frost will surely get a raise from Oregon after this season, but Stoops has been given ample resources to surely out-bid almost anyone if it comes to that. Why it doesn’t: Frost is probably close to landing a major head coaching job, so would he really leave Oregon for another offensive coordinator gig? Also, with things going as well as they are at Oregon, would he really leave to take on a rebuilding project in Norman, especially if the Ducks give him a big raise? TYSON HELTON Age: 36 Current position: Western Kentucky offensive coordinator Current salary: $135,000 Why it makes sense: In his first season as Western Kentucky’s offensive coordinator, the Hilltoppers averaged 534.6 yards of offense and 44.4 points per game. WKU were second in the nation in passing offense, averaging 374.3 passing yards. He has spent time coaching running backs, tight ends and quarterbacks, giving him a good variety of experience working with several aspects of an offense. Helton would surely receive a gigantic raise in Norman from his current $135,000 salary. Why it doesn’t: Helton has only called plays for one season, and none of his experience has been in any of the Power Five conferences. JOSH HENSON Age: 39 Current position: Missouri offensive coordinator/TEs/OL Current salary: $550,000 Why it makes sense: Henson was promoted to Missouri’s offensive coordinator in December 2012, and he made tremendous improvements to the Tigers’ offense. Mizzou went from a 5-7 record in 2012 to 12-2 in 2013, when the Tigers won the SEC East and the Cotton Bowl. The Tigers ranked 34th nationally in passing efficiency in Henson’s first year, as opposed to 103rd in that category the season before. He spent four seasons as LSU’s recruiting coordinator from 2005-08, meaning he’s got good connections in the South that could pay huge dividends in recruiting. He’s a Tuttle native, so he’s got plenty of local connections. Why it doesn’t: Henson played at Oklahoma State. He’s also got a pretty good thing going at Missouri, which has won consecutive SEC East championships and seems to be a program on the rise in what is considered college football’s best conference. RHETT LASHLEE Age: 31 Current position: Auburn offensive coordinator/QBs Current salary: $600,000 Why it makes sense: Lashlee is a Gus Malzahn disciple, having played quarterback in high school under Malzahn and working under him for much of his young career. He’s smart and innovative, and a good quarterback teacher, having worked the last two years with Nick Marshall. The Tigers played for the national championship in Lashlee’s first season at Auburn. Why it doesn’t: Would Lashlee leave Malzahn? Also, would the Sooners be willing to pay him more than the $600,000 he’s making right now? Stoops also indicated Tuesday that he wants an experienced play caller and coordinator, so would he be willing to bring in someone so young? SETH LITTRELL Age: 36 Current position: North Carolina offensive coordinator/TEs Current salary: $250,000 Why it makes sense: Littrell played under Stoops and was a fullback and team captain on the 2000 national championship team. He’s worked at Texas Tech, Arizona, Indiana and now North Carolina, giving him lots of varied experience. He’s also got familiarity with current OU offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh; the two worked together at Tech and Arizona. Why it doesn’t: Heupel was also a former Stoops player and 2000 team captain. Stoops’ best assistants on the current staff are those he didn’t have a previous relationship with. New, fresh ideas are what the Sooners need offensively. MARK MANGINO Age: 58 Current position: Iowa State offensive coordinator/TEs Current salary: $350,000 Why it makes sense: Mangino was the Sooners’ offensive coordinator on the 2000 national championship team. He was Kansas’ head coach during the Jayhawks’ most successful stretch ever, peaking with an Orange Bowl win to end the 2007-08 season. He made obvious improvements in his first year at Iowa State, despite the Cyclones’ poor record. Stoops and Mangino remain close friends. Why it doesn’t: The way in which Mangino left Kansas would probably make it difficult for Stoops to justify hiring him to David Boren and Joe Castiglione. Also, the last time Stoops re-hired an old coordinator — Mike Stoops — the old magic didn’t come back. GARRICK MCGEE Age: 41 Current position: Louisville offensive coordinator/QBs Current salary: $650,000 Why it makes sense: McGee has head coaching experience, having spent two seasons leading UAB from 2012-13. He was Arkansas’ offensive coordinator under Bobby Petrino, and the Razorbacks went 10-3 and won the Sugar Bowl in 2010 with the nation’s No. 8 total offense. McGee played quarterback at Oklahoma from 1994-95. Why it doesn’t: McGee is well paid at Louisville, and has a good working relationship with Petrino. DOUG MEACHAM Age: 50 Current position: TCU co-offensive coordinator/WRs Current salary: N/A (reportedly $350,000) Why it makes sense: Meacham shares the offensive coordinator title with Sonny Cumbie, but is the one who calls plays at TCU. He’s a good recruiter and has overseen the Horned Frogs’ incredible offensive resurgence in 2014. He was a finalist for the Broyles Award this year as the nation’s top assistant coach. He’s very familiar with the Texas recruiting scene, having worked at Oklahoma State and Houston before TCU. Why it doesn’t: Meacham is a former Oklahoma State player and has a good thing at TCU, with Boykin returning next season. LINCOLN RILEY Age: 31 Current position: East Carolina offensive coordinator/QBs Current salary: $278,800 Why it makes sense: East Carolina ranked fifth in the nation in total offense this season, and Riley is considered a rising star in the coaching profession. He learned the Air Raid offense as a player and then coach under Mike Leach at Texas Tech, and was Michael Crabtree’s position coach during his record-breaking career. He’s been ECU’s offensive coordinator for five seasons. Why it doesn’t: If Stoops wants an established, experienced offensive coordinator, would Riley’s age be a barrier despite his five years as offensive coordinator? JAKE SPAVITAL Age: 29 Current position: Texas A&M offensive coordinator/QBs Current salary: $483,000 Why it makes sense: Spavital is a Dana Holgorsen disciple, working under him at Oklahoma State and West Virginia before becoming Kevin Sumlin’s offensive coordinator in 2013. He worked with Johnny Manziel during his first season with the Aggies, and Manziel’s passing numbers actually improved in his sophomore season under Spavital. He’s got plenty of recruiting connections in Texas, and is an Oklahoma kid, having played quarterback at Tulsa Union. Why it doesn’t: Spavital is still a new offensive coordinator, having only called plays the last two years. He’s also still very young, and has only been a full-time college coach for four years.
Jan 4, 2015
Oklahoma’s senior forward is a native Texan, but he describes his feeling about the Longhorns pretty succinctly, using the word “hatred.”
Oklahoma basketball: Sooners newcomer TaShawn Thomas has a dislike for Texas
Ryan Aber | Jan 4, 2015AUSTIN, Texas — When TaShawn Thomas arrived in Norman over the summer after transferring from Houston, he came with a strong feeling about Texas that’s familiar to plenty of Sooners. Oklahoma’s senior forward describes his feeling about the Longhorns pretty succinctly, using the word “hatred.” Monday, Thomas makes his first trip to Austin as a member of the Sooners carrying that feeling with him. The No. 18 Sooners play No. 11 Austin at 8 p.m. at Texas’ Frank Erwin Center. Thomas grew up in Killeen, Texas, about an hour north of Austin. “It’s gonna be crazy,” Thomas said. “When I was in high school, a lot of my games were in Austin. “I’m gonna have a lot of family and friends there. It’s gonna feel kind of like a high school game with way more competition. I’m ready to be out there and close to home — basically home.” Like plenty of other kids in the area, Thomas grew up a Longhorns fan, though that fandom had more to do with Texas football than basketball. Thomas said he was a fan of the Longhorns when Vince Young was Texas’ quarterback. “When I got older and colleges started looking at me, I started shying away from them,” Thomas said. “When I got to college, I started hating Texas — especially after my sophomore year. That’s when the hatred kind of started.” That started at the end of his sophomore year, when Thomas’ Cougars were paired with Texas in the College Basketball Invitational postseason tournament. “It was a real physical game with a lot of trash talking,” Thomas said. “A lot of people on their team at the time were from Houston. It was just hectic.” Houston won the game, 73-72, thanks to 15 points and 10 rebounds from Thomas. Still, because of his earlier Texas allegiance, considering a transfer to Oklahoma was a bit strange at first. But assistant Lew Hill soon convinced Thomas that the best fit for him was in Norman. It’s worked out well for both sides. The night before the season opener, Thomas was ruled immediately eligible by the NCAA. There have been some growing pains, especially on offense, as Oklahoma learned to play with the 6-foot-8 forward. But Thomas has proven a strong complement to Ryan Spangler inside and the solid outside play that the Sooners returned from last year’s NCAA Tournament team. In his Big 12 debut Saturday, Thomas scored 24 points in OU’s win over Baylor. Thomas said the win over Texas two years ago — and a game against Texas Tech last season — helped him gauge what it will be like to play in the Big 12. “Both of those games were very physical,” Thomas said. “I’m getting myself prepared that that’s how it’s going to be in the whole conference.”
Jan 2, 2015
TEMPE, Ariz. — Mike Gundy has 83 career head coaching victories. Chris Petersen has 100. Gundy, 47, has a 5-3 bowl record. Petersen, 50, is 5-2 in postseason play. Both have won Fiesta Bowls in dramatic fashion. Both have been considered high-profile candidates for coaching vacancies across the country over the years. So, it’s easy […]
Pregame primer: Eight must-read stories before Oklahoma State faces Washington
Kyle Fredrickson | Jan 2, 2015[img url=http://blog.newsok.com/dittocontent/uploads/sites/11/2015/01/IMG_4710.jpg]3532938[/img] TEMPE, Ariz. — Mike Gundy has 83 career head coaching victories. Chris Petersen has 100. Gundy, 47, has a 5-3 bowl record. Petersen, 50, is 5-2 in postseason play. Both have won Fiesta Bowls in dramatic fashion. Both have been considered high-profile candidates for coaching vacancies across the country over the years. So, it’s easy to understand the mutual respect shared between the Oklahoma State (6-6) and Washington (8-5) head coaches as they prepare to meet tonight in the Cactus Bowl. “(Petersen) has been on the West Coast and so many of his games were late at night, and they played a lot of Thursday games, and I would always run the TV back and write down plays,” Gundy said earlier this month on a coaches teleconference call. “I always keep a Big Chief notepad and crayons by my chair late at night and would write down certain plays.” Added Petersen: “When you think of Oklahoma State, you think of coach Gundy, you really do.” Here are eight stories from the NewsOK Sports team to get you ready for the 9:15 p.m. (CST) kickoff on ESPN. — 1. On top of being in separate conferences, there are three time zones and 2,000 driving miles between Stillwater and Seattle. For those of you not fully plugged into the national college football landscape, I put together a list of five things to know about Washington. A snippet from No. 2: UW's 49 sacks rank No. 3 nationally and senior linebacker Hau’oli Kikaha leads all of college football in the individual category with 18. Meanwhile, the Cowboys rank No. 112 in sacks allowed with 3.08 per game (37 total). (Click here –> for the full list) — 2. There’s one Gundy quote from back in late July that always stuck with me this year. And it perfectly illustrates the early theme of the season: "Honestly, there's so many new guys out there, I don't even know who they are. A couple guys would make plays and I would ask who they are.” Although Gundy still calls some players by their numbers (No. 18 = freshman cornerback Ramon Richards), there’s no more confusion about who those youngsters are or what they’re capable of entering the final game of the year. (Click here –> to read why veteran players say youth is no longer defining the Cowboys) — 3 & 4. Quarterback Mason Rudolph made his debut in game 11 at Baylor through the rain, but he brought the fire. Through two games as a 19-year-old freshman, he’s made big plays marked by attention to minute detail. Just watch how long he holds the ball out in Desmond Roland’s chest in Bedlam on this play aaction — forcing OU linebackers out of position as tight end Jeremy Seaton sneaks by: . . Impressive mechanics. But after speaking with teammates and Gundy this week, it’s clear that Rudolph’s best attributes aren’t defined by the stat sheet. Jenni Carlson writes the Cowboys have found their leader moving forward. (Click here –> to read why) Another Rudolph storyline from the past few weeks? Expect his family, all the way from Rock Hill S.C., to be in the stands tonight. (Click here –> to learn more how they’ve helped him in his rise to become the Cowboys’ starting quarterback) — 5. Ben Grogan has an important leg. The Cowboys’ kicker knocked in the field goal to win Bedlam in overtime and this was my view from the field in Norman: . . But as Jenni discovered, Grogan’s leg isn’t even the most impressive in his family. His younger brother, Matthew, survived bone cancer in his right femur. (Click here –> to read Matthew’s inspirational story) — 6. No. 18, errr, Richards had a roller coaster of a regular season. The freshman was forced into action when starter Ashton Lampkin was injured against Texas Tech in September and has started ever since. He leads the Cowboys in interceptions (3). But he’s been burned on a number of long touchdown passes as well, with opposing quarterbacks targeting the young corner all year long. John Helsley caught up with Richards before OSU left for Arizona and received this awesome quote: "They kind of make me who I am," said Richards, who's been working on growing his hair since his freshman year in high school. "I feel like they make up 70 percent of the athleticism that's instilled in me, so I take pride in my dreads." In case you didn’t know, here’s the look Richards is talking about: . [img url=http://blog.newsok.com/dittocontent/uploads/sites/11/2015/01/8ae1b72e93cf57a5c7b0319cb6851f8f.jpg]3532936[/img] . (Click here –> to read how Richards reflects on this season) — 7. Tonight will be senior defensive tackle James Castleman’s final game for the Cowboys. Respected in the locker room for his leadership and beloved by reporters for his personality and anecdotes, playing in a bowl game against a quality opponent is a rewarding send off. But for those in the OSU academic offices, Castleman will be remembered for much more than just his play on the field. As Jenni writes, he overcame a reading disorder and will graduate this spring. (Click here –> for more on Castleman’s story) — 8. I was only 16 when this happened, but like countless sports fans, I have a crystal-clear memory of watching it unfold on live TV: . . Then Petersen-coached Boise State sure wasn’t afraid to take chances. And eight years later with the Huskies, little has changed. (Click here –> to read more on Petersen’s risk-taking and the Cowboys’ preparation for it)
Dec 30, 2014
When Mason Rudolph ran through the rain and onto the turf against Baylor back in November, more than 47,000 fans at McLane Stadium eagerly awaited his college debut. But the Oklahoma State freshman quarterback was only concerned about two people in the stands — mom and dad. “I didn’t know my parents were going to […]
Oklahoma State football: Mason Rudolph has family backing through rise with Cowboys
Kyle Fredrickson | Dec 30, 2014[img url=http://blog.newsok.com/dittocontent/uploads/sites/11/2014/12/9fa7101be3c75a8351fcdcd35dd89309.jpg]3530274[/img] When Mason Rudolph ran through the rain and onto the turf against Baylor back in November, more than 47,000 fans at McLane Stadium eagerly awaited his college debut. But the Oklahoma State freshman quarterback was only concerned about two people in the stands — mom and dad. "I didn't know my parents were going to be there," Rudolph said. "I told them I'd rather them not come because I thought I'd be a little nervous." Brett and Jamie Rudolph didn't take their son's advice. As Rudolph puts it, he grew up in a "football family," so missing their son's first game with the Cowboys was out of the question. Same goes for Bedlam. They hopped on a plane from South Carolina to Texas to watch Rudolph outgain Baylor's Bryce Petty in passing yardage despite a 49-28 loss. Two weeks later, they were in Norman to witness Rudolph lead the Cowboys to a 38-35 overtime victory at OU. There are more than 1,000 driving miles between Rudolph's hometown of Rock Hill, S.C. and Stillwater. That distance would make any college student's first year away from home a difficult transition. It's made Rudolph extra thankful to have family support, especially through his rise from third-string to starter. "I talk to my parents a lot throughout the week," Rudolph said, "especially my dad." Brett Rudolph played linebacker at North Carolina in the late 1980s. And as much as he might like to discuss the excitement watching his son take down the Sooners, he is waiting to speak with reporters until after the Cactus Bowl — to not cause any distractions for Rudolph as he prepares to take on Washington. But Rudolph had plenty to discuss with his dad recently. Back on Sept. 10, 1988, Brett Rudolph and the Tar Heels played at OU in a 28-0 loss. "He experienced Norman first-hand," Rudolph said. "We talked a lot that week." So it's not difficult to imagine Brett Rudolph's joy when Cowboy kicker Ben Grogan hit the game winner in 2014. And he certainly wasn't the only excited family member in the stands that night. During the postgame celebration, an Oklahoman photographer captured a shot of Rudolph in a handshake embrace with another familiar face. "That's my brother," Rudolph said. "He was there, my parents, a couple of friends. So that was really special to see them after the game." Logan Rudolph is currently playing football at his older brother's alma mater: Northwestern High School in Rock Hill. Following Bedlam, he shared this photo on Twitter: . Not a bad night in Norman @Rudolph2Mason @luke_maye pic.twitter.com/RvUZkE8L24 — Logan Rudolph (@Logan4Rudolph) December 7, 2014 // . "He's a wide receiver in a tight end's body because our offense doesn't incorporate a tight end," Rudolph said. "But that's what he's hoping to play in college." With a Rudolph pipeline established at OSU, does that mean Logan might one day join Mason and the Cowboys? I asked Rudolph. He smiled. "He's only a sophomore right now," Rudolph said. "Anywhere Division I, he's excited about playing football."
Jaxon Uhles grew up around Oklahoma football. His uncle, Ric, played for the Sooners’ 1985 national championship team. His grandfather was a longtime equipment manager for OU. After a standout career at Norman North, where he and Jordan Evans teamed up at linebacker to help the Timberwolves reach the Class 6A title game, Uhles accepted […]
Walk-On Gameday: Sophomore fullback Jaxon Uhles
Ryan Aber | Dec 29, 2014Jaxon Uhles grew up around Oklahoma football. His uncle, Ric, played for the Sooners' 1985 national championship team. His grandfather was a longtime equipment manager for OU. After a standout career at Norman North, where he and Jordan Evans teamed up at linebacker to help the Timberwolves reach the Class 6A title game, Uhles accepted a scholarship at Pittsburg State. But after his freshman season there, he decided to come back home and take a shot at playing for the Sooners. Uhles had to sit out this season after transferring and has moved from linebacker to fullback. What's it been like being a Sooner?Oh, it's been a blast. You know, I went to Pittsburg State out of high school and I liked it there but I've always wanted to be a Sooner so I had to transfer back and it's been nothing but what I expected. We've had a little ups and downs this year but the team's great and it's been a blast. How did you decide to leave Pittsburg State and come to OU?We were having a really good year at Pittsburg State, about to go to the playoffs and we had a bye week. I came back and watched the Texas Tech game here and decided, 'Man, that's what I need to be doing.' That's what I've always wanted to do since I was a little kid so I had to make the decision and pack it up. It was always kind of tugging at me a little bit. My grandpa was here in the '80s and '90s, my uncle played here so it's kind of just a family thing. What kept you from trying that out of high school?I got asked to walk on for linebacker at OU but I couldn't pass up a scholarship at a great university and a winning tradition at Pittsburg. I liked it up there, made a lot of great friends and the coaches were awesome. I had to take it out of high school and see if I liked it. How was it making the transition from Pitt State to here?I transferred at semester, so it was pretty smooth. It's always rough telling a coach that you're leaving. you feel bad but it was a smooth transition and they accepted me here and it's been great ever since. I just contacted a couple coaches that I'd talked to when I was in high school and they said, 'Yeah, we've still got a spot.' What's it like being from Norman and playing or OU?Being a hometown kid is awesome. You get to meet a lot of new guys from all over the place and play with a couple of my high school teammates--Jordan (Evans) obviously is having a great year at linebacker and Nick Basquine and Riley Nolan are also here. Rooting for those guys all the time and wish them the best but it's awesome playing at a stadium that I've been to a million times watching games. It's a dream come true. What does it mean to have the deep family connections with OU football?It means a lot. I don't think I ever really missed a game growing up--season ticket holder and my uncle playing here in the '80s on that '85 national championship team and my grandpa was the equipment manager here for about 15 years so I grew up around it a lot. It was natural for me. It feels like home. Even though you have to sit out this year, what was it like running out on the field as a Sooner for the first time?I'm actually really lucky. With transferring, you have to sit out a year but you still get to be on the sidelines with the team so it was a great experience. That first game against Louisiana Tech, it was awesome. I've been on the field a couple times during a game but not suited up so it was a great feeling. Looking forward to doing it in pads and with a chance to play?Oh yeah, next year. You've got to put your work in and that's all you can do--give everything you've got every day. Especially as a walk on, you can't take any days off. What's it like to see other walk-ons succeed, like Caleb Gastelum get a scholarship and others get to contribute?Caleb is a great role model, along with (Aaron) Ripkowski. They both earned their way to a scholarship. That's obviously my end goal. Those guys are great role models on and off the field. They know both sides of it, being a walk-on and scholarship so you can talk to those guys about a lot. They're always working hard. You look up to them in the weight room and always follow their lead and then things will work out for you. When did you change positions from linebacker to fullback?I didn't know until I was here. I was playing linebacker out at Pittsburg out of high school and then switched to fullback. I guess it fits me a little better here in the offense. They play with one every down. With guys getting hurt or Ripkowski leaving, you never know. I've actually been playing some scout-team linebacker for the offense when we have a couple of guys down. Wherever they need me, I'm happy to be there. What do you think about playing fullback in this offense?Especially with this offense, you throw it or run it and with our running backs and O-line, the way we're running the ball now, it's always fun to get out there. I know with Ripkowski, he's taken the role of the bruiser. He's willing to go hit anybody and knock somebody out for the running back. Wherever they need me to fill in, or whoever's out there, it's a role somebody has to do. Not a lot of credit but the team respects you for it. It's a fun position. Has your game grown this year?The speed from Pittsburg to here is a little bit faster and then learning fullback, it's a big transition from linebacker. I played a little bit in high school but not much so it's been a pretty big jump. It's been a good transition. Was it difficult to walk away from a scholarship?My mom and dad were all for it. Obviously the financial part is always a question but for four years and for the rest of my life, I'd always regret not trying to come. They were really supportive, especially since I'm from the hometown and mom's right across town. Did you tell them after that Texas Tech game that you wanted to come back?I actually talked to my high school coach, coach (Wade) Standly, and said, 'What do you think about me transferring to OU?' He said, 'Whatever you want to do. I think you're the player that can do it. You're going to have to stick it out for a couple years.' I said I understand but it's something I had to do so after I talked to him, I talked to my dad. He said, 'if you need to do it, you've got to do it. I'm for you either way.' My mom was excited. She got her hopes up. It wasn't a for-sure deal until the semester. I wasn't going to just drop out of Pittsburg. You've got to finish up there and leave on a good note. What's been the biggest surprise?Honestly, the guys. There's always a close bond in your meeting rooms, your position room--tight ends, fullbacks. I've gotten to know those guys really well, bond with them. Everyone gets along in the locker room. Some teams that you've got seperation and that causes some off the field issues but there's a lot of great guys on the team that I've bonded with really fast and that's rare at the college level--Aaron Ripkowski, I'm obviously still great friends with Jordan Evans, that tight end/fullback group--all those guys--Taylor McNamara, most of the offensive guys since I'm over there with them, Connor Knight. What's the biggest challenge being an OU football player in your hometown?Being in your hometown, you hear both sides. You hear the fan side and then you hear the locker room side. So you have to block out the negative fans but that's good. You have to have those fans because they expect us to win and we do too. It's always going to be like that here in Norman. I know both sides of it. It's fun being in both sides because you get to hear all those people. It motivates you. What are you studying?Right now, I'm undecided. I came in as a construction management major. I don't think I want to do that anymore. I'm going to do business. I just have to probably wait to change it. I want to be a football coach but I want to have a backup plan. I just like being around the game and being a student of the game.
Chase Frazier had given up football. The Grapevine, Texas, product thought his playing days were done after starting just one season in high school. But Frazier gave college football a try, joining in on a walk-on tryout before last season. Frazier made the team following that tryout and has been a valuable member of OU’s […]
Walk-On Gameday: Redshirt freshman DT Chase Frazier
Ryan Aber | Dec 29, 2014Chase Frazier had given up football. The Grapevine, Texas, product thought his playing days were done after starting just one season in high school. But Frazier gave college football a try, joining in on a walk-on tryout before last season. Frazier made the team following that tryout and has been a valuable member of OU’s scout team this season as a defensive lineman. What's it like being a walk-on for the Sooners?It's a tremendous opportunity--a dream come true. I grew up an Oklahoma fan so when I made it, it was probably one of my best moments of my life. What was the process like walking on?I was pretty sure I was done with football. I thought I was completely done. I was training for the open tryout in case I got a spot. I e-mailed coach (Cale) Gundy and coach Reed Case and he didn't say anything back for months so I figured I was done. I figured I was just getting ignored. Then four days before my freshman year, they sent a mass e-mail out that said be here at this time. I hadn't even been on campus so I didn't know where any building was or anything. It said, "Be at the Switzer Center" and I had no idea where it was. I was two hours early walking around and then I was still 17 at the time and my parents live in Grapevine, Texas, so I couldn't fill out any of the paperwork. They called me that morning and said I needed my parents to sign all this. I couldn't get a hold of my parents and last minute, I faxed it over and they faxed it back and I got to try out. How long after that did you find out you'd made it?I think it was the next day. I was at the gym trying to lose all my football weight. I thought I was retired. Then I got the e-mail at the gym and then left. I was on the track about to start my running. I had finished lifting and got the e-mail. What was it like to get that e-mail?I was with some friends and I said, "I've got to leave guys. I've got to call everyone right now." My eyes started watering. I ran to the bathroom real quick and after that I started calling everyone--old coaches, my family. How did they react?My brother didn't believe me for a couple minutes. "No, you didn't!" Some of my coaches were pretty pumped. My dad was probably the most excited out of everyone. My mom was at the grocery store and she started telling people. What was it like to become a part of this team?I was so nervous for weeks that I was going to mess something up. I really didn't even talk to anyone for two weeks, I was so nervous trying to do everything perfect. Then I loosened up two weeks in and then it got fun. Was there something that happened that helped you loosen up?I made a joke and people laughed. My friends Rob Hollis and Mitch Tate really made me feel better about talking to people in there. What does it mean to you to have gone through what you did to get to this point?It means a lot. A big thing was, it was a lot of validation for me at first when I first made it because I hadn't been on a good team ever in my life. Since the third grade, I don't think I'd had a winning season. That kind of made me always think I wasn't very good. When I came here, I realized I was good enough to play here. How did you become an OU fan in Grapevine?My dad went here when I was in about the third grade. He was always here so I'd always visit him. What was it like to suit up for the first time?I couldn't feel my legs when I was running out of that tunnel. That was amazing. When one side of the stadium is yelling, "Boomer" and the other's yelling "Sooner" whne you're running out of the smokey tunnel, that's the best feeling in the world. What's your role like on this team?I'm on the scout team. It's pretty fun. You get to imitate all the other defenses and get those guys better. They appreciate it. The offensive linemen treat me well. I'm pretty close with the offensive line because I spend so much time during the day with them. I spend more time with the offensive line than the defensive line really. Who are the guys you're closest to on this team?Mitch Tate, he's a walk-on. Jordan Phillips and Charles Tapper, we kind of all hang out, Gabe Ikard last year. Now my locker is right next to Tyler Evans. I like having him around because he knows what's going on a lot. He walks me through the day. What are you studying?Criminology. I want to be a police officer in OKC before I get into coaching. Why do you want to be an Oklahoma City police officer?I want to stay around Norman. I like Norman a lot. I want to be a police officer, stay around Norman and be in a big city so Oklahoma City is perfect. I might do Dallas because I also like Grapevine a lot. What level do you want to coach at?I want to coach high school back in Grapevine. I had a great coach who changed my life, coach Ron Lackey. He really changed my life. I was not a very good guy until my senior year in high school. He kind of told me I had to be the guy, to start being a leader. My whole world changed. How did he get you to believe that?He just told me that I was going to be a big part of it because I would have to be and they would really need me. I needed to grow up a lot. My sophomore season, I was on the JV "B" team. He came and talked to me after my junior season when I was on varsity but I played three snaps. Then my senior year, we were 3-7 but I was a starter. So when you came here, you just figured you would give playing in college a shot?Basically. I figured I'd just try it. I wanted to know if I could make it. My dad was telling me, "You're going to regret it if you don't try out." I said, "OK, I'll try out." I had no expectations. What's it like seeing other walk-ons get playing time and guys like Caleb Gastelum get a scholarship?That was inspiring. When I read those tweets that he'd gotten a scholarship, I was pretty excited for him. He's a good guy and he deserved it. When (David) Driskill started getting on the field this year, I was really excited because he's one of my good friends on the team. That just makes me want to work as hard as those guys do because they do work incredibly hard. Drisk and Gas really understood how important their jobs were. They worked hard and now their dreams are coming true. They're getting what they wanted. What is it about Norman you like so much?The family feel. When I first came up here as a high schooler when I was looking for colleges, I was in some Cajun buffet and everyone was asking me how I was doing. I liked that. I like Lindsey Street. I like seeing that big stadium. I like Norman.
Dec 25, 2014
The Sooners have started true freshmen Steven Parker and Jordan Thomas at safety and cornerback, respectively, several times this season.
Oklahoma football notebook: Steven Parker, Jordan Thomas still adjusting
BY JASON KERSEY AND RYAN ABER | Dec 25, 2014Oklahoma’s defensive backfield has struggled mightily at times this season. The Sooners rank ninth in the Big 12 Conference in pass defense, allowing an average of 272.7 yards per game to opposing quarterbacks. A lot of those problems, though, can be attributed to several young, inexperienced guys playing in Oklahoma’s secondary. The Sooners have started true freshmen Steven Parker and Jordan Thomas at safety and cornerback, respectively, several times this season. “I think it’s been an eye-opening experience,” defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said of Parker and Thomas. “I don’t have any question that both those freshmen have the possibilities of being All-Americans when they leave here if they progress and work hard and be competitive. They both have shown they can compete at this level.” Thomas said that the biggest adjustment for him this year has been the fact that everyone on this level — unlike in high school — is a great athlete. “Everyone out there knows the game just as good as you do or better,” Thomas said. “The speed is entirely different. Everyone is just as strong, just as big, just as fast if not bigger, faster and stronger. That was the one thing I had to cope with the most. Just getting adjusted to the bigger and better players.” NORVELL TALKS WR DEPARTURES Oklahoma’s wide receivers have been among the most disappointing position group of the 2014 season, with junior Sterling Shepard being the only wideout to be consistently productive. Adding to that difficultly, though, has been the untimely departure of a couple talented young receivers. Redshirt freshman Dannon Cavil and junior Derrick Woods both left the team this year. Cavil, who never made a game appearance in Norman, announced his departure in the middle of the season, while Woods was dismissed from the team earlier this month. “Every year there are challenges,” said receivers coach Jay Norvell. “You never want to lose anybody. We want to help all of these players improve and reach their goals. It’s a competitive environment. College football is that way, whatever school you’re at. It’s unfortunate if it doesn’t work out, but that’s life. Life is hard. “You have ups and downs and you have to work your way through it. Some guys just choose a different route. That’s their prerogative. You’ve just gotta keep working through it.” QUOTABLE Mike Stoops, on facing Brent Venables: “It’s never about us; it’s about our programs and getting our players to play and do what they have to do to play well. … This game is very difficult. The longer you’re in it the more you respect the people and the way they go about their business and the way they do things. Brent has been first-class ever since I first met him.”
Dec 22, 2014
NORMAN — The year 2014 started as well as it possibly could have for the Oklahoma football program. But nearly 12 months later, things don’t feel so great for OU football fans. The Sooners — widely considered a heavy favorite to win the Big 12 Conference and reach the College Football Playoff — finished the […]
OU football: Jason Kersey's favorite Sooner stories from 2014
Jason Kersey | Dec 22, 2014[img url=http://blog.newsok.com/dittocontent/uploads/sites/12/2014/12/Samaje.jpg]3524433[/img] NORMAN -- The year 2014 started as well as it possibly could have for the Oklahoma football program. But nearly 12 months later, things don't feel so great for OU football fans. The Sooners -- widely considered a heavy favorite to win the Big 12 Conference and reach the College Football Playoff -- finished the regular season 8-4 and are preparing for the Russell Athletic Bowl against Clemson next week. But the year had plenty of positives around OU football as well, and this blog post will highlight some of them. I've compiled a list of links to my favorite stories I wrote during the 2014 calendar year. These aren't breaking news stories; they are simply the stories I enjoyed working on the most, and I've tried to keep it positive. Consider it my Christmas gift to our readers who happen to be OU fans. [img url=http://blog.newsok.com/dittocontent/uploads/sites/12/2014/12/Trevor-Knight.jpg]3524431[/img] FRIDAY, JAN. 3: Oklahoma stuns Alabama with 45-31 upset victory in the Sugar Bowl Quotable -- Bob Stoops' mother, Dee, on her initial reaction when she found out the Sooners would face Alabama: "I said, 'Oh no.' But I feel very confident in Bobby’s body of work, so I’m not counting the Sooners out." SUNDAY, JAN. 12: The Collected Wisdom of former OU center Bubba Burcham Quotable -- Burcham, on his decision to quit coaching at Coweta High School and enter the ministry: "God puts a path for a man to do something, and you have to follow that path. I couldn’t deny what God was doing in my heart. So I jumped off the school bus." THURSDAY, FEB. 6: Georgia offensive lineman Orlando Brown the biggest -- literally and figuratively -- surprise for Oklahoma Quotable -- Brown, on his maturation through high school: "Through it all, I feel I kept a level head. I stayed humble. I worked hard. I feel as though this Oklahoma opportunity definitely shows that it paid off." SUNDAY, FEB. 9: A closer look at what went into Blake Bell’s decision to move to tight end Quotable -- Former OU center Gabe Ikard, on why Bell changed positions: "He did this for himself, but he also did this because it is the best thing for the team. He loves being at OU; didn’t want to leave the friendships he has established in Norman; and wanted to have an opportunity to play for a national championship next year." SUNDAY, MARCH 16: Trevor Knight taking his newfound fame in stride. Quotable -- Trevor's mom, Tricia Knight, on her son: "I always tell my friends that he makes me a better person, just by listening to the things he says. He's a very humble kid, and that's the way we raised him. He knows that life is gonna have his ups and downs, and he got to really experience that -- probably for the first time in his life -- last year. It builds character and it made him a better person." SATURDAY, APRIL 12: How Trevor Knight’s positivity and support helped his father through cancer treatments Quotable -- LaDonna Sutherland, the nurse who cared for George Knight throughout his cancer treatments, on the Sugar Bowl: "It was the best ending to the story, to have that finally come to fruition. George is just so proud of the boys. He just beamed when they walked in. I can tell you I've never seen it before as a nurse, the way those boys look at their dad. Trevor was there during his dad's worst times, and I genuinely think it was a big, huge part of pulling George through." [img url=http://blog.newsok.com/dittocontent/uploads/sites/12/2014/12/Jaz.jpg]3524435[/img] WEDNESDAY, MAY 7: Jaz Reynolds praises Bob Stoops in extensive interview about his past -- and his future Quotable -- Reynolds, on Bob Stoops giving him several chances: "That's Coach Stoops for you. He's a good coach, but he's a better man. He understands that people make mistakes. I say the same thing to everybody, I'm just happy that Coach Stoops is who he is and gave me a second chance to come back, even though I didn't deserve it. Honestly, that was the second time I'd been suspended. If I was to do that at any other school, I'm pretty sure they would've been done with me." FRIDAY, MAY 9: Aaron Colvin’s family supported him through tough stretch Quotable -- Colvin, on his parents: "I couldn’t ask for better parents, period. Their mentality, their mindset makes me stronger because they're just so strong-willed. They don't let many things affect them or get them down, and if they do, they're not gonna show it." SUNDAY, JUNE 15: Blake Bell’s resilience, flexibility resonate with residents from his hometown of Wichita Quotable -- Johnnie Bell, Blake's 87-year-old grandfather, on Blake: "He's been blessed with a frame of mind that is pretty much on the happy side. He always looked on the better side of things. He was always proper. In fact, I think he handled (last season) better than I did." SUNDAY, JULY 6: Lynn McGruder, another Sooner who received a second chance, rooting for Dorial Green-Beckham Quotable -- McGruder, on what advice he'd give Green-Beckham: "I would tell him to take it one day at a time. Stay positive. Really, really soak in the fact that he has a second chance, and truly, truly don't let anything negative from the outside come into his life." SUNDAY, JULY 20: Midsummer, Knight's dream: How Trevor Knight spent his summer vacation Quotable -- Trevor's pastor, Adam Barnett: "He keeps a level head and shows a lot of discipline in the way he manages his time. I'm proud of him for keeping his priorities straight. He could very easily get those out of order, but he doesn't." SUNDAY, AUG. 3: Strength coach Jerry Schmidt optimistic about Sooners’ leadership and newcomers Quotable -- Schmidt, on receiver Dorial Green-Beckham's first few summer workouts: "He was in the trash can quite a bit. To me going into it, I thought this guy is going to be a pain and throw our whole karma off as far as leadership and all that stuff. He responded to it. ... He said, 'I'm gonna get there coach.' ... Sometimes guys like that have kinda cruised through because they can kinda get by on their talent." [img url=http://blog.newsok.com/dittocontent/uploads/sites/12/2014/12/Lacoltan-Bester.jpg]3524432[/img] SUNDAY, AUG. 10: Lacoltan Bester, Justin Gilbert and 'The Play That Changed It All' Quotable -- OU co-offensive coordinator Jay Norvell: "I can't remember a more satisfying season, and it just goes to show, one play can make a difference." MONDAY, AUG. 25: Eric Striker’s mother a continuing source of inspiration for the OU linebacker Quotable -- Striker, on his mother, Lia Skelton: "I'm the person I am because of her. I get my kindness from her. My humbleness from her. My relentlessness from her. I always try to project that image of how she raised me." TUESDAY, SEPT. 2: Sterling Shepard’s biggest fan isn’t crazy about his new role in the return game Quotable -- Shepard, on his mom, Cheri: "She remembers seeing my dad get kinda clobbered back there, but I’m not worried about it. That’s the name of the game. You’re gonna get hit." THURSDAY, SEPT. 4: Jordan Thomas’ intelligence, fast learning result in early playing time Quotable -- Thomas, on when he has fun: "I have fun when I sleep. You've got to rest your brain and rest your body from all the work you have to do mentally and physically. That's it." SUNDAY, SEPT. 7: Walk-on Caleb Gastelum rewarded with scholarship after big performance against Tulsa Quotable -- Gastelum, on staying motivated: "I tell myself everyday that hard work pays off. Sometimes you get down because you don't think it'll happen and things aren't going your way. You just remind yourself that if you work hard, good things will happen." TUESDAY, SEPT. 16: Freshman running back Samaje Perine has always looked, played mature beyond his years Quotable -- Samaje's mother, Gloria: "Samaje has worked all his life for this moment. He puts in a ton of work. He goes that extra mile. When everybody else is tired or playing video games, he’s in the gym or watching plays to try to get better. I’m happy that the coaching staff realizes that and trusts him." SATURDAY, OCT. 4: Trevor Knight was almost a TCU Horned Frog Quotable -- Trevor's dad, George Knight: "Trevor really thought he wanted to stay in Texas," George Knight said. "That's until he saw Norman and saw the campus and got to know the coaches there." [img url=http://blog.newsok.com/dittocontent/uploads/sites/12/2014/12/Tyrus-Thompson.jpg]3524434[/img] MONDAY, OCT. 27: Tyrus Thompson’s family motivates him to improve, make NFL Quotable -- Tyrus' wife, Olivia, on the challenges of raising two kids, working and having a husband who plays college football: "The road games are the hardest. I can't go because my job doesn't care that he plays football or that I don't have child care. There have been times when I've been on the brink of getting fired because they don't care. I've almost lost my job two or three times." MONDAY, NOV. 3: ‘Sooner Dave’ gets his moment in the sun Quotable -- Smith, on getting his chance against Iowa State: "I've learned that chances don't come often, so when they do come, you have to make the most of them. That's the only thing that was in my head when I was out there." THURSDAY, NOV. 6: Walk-on Oklahoma safety Najee Bissoon working to stand out from the crowd Quotable -- Bissoon, on his red hair: "I know it attracts attention. Not from crowds; I wanted to attract the attention of our coaching staff. I want Coach to always have something to remember me by. As a walk-on, it’s already hard enough to get much attention.” SUNDAY, NOV. 23: Samaje Perine runs for record 427 yards in OU’s 44-7 win over Kansas Quotable -- Legendary former OU running back Joe Washington: "With today's passing offenses, you've got a kid that rushes for 427 yards? It's a thing of beauty." SUNDAY, NOV. 30: Why news of Caleb Gastelum’s scholarship thrilled other walk-ons past and present Quotable -- Former OU tight end Trent Ratterree, on the walk-on brotherhood: "When one of us did well, it was like all of us did well. It is kinda like a sub-group within the team. We were always pulling for each other. Anytime a walk-on got to play, if they messed up. it hurt. If they did well, it felt good." FRIDAY, DEC. 5: Former high school rivals offer advice for stopping Samaje Perine Quotable -- Rouse High (Leander, Texas) linebacker Ryan Heinrich: "Rule No. 1 when you play Samaje is you always have to hit him low. Not just because you have a better chance of making a tackle, but for your own safety." FRIDAY, DEC. 11: Sooners fullback Aaron Ripkowski is as tough as they come Quotable -- Marlo Ripkowski, Aaron's mom, on her son receiving the Don Key Award: "To be able to a receive an award like that shows all his hard work and all those years paid off. He's such a good young man."
Dec 21, 2014
Here’s a look at what our staff considers some of the top games, moments and surprises of the 2014 season.
A look back at the best of the 2014 Oklahoma high school football season
BY SCOTT WRIGHT, JACOB UNRUH AND TRENT SHADID | Dec 21, 2014Another high school football season has come to a close, and The Oklahoman will be announcing its All-State and All-City teams throughout the day Monday on NewsOK.com. To go with that, here’s a look at what our staff considers some of the top games, moments and surprises of the 2014 season: Best moment Scott Wright: Mustang’s playoff win at Broken Arrow. Sure, it wasn’t a championship, and it wasn’t even a win over one of the two teams that every Class 6A team desperately wants to beat — Jenks and Tulsa Union. But it was big. In 6A-I, it was the only win by an OKC-area team over a Tulsa-area team in 29 attempts. And it set the tone for what Mustang is trying to build at the largest high school outside of the four Tulsa-area mammoths. Jacob Unruh: Heritage Hall coach Andy Bogert winning one last championship in his final game before retirement. The win capped an impressive and impactful career with the Chargers that included four total gold balls. He also leaves as the school's all-time wins leader. Trent Shadid: Bixby and Lawton MacArthur winning state titles. Bixby (6A-II) and Lawton MacArthur (5A) finally brought home long-awaited championships this season, ending the state’s longest winless streaks in title games. The Spartans’ 35-21 win over Lawton gave them their first crown in eight trips, and the Highlanders’ 39-12 rout of Skiatook was their first championship win in seven tries. Best game Scott Wright: I wish I had been in the stadium for Lawton MacArthur’s 50-49 overtime victory against McAlester in the Class 5A semifinals. Considering the circumstances, I think it’s clearly the game of the year. As for the best one I witnessed, Heritage Hall’s 53-42 win over Locust Grove is the topper. Locust Grove QB Mason Fine and WR Jason Pirtle were setting ridiculous records, but Heritage Hall rallied from 11 down for the win. Jacob Unruh: There were a few games I didn't see in person this season that could top this list, but nothing tops the Class 5A playoff opening weekend for me in which I saw two equally fun games. First, Lawton MacArthur nearly exited in the first round despite a huge lead against Carl Albert. The Titans' rally only fell short thanks to a personal foul late in the game. The next night, fourth-seeded Del City upset Deer Creek on a last-minute drive by junior quarterback Terry Wilson. Doesn't get much better than that in one week. Trent Shadid: Westmoore 48, Norman North 41. In this Week 3 non-district contest, the Jaguars and Timberwolves combined to score 33 points in the final three minutes. OSU signee John Kolar kept Norman North in the game with 355 passing yards, but Westmoore QB Bryson Lee gave the Jaguars a win by scoring his fifth touchdown of the game with 42 seconds remaining. Biggest surprise Scott Wright: Only two repeat performances. The 2013 season was unique in that all eight state champions were undefeated. Seven of them began 2014 as the preseason No. 1 in their respective classes. Yet only two — Jenks and Davis — were still standing atop their respective classes at the end of the year. Only four of the eight reigning champs even reached the finals. Jacob Unruh: There were plenty of surprises this season, but Alex upsetting Laverne in the Class B championship stands out. Kyler Thornburg had an incredible night helping his team end what was the state's longest winning streak. Trent Shadid: Thomas’ 28-0 win over Cashion in the Class A title game. It wasn’t a complete surprise to see Thomas beat Cashion to win the Class A state title. But the way the Terriers’ defense dominated an offense averaging 50 points per game was a shocker. The shutout loss was the Wildcats’ first since Week 1 of 2011.
Oklahoma picked up its first linebacker commitment in the 2015 recruiting class Friday, when four-star, Mechanicsburg (Va.) Atlee product Ricky DeBerry chose the Sooners.
Oklahoma football: A look at the Sooners' scholarship linebackers
By Jason Kersey | Dec 19, 2014NORMAN — Oklahoma picked up its first linebacker commitment in the 2015 recruiting class Friday, when four-star, Mechanicsburg (Va.) Atlee product Ricky DeBerry chose the Sooners. DeBerry’s commitment ended a long string of bad news for Oklahoma on the linebacker recruiting front, and will help — a little, anyway — to shore up a thin position group. Here’s a look at the Sooners’ scholarship linebackers that are expected to be on campus next season: Dominique Alexander, Jr.: The Tulsa Washington product has started 20 straight games since entering the starting lineup midway through his true freshman season. His 98 tackles lead the Sooners this season. Curtis Bolton, RFr.: The Murrieta, Calif., native redshirted during his first season at Oklahoma, but he’s got big-time potential as an outside ’backer. He recorded 13 sacks during his senior season at Vista Murrieta High School. Devante Bond, Sr.: Bond, who transferred last January from California’s Sierra College, has appeared in 11 games, with two starts since Geneo Grissom’s season-ending knee injury. He’s a strong pass rusher, and has recorded 23 tackles with three for loss this year. Ricky DeBerry, Fr.: DeBerry is considered the 10th-best outside linebacker prospect in the country, according to Rivals, and the 122nd best player overall. He chose the Sooners over offers from Alabama, Baylor, Clemson, LSU, Ohio State, Texas A&M and UCLA, among several other prominent scholarship offers. Jordan Evans, Jr.: Evans stepped into the starting lineup after Frank Shannon’s year-long suspension and has played well for the most part. The former Norman North standout is second on the team with 87 tackles — 54 of which have been solo stops. Tay Evans, RFr.: Evans redshirted along with Bond this season, but could be asked to play a big role next season in the Sooners’ thin linebacker corps. P.L. Lindley, Sr.: Lindley — a Round Rock, Texas, native — started two games last season, but has appeared in just nine games this year, with only three total tackles. One of his two starts last season was the Sooners’ Sugar Bowl victory over Alabama. Entering his senior season, Lindley clearly hasn’t produced the way coaches once believed he would. Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, So.: OU coaches expect big things from Okoronkwo, but this season, he struggled to get on the field much. He appeared in 10 games, recording only six tackles and 0.5 sacks. Frank Shannon, Sr.: The most intriguing linebacker expected to be on the roster next season. Shannon was Oklahoma’s leading tackler in 2013 and started every game, but was suspended for an entire year after a university Title IX sexual misconduct investigation found him responsible for assaulting a female student at his off-campus apartment last January. Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said he expects Shannon to be back, and that his suspension is over in May. That means Shannon won’t be able to go through spring practices, and he’s already behind after Evans has played well in his place this year. Still, if he actually returns, Shannon would be an important addition to the team because OU is especially thin at middle linebacker. Eric Striker, Sr.: Striker, one of the best pass rushers in America when he gets the opportunity to do it, is one of the OU underclassman who is at least considering leaving school early and entering the 2015 NFL Draft. OU coaches have tried to use him more in pass coverage this year with mixed results, but when he’s cut loose and allowed to attack quarterbacks, he’s an incredible player. He leads the team with 7.5 sacks entering the Russell Athletic Bowl. If he was to leave school early, it would be a tough loss to sustain for the Sooners.
Dec 19, 2014
What Oklahoma desperately needs are linebackers, and DeBerry became the Sooners’ first linebacker commit in the 2015 recruiting class.
Oklahoma football: Sooners pick up important commitment from linebacker Ricky DeBerry
By Jason Kersey | Dec 19, 2014NORMAN — Oklahoma had a banner day in recruiting, landing two of its top remaining defensive targets in four-star linebacker Ricky DeBerry and three-star safety Kahlil Haughton on Friday. Judging from the Sooners’ struggles in pass defense this season, one might think the defensive backfield is Oklahoma’s biggest need on the recruiting trail. But you can chalk some of those difficulties up to youth in the secondary. What Oklahoma desperately needs, though, are linebackers, and DeBerry became the Sooners’ first linebacker commit in the 2015 recruiting class. “I don’t think there’s a more important position for this class than linebacker,” said Josh McCuistion, who covers OU recruiting for the Rivals network site SoonerScoop.com. Oklahoma loses seniors Geneo Grissom and Caleb Gastelum next year. Frank Shannon — the 2013 team’s leading tackler — is expected to return to the team for his senior season after a year-long Title IX suspension, but might choose to move on. Eric Striker is eligible to enter the NFL Draft, and is one of Oklahoma’s underclassmen who is at least considering jumping into professional football. Including Shannon and Striker, though, the Sooners are currently set to have only 10 scholarship linebackers on the roster next season after DeBerry’s commitment. That doesn’t allow for much depth, particularly in Oklahoma’s 3-4 defensive scheme. “If they don’t land some more linebackers for this class, that linebacker situation gets really scary really fast the next couple years,” McCuistion said. Sophomores Dominique Alexander and Jordan Evans both return next year after starting every game this season. Alexander and Evans are the team’s two leading tacklers, and Striker has established himself as one of the nation’s elite pass rushers. But behind them, there isn’t much experience or depth returning in 2015. Oklahoma signed three linebackers in last year’s class, but one of them, Devante Bond, was a junior-college transfer. Both of OU’s 2014 high school linebacker signees — Curtis Bolton and Tay Evans — are redshirting this season. Sophomore Ogbonnia Okoronkwo was considered someone who could possibly break out this season, but he struggled to get on the field much at all, recording only six tackles and 0.5 sacks in 10 game appearances. Junior P.L. Lindley started two games a year ago, but hasn’t seen much action in 2014. That’s why this recruiting class is so vital. OU linebackers coach Tim Kish established good relationships with lots of top prospects, but so far, almost all of them have committed elsewhere. In DeBerry’s case, defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery took the lead in his recruitment. The good news for Kish, though, is that OU still remains in play for a couple big-time linebacker prospects. Dallas (Skyline HS) four-star prospect Anthony Wheeler is strongly considering the Sooners, as is five-star linebacker John Houston, from Gardena, Calif. “Every kid I’ve talked to likes Tim Kish and seems to react well to him,” McCuistion said. “It’s just when the rubber meets the road and the kids have to make a decision, they’re not picking OU. “The fact that they’ve started with DeBerry is great, but they’ve got so little room for error that if a couple of these other guys don’t hit, they’re gonna have to take some guys that I don’t know are OU-caliber guys. But they’re gonna have to take them because they need bodies so bad.”
Welcome to the NewsOK Varsity podcast with high school writers Scott Wright, Jacob Unruh and Trent Shadid. Each week, the writers will discuss the hot topics across the state in high school sports. You can subscribe to the weekly podcast on iTunes by clicking here. NewsOK Varsity 12-10-14 <—CLICK THERE: Scott Wright, Jacob Unruh and […]
NewsOK Varsity Podcast: Class 3A championship preview
Jacob Unruh | Dec 18, 2014Welcome to the NewsOK Varsity podcast with high school writers Scott Wright, Jacob Unruh and Trent Shadid. Each week, the writers will discuss the hot topics across the state in high school sports. You can subscribe to the weekly podcast on iTunes by clicking here. NewsOK Varsity 12-10-14 <—CLICK THERE: Scott Wright, Jacob Unruh and Trent Shadid talk about the championships that were decided over the weekend and the final football game of the season, the Class 3A championship between Cushing and Heritage Hall. They also discuss the possibilities for Offensive Player of the Year. PODCAST ARCHIVE NewsOK Varsity 12-10-14: Scott Wright, Trent Shadid, and Jacob Unruh discuss last week’s playoffs, the upcoming matchups for titles in Class 2A and Class A, and the Douglass-Locust Grove case. NewsOK Varsity 12-2-14: Scott Wright and Jacob Unruh preview this week’s championship games in Class 6A, 5A and 4A, as well as discuss the controversy surrounding the Douglass-Locust Grove game. NewsOK Varsity 11-26-14: We look back at round one of high school playoffs with a few big upsets, and look ahead to round two mathcups such as Mustang-Tulsa Union, Lawton-Tulsa Washington and Kingfisher-Seminole. NewsOK Varsity 11-19-14: We look back at round one of high school playoffs with a few big upsets, and look ahead to round two mathcups such as Mustang-Tulsa Union, Lawton-Tulsa Washington and Kingfisher-Seminole. NewsOK Varsity 11-12-14: We take a look at the high school football playoffs, breaking down wide-open classes like 3A and 5A. Also, breaking down championship picks and this week’s top games. NewsOK Varsity 11-5-14: We take a look at the high school football playoffs and some interesting storylines this week, including Lawton female kicker Caitlyn Cox’s winning field goal against Midwest City. NewsOK Varsity 10-24-14: Expanding more on Hawk tackling, the innovative technique Heritage Hall has adopted from the Seattle Seahawks. The Varsity crew also looks ahead to Friday’s action, including Midwest City at Choctaw. NewsOK Varsity 10-14-14: Who is the player of the year after six weeks of the season? The Varsity crew discusses along with focusing on the week ahead and the junior running back class. NewsOK Varsity 10-8-14: A look look back at the surprising outcomes from week 5 games. NewsOK Varsity 10-2-14: Unruh and Shadid discuss Owasso’s rise this season and what it means for Class 6A Division I. Other topics include Westmoore receiver Dahu Green, Clinton’s poor start this season and Deer Creek rebounding last week against Piedmont. NewsOK Varsity 9-23-14: Westmoore is coming off a big victory over Norman North. Does that make the Jaguars a legitimate contender in Class 6A Division I? Also, Casady offensive lineman Josh Wariboko-Alali joins the show to talk his recruitment. NewsOK Varsity 9-17-14: This week’s guests include Heritage Hall coach Andy Bogert and sportswriter Michael Swisher of the Kingfisher Times and Free Press to discuss Class 3A football, while the Varsity staff tries to answer the question of Class 6A’s best in the west, and breaks down the skills of new OU commit Will Sunderland of Midwest City.
FRIDAY HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL 7 p.m., Heritage Hall vs. Cushing, FSPLUS (Cox 68)/KRXO-FM 107.7 GIRLS BASKETBALL 6:15 p.m., Norman North at Norman, KREF-AM 1400/98.5 FM/www.normansports.tv BOYS BASKETBALL 5:30 p.m., Simeon, vs. St. Rita, ESPN2 (Cox 28) 7:45 p.m., Norman North at Norman, KREF-AM 1400/98.5 FM/www.normansports.tv NBA 7 p.m., Portland at San Antonio, ESPN (Cox 29) 9:30 p.m., OKC at...
Sports TV listings: Friday, Dec. 19-Sunday, Dec. 21
Dec 18, 2014FRIDAY HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL 7 p.m., Heritage Hall vs. Cushing, FSPLUS (Cox 68)/KRXO-FM 107.7 GIRLS BASKETBALL 6:15 p.m., Norman North at Norman, KREF-AM 1400/98.5 FM/www.normansports.tv BOYS BASKETBALL 5:30 p.m., Simeon, vs. St. Rita, ESPN2 (Cox 28) 7:45 p.m., Norman North at Norman, KREF-AM 1400/98.5 FM/www.normansports.tv NBA 7 p.m., Portland at San Antonio, ESPN (Cox 29) 9:30 p.m., OKC at L.A. Lakers, ESPN (Cox 29)/FSOK (Cox 37)/WWLS-AM 640/98.1 FM COLLEGE FOOTBALL 2 p.m., Marian, Ind. Vs. S. Oregon, ESPNU (Cox 253) 6 p.m., Wis.-Whitewater vs. Mt. Union, ESPNU (Cox 253) 7 p.m., S. Houston St. vs. N. Dak. St., ESPN2 (Cox 28) MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL 6 p.m., St. Mary’s at St. John’s, FS1 (Cox 67) 6 p.m., Clemson at S. Carolina, SECN (Cox 275) 8 p.m., Alabama A&M at Marquette, FS1 (Cox 67) 10 p.m., Arizona at UTEP, FS1 (Cox 67) SATURDAY NFL 3:30 p.m., Philadelphia at Washington, NFLNET (Cox 252) 7:25 p.m., San Diego at San Francisco, KWTV-9 (Cox 10) NHL 6:45 a.m., Man. City vs, Crystal Pal., NBCSN (Cox 251) 9 a.m., English Premier, NBCSN (Cox 251) COLLEGE FOOTBALL 10 a.m., Nevada vs. La. Lafayette, ESPN (Cox 29) 1 p.m., Illinois St. vs. N. Hampshire, ESPNU (Cox 253) 1:20 p.m., Utah State vs. UTEP, ESPN (Cox 29) 2:30 p.m., Utah vs. Colorado State, KOCO-5 (Cox 8)/KRXO-FM 107.7 3 p.m., Col. St.Pub. vs. MN St.Man, ESPN2 (Cox 28) 4:45 p.m., W. Michigan vs. Air Force, ESPN (Cox 29) 8:15 p.m., S. Alabama vs. Bowling Gr., ESPN (Cox 29) MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL 10 a.m., NE State at Central Mo., CBSS (Cox 249) 11 a.m., VCU at Cincinnati, ESPNU (Cox 253) 11 a.m., SMU at Michigan, ESPN2 (Cox 28) 11 a.m., Charlotte at Georgetown, FSOK (Cox 37) 11 a.m., Louisville at W. Kentucky, FS1 (Cox 67) Noon, UMass at Providence, CBSS (Cox 249) Noon, N. Carolina vs. Ohio State, KWTV-9 (Cox 10) Noon, Syracuse at Villanova, KOKH-25 (Cox 12) 1 p.m., USF vs. Florida State, FSOK (Cox 37) 1 p.m., Missouri vs. Illinois, ESPN2 (Cox 28) 1:30 p.m., Butler vs. Indiana, FS1 (Cox 67) 2 p.m., Oral Roberts at Memphis, CBSS (Cox 249) 2:15 p.m., UCLA vs. Kentucky, KWTV-9 (Cox 10) 3 p.m., Oakland at Pittsburgh, FSOK (Cox 37) 4 p.m., Texas Southern at Mich. St., ESPNU (Cox 253) 4 p.m., Wake Forest vs. Florida, FS1 (Cox 67) 5 p.m., Xavier at Auburn, SECN (Cox 275) 6 p.m., Texas A&M vs. KSU, ESPNU (Cox 253) 6 p.m., Iona at George Mason, NBCSN (Cox 251) 7 p.m., Long Bea. St. at Texas, LHN (Cox 274) 7:30 p.m., SE Mo. St. at Arkansas, SECN (Cox 275) 8 p.m., Oklahoma vs. Washington, ESPNU (Cox 253)/KRXO-FM 107.7 8:30 p.m., N.C. State vs. W. Virginia, ESPN2 (Cox 28) 10 p.m., Stanford at BYU, ESPNU (Cox 253) 10:30 p.m., Utah at UNLV, ESPN2 (Cox 28) WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL Noon, Stanford at Tennessee, SECN (Cox 275) AHL 7 p.m., Rockford at OKC, KXXY-FM 96.1 VOLLEYBALL 6:30 p.m., NCAA Championship, ESPN2 (Cox 28) SUNDAY NFL Noon, Detroit at Chicago, KOKH-25 (Cox 12)/KRXO-FM 107.7 Noon, Kansas City at Pittsburgh, KWTV-9 (Cox 10) 3:25 p.m., Indianapolis at Dallas, KWTV-9 (Cox 10)/KGHM-AM 1340 7:20 p.m., Seattle at Arizona, KFOR-4 (Cox 4) NBA 5 p.m., Philadelphia at Orlando, NBATV (Cox 256) 6 p.m., New Orleans at OKC, FSOK (Cox 37)/WWLS-AM 640/98.1 FM NHL 5 p.m., Dallas at Edmonton, FSPLUS (Cox 68) MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL 11 a.m., Harvard at Virginia, ESPNU (Cox 253) 1 p.m., Maryland at OSU, ESPNU (Cox 253)/KXXY-FM 96.1 1 p.m., Creighton at North Texas, FSOK (Cox 37) 3 p.m., USC at Boston College, ESPNU (Cox 253) 5 p.m., Seton Hall at Georgia, ESPNU (Cox 253) 5:30 p.m., App. State at Alabama, SECN (Cox 275) WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL 12:30 p.m., Texas vs. Texas A&M, SECN (Cox 275) 2 p.m., OSU at USC, KGFY-FM 105.5 2 p.m., Kentucky at Duke, ESPN2 (Cox 28) 3 p.m., Oklahoma vs. Arkansas, SECN (Cox 275)/KREF-AM 1400/98.5 FM/KRXO-FM 107.7 4 p.m., UCLA vs. UConn, ESPN2 (Cox 28) COLLEGE WRESTLING 10 a.m., Reno Tournament, KSPI-AM 780 AHL 2 p.m., Rockford at OKC, KBRU-FM 94.1
NORMAN — Oklahoma freshman running back Samaje Perine was named a finalist Thursday for the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award. The award, established in 2012, recognizes the top offensive player in NCAA Division I football who was born in Texas, graduated from a Texas high school or played college football in Texas and also has […]
Oklahoma football: Samaje Perine named finalist for Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award
Jason Kersey | Dec 11, 2014NORMAN -- Oklahoma freshman running back Samaje Perine was named a finalist Thursday for the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award. The award, established in 2012, recognizes the top offensive player in NCAA Division I football who was born in Texas, graduated from a Texas high school or played college football in Texas and also has strong character off-the-field. Perine, who played high school football at Hendrickson High in Pflugerville, Texas, has rushed for 1,579 yards and 21 touchdowns this season as a true freshman. In the Sooners' 44-7 win at home over Kansas on Nov. 22, Perine set the Football Bowl Subdivision record for single-game rushing yardage with a 427-yard performance. The other finalists for the award are Boise State running back Jay Ajayi, Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett, TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin and Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty. Fans can vote for their favorite finalist once per day at http://www.earlcampbellaward.com.
Dec 11, 2014
Nobody needs to see facepaint these days to know Ripkowski is a tough football player. The senior Oklahoma fullback began making that impression on his coaches and teammates within weeks of walking on in 2011.
Oklahoma football: Sooners fullback Aaron Ripkowski is as tough as they come
By Jason Kersey | Dec 11, 2014NORMAN — Marlo Ripkowski admits she wasn’t crazy about her son Aaron painting his face the first few times she noticed it. “I wish you wouldn’t do that,” she told him. “I can’t even see your face.” “Mom, that’s just part of being a fullback,” Aaron responded. “I’ve gotta have the tough look.” Nobody needs to see facepaint these days to know Aaron Ripkowski is as tough a football player as they come. The senior Oklahoma fullback began making that impression on his coaches and teammates within weeks of walking on in 2011. A little more than a year later, Ripkowski had a scholarship, and last Saturday, he had one of his greatest days as a Sooner football player — and his final home game — ruined by a stunning Bedlam defeat. Despite that, the Ripkowski family remains tremendously proud of their son and happy with his decision to gut it out at OU. He chose to walk on despite scholarship offers from the Naval Academy — his only FBS offer — and a few junior colleges. Ripkowski started as Dayton (Texas) High’s right guard during their run to the state finals his junior year of high school, but flipped to linebacker as a senior. His dad, Randy, always thought he’d be a good fullback, but Aaron never played the position until he got to Norman for the OU summer camp between his junior and senior seasons. Even though Ripkowski came to Norman to showcase his linebacking skills, OU coaches watched his footwork and worked him out at fullback. “It was a padded camp, so they lined us up head on head, one versus one, and tried to see who could push the other guy,” Ripkowski said. “Really came down to who was working harder and that’s who they took interest in.” Ripkowski began making his mark on special teams his freshman season at Oklahoma, then got a big opportunity when the Sooners began using the famous “Belldozer” package with backup quarterback Blake Bell. Ripkowski became one of the big blockers who came into the game with Bell and paved the way for him to score touchdowns and gain first downs. Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops rewarded Ripkowski with a scholarship late in his sophomore season, and his value has become more and more apparent throughout his successful career. Before the final home game of his career, Ripkowski was named the recipient of the 2014 Don Key Award, given each year to an OU senior who excels on and off the field. It is considered one of the highest honors a Sooner football player can receive. When Marlo Ripkowski learned her son was receiving the Don Key Award, she cried. She cried again in a telephone interview when asked about the honor. “To be able to a receive an award like that shows all his hard work and all those years paid off,” she said. “He’s such a good young man.” After receiving the award, Ripkowski went out and scored three touchdowns against Bedlam rival Oklahoma State — including a two-yard reception on which he dragged multiple Cowboys into the end zone with him — only to have OSU pull out a stunning 38-35, overtime victory. Even though this season hasn’t gone the way anyone in Sooner Nation wanted it to go, the Ripkowskis remain thankful their son decided to become a Sooner. “They have to give 10 years of their lives,” Marlo Ripkowski said of the Naval Academy. “As a mother, you don’t ever wanna see your child leave off miles and miles away, especially with some of the things going on in the world. “Even though he would have come out as an officer, if I know him, he would’ve volunteered to be on the front line.”
Dec 10, 2014
Bryce Balous — a 5-foot-11, 180-pound safety from McKinney North High School (Texas) — has committed to Oklahoma State’s 2015 class after a previous verbal commitment to Kansas State. Balous’ change in status was first reported by Alex King of footballbraniacs.com: LINK Balous (a Rivals-rated two-star prospect and a Scout-rated three-star prospect) is teammates with […]
Oklahoma State football: Kansas State safety commit Bryce Balous flips, picks the Cowboys
Kyle Fredrickson | Dec 10, 2014Bryce Balous — a 5-foot-11, 180-pound safety from McKinney North High School (Texas) — has committed to Oklahoma State’s 2015 class after a previous verbal commitment to Kansas State. Balous’ change in status was first reported by Alex King of footballbraniacs.com: 2015 McKinney (TX) North Safety, Bryce Balous (@Bryce_Balous) has decommitted from #KSU tonight & switched his commitment to #OKState. — Alex King (@AMKing00) December 10, 2014 Balous (a Rivals-rated two-star prospect and a Scout-rated three-star prospect) is teammates with 2015 OSU running back commit Ronald Jones. And it seems another commit in the upcoming class, Norman North quarterback John Kolar, did a bit or recruiting himself to land Balous: @john_kolar7 text me bro!! — Bryce. (@Bryce_Balous) December 8, 2014 Here’s Balous’ list of scholarship offers and interest via his Rivals page: . [img url=http://blog.newsok.com/dittocontent/uploads/sites/11/2014/12/FullSizeRender.jpg]3512798[/img] . “My favorite part of football is laying the wood on people. There is no better feeling,” Balous told The McKinney Courier-Gazette in October. The late push for Balous likely relates to the departure of two former OSU commitments: safety Kenneth McGruder (reopened options) and cornerback Jaylon Lane (scholarship dropped following arrest). Balous joins Kevin Henry (Central-Baton Rouge High School, La.) and Jordan Burton (Kilgore Junior College, Texas) as current 2015 OSU defensive back verbal commits.
Welcome to the NewsOK Varsity podcast with high school writers Scott Wright, Jacob Unruh and Trent Shadid. Each week, the writers will discuss the hot topics across the state in high school sports. You can subscribe to the weekly podcast on iTunes by clicking here. NewsOK Varsity 12-10-14 <—CLICK THERE: Scott Wright, Trent Shadid, and […]
NewsOK Varsity Podcast: Looking at Class 2A, Class A title games
Jacob Unruh | Dec 10, 2014Welcome to the NewsOK Varsity podcast with high school writers Scott Wright, Jacob Unruh and Trent Shadid. Each week, the writers will discuss the hot topics across the state in high school sports. You can subscribe to the weekly podcast on iTunes by clicking here. NewsOK Varsity 12-10-14 <—CLICK THERE: Scott Wright, Trent Shadid, and Jacob Unruh discuss last week’s playoffs, the upcoming matchups for titles in Class 2A and Class A, and the Douglass-Locust Grove case. PODCAST ARCHIVE NewsOK Varsity 12-2-14: Scott Wright and Jacob Unruh preview this week’s championship games in Class 6A, 5A and 4A, as well as discuss the controversy surrounding the Douglass-Locust Grove game. NewsOK Varsity 11-26-14: We look back at round one of high school playoffs with a few big upsets, and look ahead to round two mathcups such as Mustang-Tulsa Union, Lawton-Tulsa Washington and Kingfisher-Seminole. NewsOK Varsity 11-19-14: We look back at round one of high school playoffs with a few big upsets, and look ahead to round two mathcups such as Mustang-Tulsa Union, Lawton-Tulsa Washington and Kingfisher-Seminole. NewsOK Varsity 11-12-14: We take a look at the high school football playoffs, breaking down wide-open classes like 3A and 5A. Also, breaking down championship picks and this week’s top games. NewsOK Varsity 11-5-14: We take a look at the high school football playoffs and some interesting storylines this week, including Lawton female kicker Caitlyn Cox’s winning field goal against Midwest City. NewsOK Varsity 10-24-14: Expanding more on Hawk tackling, the innovative technique Heritage Hall has adopted from the Seattle Seahawks. The Varsity crew also looks ahead to Friday’s action, including Midwest City at Choctaw. NewsOK Varsity 10-14-14: Who is the player of the year after six weeks of the season? The Varsity crew discusses along with focusing on the week ahead and the junior running back class. NewsOK Varsity 10-8-14: A look look back at the surprising outcomes from week 5 games. NewsOK Varsity 10-2-14: Unruh and Shadid discuss Owasso’s rise this season and what it means for Class 6A Division I. Other topics include Westmoore receiver Dahu Green, Clinton’s poor start this season and Deer Creek rebounding last week against Piedmont. NewsOK Varsity 9-23-14: Westmoore is coming off a big victory over Norman North. Does that make the Jaguars a legitimate contender in Class 6A Division I? Also, Casady offensive lineman Josh Wariboko-Alali joins the show to talk his recruitment. NewsOK Varsity 9-17-14: This week’s guests include Heritage Hall coach Andy Bogert and sportswriter Michael Swisher of the Kingfisher Times and Free Press to discuss Class 3A football, while the Varsity staff tries to answer the question of Class 6A’s best in the west, and breaks down the skills of new OU commit Will Sunderland of Midwest City.