January 30, 2023

Bob Stops has won many soccer games in Oklahoma for nearly two decades and knows the high standards and expectations of the OU soccer brand, and the pressure and privilege of “feeding the monster” like no other Barry Swiss gladly said.

This has been a troubling football season for the Sooner Nation. OU fans are not used to a 6-6 season. Ironically, you have to go back to 1998, the year before Stoops burst onto the scene, to the last time Oklahoma didn’t produce a winning streak.

In fact, in what is known as the modern era of OU football (since 1947), the Sooners have lost more games than they have won, only five times, and three of those in three consecutive seasons (1996, 1997 and 1998). , and finished .500 three more times.

So, you think Oklahoma fans aren’t a little spoiled? And for pretty good reason, I might add.

When Stoops took over the job of head coach at Oklahoma – 24 years old yesterday (December 1, 1998), by the way – he was quoted as saying:

“I will not shy away from the expectations you have in Oklahoma. There are no excuses. You succeed or you don’t.”

Stoops kept that promise. His success was almost instantaneous. He won seven games in his freshman season and the next season, in 2000, his Sooner team went undefeated and won a national championship. In a remarkable 18 years, Stoops won 190 games and 10 conference championships. He is the most successful coach in the history of the Sooner Gridiron.

Stoops’ name was on the shortlist of almost every top job that came up in college football right at the start of his long tenure with Norman, but to his credit, he stayed the course and exited the program in a significantly better place than when he came in .

One of the assistants Stoops brought to OU as part of his early employees was Brent Venables, who was on the Kansas State staff when Stoops was defense coordinator there. Venables was part of the Sooner program under Stoops for 13 seasons before leaving to become defensive coordinator at Clemson.

Stoops has been a long-time Venables supporter, and when his close friend and former colleague took the job as head coach at Oklahoma, the legendary head coach couldn’t have been happier, he proudly declared to that athletic director Joe Castiglione and OU and brought in the right man for the job.

Though it had been five seasons since Stoops last coached a game at Oklahoma, he didn’t hesitate to volunteer his services to help with the coaching change and agreed to help with recruiting in the crucial final days before National Signing Day and also shared about coaching responsibilities in preparing the Sooner team for their Alamo Bowl game against Oregon.

Nobody knows more about the history and tradition of Oklahoma’s football program and Brent Venable’s new role on it better than Bob Stoops, and earlier this week Stoops performed with Chris Plank and the former Sooner player Gabe Ikard on SiriusXM College Sports to discuss the 2022 season and whether OU fans should be concerned about the future.

“I’m not going to be the guy who sits here and talks about important issues,” Stoops said. “Brent and his staff can tell you what can be done better, and they will. I never react to anything; never have.”

Stoops pointed out that last season’s 11-2 record and 2022’s 6-6 regular season differed only in the fact that Oklahoma was down the right in a tight game that was by one goal more often in 2021 or less than this season.

“We’re losing our last three games (Baylor, West Virginia, Texas Tech),” said the former OU head coach. “They were all at a field goal and all on the last drive of the game. So if you make a stop or you do another first down or you don’t have a dropped pass or whatever, suddenly it’s different.

“The two games that we don’t play very well in,” Stoops said, “we don’t have Dillon Gabriel for most games (TCU) and every other one (Texas). And then I see a year ago and we win five games by less than a touchdown.

“I see,” Stoops informed the audience. “I’m not pretending it’s okay, but you just gotta do some more plays. Literally another game or two on either side of the ball… and you’ve got a few more wins. We were able to make them a year ago and not this year.”

You can point the finger at the coaches or the players or say it’s a combination of both, Stoops said. What it boils down to is, “You have to be able to do one or two more plays to change the script.

“The coaches understand, the players understand,” he repeated. “But we’re not as far away as it might seem.”

It doesn’t matter now, but the reality is that Oklahoma was just a few games away from potentially being an eight-win or even nine-win team in 2022.

Football is an execution game, as Venables likes to say, in all three phases of the game. This football season in Oklahoma was living proof of that.

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