The Oklahoma Sooners are going through the biggest change since Bob Stoops came in and took over as head coach in 1999. For the first time since coming to Norman, Stoops fired one of his assistant coaches, Jackie Shipp, who has been with the OU football program since Stoops came into town. He also relieved Bruce Kittle and James Patton of their duties.
These moves couldn’t have been easy for Stoops. Shipp was there when he won a national championship. He was there when OU won more Big 12 titles than any other team. Jackie Shipp coached men like Tommie Harris and Gerald McCoy. Kittle was an Iowa man, learning from Stoops’ mentor Hayden Fry. He was out of college football for more than two decades when Stoops brought him in to help with recruiting. Offensive line coach James Patton left to join former OU offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson in Indiana.
Much of the reason for the changes is the fact that the OU football has fallen in production in rushing offense and rushing defense over the past few years. The offensive line has struggled at times under Patton, while the defensive line was shredded last season by Notre Dame, Kansas State and Texas A&M. Changes needed to be made, and Stoops did what he felt was necessary.
It wasn’t completely his coaches’ fault for the 2012 performance. Patton lost two starters before the season even started, but he turned in a solid performance in the middle of the line all season. Jackie Shipp’s defensive line was not as dominant as it had been, but it was serviceable. In Norman, Okla., serviceable isn’t good enough. Oklahoma has to dominate in all areas of football, because they are good enough to compete for the national title. If they can’t dominate, they can’t meet Stoops’ end goal.
The first addition Bob Stoops made to his team was Bill Bedenbaugh, who replaces Patton coaching the offensive line.
“Bill is a passionate teacher and a demanding coach who I believe will make an immediate impact on our football team.” – Bob Stoops
Bedenbaugh comes from West Virginia, where he coached their offensive line. Not only does signing Bedenbaugh help the Sooners, but it hurts their newest Big 12 rival. Bob Stoops basically went out and stole a Big 12 team’s assistant coach to man the exact same position in Norman. It wasn’t a hard sell, since Bedenbaugh coached under Mike Stoops at Arizona. This is a huge pickup for Oklahoma, since 247Sports.com listed him earlier this month as one of the Top-50 recruiters in the nation, and that is where Oklahoma needs a lot of help now.
Three players have recently announced they are leaving the OU football team, and it’s time to stop the bleeding. For Bob Stoops, Bill Bedenbaugh is the first step in that healing process.