ESPN SUCKS, STILL

So first Michael Kim in an interview with Stoops says, the Sooners have lost 6 of the last 7 to Texas.
Its more like OU has won 6 of the last 9, OU lost 3 of the last 4 vs Texas, yet won 3 Big 12 titles in a row.
Stoops correct Kim who is a Missouri alumi.

And now Andre Ware predicts an 8-4 season for OU., LOL.

2 weeks ago, I think it was Rod Gilmore, said on ESPN OU lost all its linebackers, no returning LBs, um, OU lost 1 3rd string LB to graduation.
they are returning every starter and back up.

Whey does espn bother talking about OU?

Big 12 Media Day Notes from Day 2

Reading James Hale’s article, and this really stands out

We detailed OU yesterday, but after another day one point does stand out. Bob Stoops always wants to wipe the slate clean and start over, saying that what you did last year will not get you style points this year. Contrast this to the attitude of less successful programs who try to build on any glimmer of success from the previous year.

Which brings up our next candidate, Texas A&M and coach Dennis Franchione, who was like a broken record when anyone suggested that he might be on a chair warmer than a red coil on an electric stove.

“We won nine games last year, we beat our arch rival, upset OSU at their place and came within two points of beating Oklahoma and one of beating Nebraska. So we could have easily won 13 games.”

As Fran fails to mention, the pastry shop the Aggies ate their way through in non-conference play, included The Citadel, UL Lafayette; Army and Louisiana Tech. Perhaps Fran feels the heat as this year’s non-conference schedule is at least a step up — Montana State, Fresno, UL Monroe and Miami. Plus road games at Tech, Missouri, OU and Nebraska.

Sometimes it appears that Fran is a mechanical man with fake hair, a fake face and that same stunned look in his eyes. But what else could we expect from someone who is the head coach at the cult known as A&M?

Here’s one Fran quote that’s sure to inspire thousands:

“Last year we were undefeated on the road (Baylor, OSU, Kansas and Texas). We never lack for confidence, but your confidence belief system is different after going undefeated.”

Yikes! Look out, Little Rock. The Aggies are going to alter their belief system? That was probably the scariest news of the day.

Some of the Frannies do pose some threat of prowess, as QB Stephen McGee, RB Jorvorskie Lane, RB Michael Goodson and TE Martellus Bennett are all capable of big plays. But an uncertain defense, once known as the wreaking crew will keep the Aggies below Texas and OU, and possibly could cause them to slip below Texas Tech, a fate worse than death since these two wannabe’s decided to start a rivalry featuring flying tortillas and postgame, onfield ousting with discarded goal posts and swords.

Big 12 Media Day, Bob Stoops interview

In PDF file form

Stoops: We’re excited to be back here getting ready to start another season. Really believe, overall, everyone’s had a great summer. Really, at this point in the summer you get anxious to get back and get in the fire again, start working. And I know in our staff that’s the case. Really looking forward to this season.

Just feel we should have an overall stronger team than a year ago. The guys that have been young players, played with us the last couple of years as freshmen and sophomores will continue to make improvements and play with more experience, play with more maturity than they have and keep making the improvement you expect.

Now, as juniors and seniors, we feel have a chance to have a really strong team. I think the big issues, I’ll address right off the bat ,is everyone wants to talk about are quarterback situation and everyone wants to know who the guy is. We don’t have a timetable. That position, as I keep saying, needs to be earned. I want that position. And we’ve been fairly successful. I’ve said this before. We’ve had four different quarterbacks win four different Big 12 championships. So this isn’t anything new to us.

We believe that that position needs to have the confidence of the team, neds to have the respect of the team in the huddle, in the locker room, and you only get that through your time on the field. And they haven’t had the time yet.

As we go through our summer camp, whoever’s starting to earn that confidence of the team and respect of the team the most, all of them will have it to some degree, but whoever we feel is doing the best and earning it the most eventually we’ll say, ‘Alright, it’s time to make that decision, we’re going to make it.’

So we’ll see when that happens. The other aspect of our offense is losing Adrian
Peterson. How will we handle that? But I believe for the most part everyone saw us do that a year ago. We averaged rushing the ball actually more yards per game without him than we did with him. And with several guys. Between Allen Patrick, Chris Brown, DeMarco Murray coming up, there’s a group of guys there that we feel great about.

And I believe in the last two years we’ve had eight games without Adrian Peterson and we’ve won all eight games in the last two years. I think we’re 8-0 without him. So in the end, we’re used to that. That won’t be a factor for us in how we run our offense.

Defensively, I’m excited about the group of guys that are back. I feel, overall, the biggest question I think everyone will have will be at linebacker. But with guys like Curtis Lofton, Ryan Reynolds is healing great in a great way, we’ll be set to play. And Demarrio Pleasant was a starter last year. Lewis Baker as well. We have guys in there that can be every bit as good or actually better than what we’ve had in the last couple of years.

So, anyway, it’s that along with special teams. The entire special teams group is back and returning. We just feel positive about the season. Got an exciting non-conference schedule and then like always a great Big 12 Conference to compete in. Just excited to get going.

Question: I know you’re not much on reflection, but considering all the things that you went through last year, is it a welcome thing for you guys, your guys and staff to be finally looking ahead rather than backwards?

Stoops: Sure, it is and so many things last year that the way the season started to injuries to some official decisions. I mean, there was a lot there. No question. But I believe our team learned a lot from it, too. We fought our way through it. Everybody kept their focus on what they should, and that was the game in front of us.

And I’ll be honest, by the end of the season it’s probably one of the more rewarding and fun ones that we as a staff, as you look back on it, by winning the Big 12 Championship, it really makes it pretty special just because you were able to overcome so much.

Question: Bob, there’s a sense that maybe the Big 12 as a whole is a year away. Do you get the sense that Big 12 can compete for a national championship this season?

Stoops: Sure. I’m not much into that kind of discussion or mindset. I don’t know what that would mean. I think it’s been fair to say we’ve been competitive virtually every year. So I anticipate Big 12 being strong again this year.

Question: Bob, I know you’d like to get past the NCAA bid. You had your day. But has the appeals process — are you concerned that it’s opened you up to greater sanctions, more indecision?

Stoops: Appeals don’t do that. The sanctions are already set. So, no, there won’t be other sanctions. It will either be what it said or we will maybe — what we’ve appealed maybe get some wins back.

Question: You’ve been told they can’t possibly give you…

Stoops: You can check with them. But, yes, that’s the appeal process. There won’t be any other sanctions, no.

Question: Could we just get some specific impressions about the three quarterback candidates that you drew in the spring?

Stoops: Joey Halzle, again, young guy that has maybe the most experience in game preparations for the last year or so, and a little more maturity in age, but doesn’t have a lot of time just on our campus.

And then you have Sam Bradford, a guy that’s highly recruited guy, couple years ago, that’s made great progress. Worked in a great way for us last year. He’s got really great size. When you look at him 6-5, 220-225. Worked really hard as
well. They all worked hard. But again, limited experience. But we like what we’ve seen.

And Keith Nichol, a young guy that was just there through winter and spring. Graduated high school early but got great ability as well. He’s a guy about 6-2, up to 205, 210. He’s got great feet to run along with a strong arm, too.

So they all have really good potential. I’m excited about the group overall. I love the way they worked together in the winter and spring. I see them in and out of, whether it’s coming in and out of a locker room, training here and there. I see
them palling around together. And it’s exciting to see guys working to make each other better.

Question: Coach, they’ve kind of reversed some of the rules as far as the game clock. First downs, the clock will start after now and go back to the kick, when it’s touched. What are your thoughts on that?

Stoops: I like that we’ve gone back to more traditional clock management. I
like some of the ways they’re trying to save some time. I think is good. Still waiting for them to maybe shorten the halftime a little bit. That’s the worst part of the game for me sitting in there for 20 minutes.

But, anyway, I like what they’ve done and I feel we’ve got a great game. I never heard any fans complaining that the game is too long. In the end, you think of people who travel to our games. Not just us, but across the country, some people are in the car for half a day just coming to the game. They don’t want to see a quick game. They’re not looking to be out of there in two and a half, three hours.

So I think it’s good for the game to keep it as much as we can the way it’s been.

Question: Bob, can you just kind of take us through your backfield and how you would foresee that? How would you like that to develop with Allen and what he did last year, maybe some of the other guys like Chris and Demarco.

Stoops: Well, I’d like to see them rush the ball for a bunch of yards. I think in the end, the way we look at it, I don’t feel any of those guys have the physical prowess that Adrian Peterson had.

The stamina and the strength that he had is very unusual. Adrian could play 60 snaps or more. These guys, I just don’t feel their body types, through hopefully 14 games, will be able to. So in the end we look to use them, each of them 20, 25 snaps in that kind of way.

I think as much as anything they need to be able to take care of the football. And they did a year ago. But Allen Patrick, Chris Brown, had the bulk of the load last year when Adrian went down and did a great job for us. And I expect them to be every bit that good or better with another year.

DeMarco Murray showed great excitement and promise through the spring. Probably showed through the spring to be our biggest play threat back there. And he’s up to about 205, 210 pounds. He’s put on muscle and looks good.

So we’ll use him to complement one another. I think in the end it will be better because we’ll be able to keep them fresh. A fresh set of legs hitting the defense in a different series I think helps.

Question: Wonder if you can talk about your front seven on defense, particularly the defensive ends?

Stoops: Well, those guys, Alonzo Dotson and John Williams, are seniors that
have played a lot of football for us for the last three years. And have played good football for us. Alonzo had an excellent year a year ago. And John had an injury to overcome, but he’s past it now. John has played well for us, too. Those guys have the most experience. And it’s good experience.

Then some younger guys, Jeremy Beal, Auston English, a guy that played for us as a true freshman a couple of years ago we redshirted last year. If you played for us as a true freshman, you’re pretty good. He’s that way. Auston’s got a chance to be a really good player. Jeremy Beal, that move (from linebacker to defensive end) has looked good for us.

So we’ll just see how some of the other guys come on and play. But I feel we’ll be solid there.

Question: You played in the secondary. Yours is regarded one of the best in the country. Do you think that’s an accurate assessment of your guys’s D?

Stoops: I think it has a chance to be. A year ago, as the season started we started a little slow defensively but came on. I think by the end of the year we were first or second in the league in every single defensive category.

We have the potential to be really good back there. We’ve got to get those guys to step up and play that kind of way. Play with that kind of production. We’ve got a lot of guys back that have a lot of good experience and I was pleased that a year ago as we went through the year they got better and better as we went through the season.

So hopefully they’ll pick up where they left off and even be better as we start the year. But it has a chance to be really good, yes.

Was Adrian Peterson not used properly at OU?

I see he’s taking kickoffs in Vikings practice. We saw at his pro day he can catch the ball.

So why didn’t he do that at OU? Stoops would say, its not easy getting AD open since everyone keys on him. Bull, are you telling me the D didn’t key on Reggie Bush? how about LT? The Vikings have no QB and no WRs. So I can’t assume AD will flourish there, right now.  I wish Stoops would have had him return kicks more, and catch more passes.

Stoops says Reynolds, and Loadholt ready to kick ass

JH: What is the latest on Ryan Reynolds and Phil Loadholt?

BS: “In talking to our trainer, their checkups are great. They are both back to full speed. They say Ryan looks fabulous as he his running and is ahead of schedule. Brody (Eldridge) is still healing up, but we expect him, by the end of the summer, to be fine. It will take Brody a little time to get going (ankle) by the end of summer to get well. Phil is fine and has returned to workouts 100 percent.”

Spring Practice opens for the Sooners

NORMAN, Okla. — Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops opened spring practice on Wednesday, looking for a tough, smart starting quarterback who can make plays with his arm.

The Sooners, who dismissed starter Rhett Bomar for a violation of NCAA rules last fall, find themselves without an experienced quarterback after Paul Thompson completed his eligibility in Oklahoma’s overtime loss to Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl.

“The quarterback will be the center of attention for sure,”

Stoops said. “Our guys are going to be on the field a long time, getting those guys as many snaps and repetitions as they can. They’re a great group of guys.”

The competition between junior Joey Halzle, redshirt freshman Sam Bradford and recruit Keith Nichol will be largely held in private. Stoops closed the Sooners’ spring practices to the public and to the media, except for a pair of scrimmages and the spring game.

“I just feel sometimes there’s too much information out there when we’re trying to develop the team, whether it be injuries, whether it be total focus on the quarterbacks, those kind of things,” Stoops said. “I just don’t feel it’s necessary. It isn’t like people can’t get information.”

The university will instead control the release of practice reports through its sports information department. In part, that will keep a watchful eye off the quarterbacks.

“I don’t want them pressing like every single play and every single day is do or die. It can’t be that way,” Stoops said.

In the past, though, Stoops hasn’t chosen a new starter until the end of fall practice, making it unlikely that one will emerge behind closed doors.

“You’d love to go out there in one day and know who the guy is and give him all the snaps, but is that realistically going to happen? No. These guys all need work,” Stoops said.

“It’s not going to be decided here by spring break,” Stoops added. “Let’s let it develop and run its course.”

Stoops identified the qualities he was hoping to find in Halzle, Bradford and Nichol and said he thought all three had made “significant strength gains” during winter workouts. He was also pleased with how Halzle and Bradford gained confidence through practices leading up to the Fiesta Bowl. Nichol enrolled early to join the competition.

The quarterbacks will go through spring without leading receiver Malcolm Kelly, who is out after offseason surgery following a sophomore season in which he caught 62 passes for 993 yards and 10 scores. Safety Darien Williams and offensive lineman Brandon Walker will also miss the spring sessions. Tight end Jermaine Gresham and defensive end Alonzo Dotson will miss the first five practices but return after spring break on March 26.

Still, Stoops believes the Sooners are well-equipped to bring in a new quarterback because of the amount of starters who’ll return on offense — including the top four receivers, two tight ends and four of five starting linemen. At running back, the Sooners lose Adrian Peterson but bring back Allen Patrick, who ran for 761 yards as a backup.

“With all the experience back on the offensive line, all the experience back at running back, tight end and receiver, our offense will be much stronger around that position to help that position and develop that position,” Stoops said. “Now, we’ve just got to get out there and start to do it.”

Bob Stoops is the Coach of the Year

Stoops best pick for this year’s coach

By Roger Moore
STILLWATER NEWSPRESS (STILLWATER, Okla.)
Without question, most of the national attention when it comes to college football coaches in 2006 concerns Rutgers’ Greg Schiano.

The Scarlet Knights have become the darlings of ESPN and just about every other major media outlet on the East Coast. So, odds are the Rutgers coach will be named college football’s coach of the year by just about everybody.

But if anybody has been paying attention, the University of Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops is a runaway winner.

Consider all the distractions in and around Norman this football season and it’s hard to believe the Sooners are among the nation’s top 15 and 9-2 with one game to play.

Before the first kickoff, Rhett Bomar, who was among a few preseason Big 12 all-conference lists, was dismissed from the team after shady dealings with a local car dealership. It brought an NCAA investigation to town and put the offense in the hands of Paul Thompson, who lost the job to Bomar early in the 2005 campaign.

The bad karma continued in Eugene, Ore., when officials gave the Ducks a victory in a down-to-the wire affair.

Texas, the defending national champions, dropped OU to 3-2.

Since?

Stoops and Co. have won six-straight games, including a win in College Station.

“It’s been exciting … and interesting,” Stoops said with a laugh during Monday’s Big 12 Conference coaches teleconference. “I’ve enjoyed it. It’s been fun as a coach to see young guys step up. It shows that this is the ultimate team sport.”

A week after losing in Dallas, OU lost Heisman Trophy candidate Adrian Peterson. Plenty wrote them off, but with running backs as low as No. 4 on the preseason depth chart all Oklahoma has done is put itself in a position to compete in the Big 12 title game. It would require a Texas A&M win over UT in Austin, but considering the bad luck of the early part of the season, and the fact OU is even “in position” is remarkable.

This Saturday, OU visits Stillwater for Bedlam.

A play … or two … or three and Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy is right there with Stoops for coach of the year honors.

The Midwest City native’s first year wasn’t a complete disaster, but it wasn’t very good either. Four wins in 11 games and last place in the Big 12 South.

Gundy’s second squad takes a 6-5 record into the regular season finale. But oh, what could have been.

• A late rally by Kansas State and a 31-27 loss for the Pokes.

• A 4th-and-13, a missed extra point and a triple overtime defeat at home to Texas A&M.

• And last Saturday in Lubbock? A 17-0 lead and a game decided on the final play.

They’ll be talking about it all off-season — a team that could have easily been 9-2 entering Bedlam.

Gundy hasn’t had to deal with many off-the-field distractions in 2006. He’s had to deal with a team that’s had on-the-field troubles, and five minutes later looked like world beaters.

Stoops hopes the 2006 season doesn’t end like it started.

Gundy is just looking for his team to play 60 minutes of good football to guarantee the program’s fourth bowl game in five seasons.

Roger Moore writes for Stillwater (Okla.) NewsPress.