DALLAS, TX — Day two of the 2014 Big 12 Conference Media Days continued with head coach Bob Stoops and the Oklahoma Sooners taking the podium and conversing with the media.
Stoops’ opening statement did not last long, opening the floor for questions. However, Stoops gave some great insight in to a fun off-season for Sooner football.
Coming off its huge Sugar Bowl victory, the head coach thought this was one of the best summers the team has had. It’s certainly been a busy off-season for the Sooners, with new stadium improvements, new names on the roster, a position change, and a big rule change.
First, I asked Bob Stoops what benefits he’s seen from being able to get more access to players during the summer, and how the freshmen were developing.
Stoops seemed very pleased with the way things were going with player development and the ability to be there for the guys. He noted the freshmen were looking strong, especially the key incoming players.
Workouts must be going well with Stoops stating he’s never seen strength and conditioning coach Jerry Schmidt this happy.
“We’re so accountable to these young men through the summer and really year‑round in what they’re able to do,” Stoops commented. ” Just the ability to be able to see them daily, to go into the weight room, put your arm around them, interact with them, motivate them, how is school going, that’s just the positive side of it just to have more interaction with them and to hopefully influence them in a positive way that way.”
One difficulty the Sooners will have in 2014 is replacing its three-headed monster at running back. Though, the Oklahoma head coach said Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine have added weight and he believes the OU running game will have a much “bigger” look than last year.
Also, with newcomers Baker Mayfield and Dorial Green-Beckham, the Youngstown native is working to get those guys eligible. Specifically on Mayfield, Stoops believes his walk-on status should help OU’s case to get the waiver they’re seeking. The NCAA will, of course, have the final say.
“I think it’s one thing if you’ve invested a scholarship in an individual and he decides to leave, heck, they even half the time allow them to play immediately,” Stoops said. “But a guy that you haven’t invested a scholarship in, I don’t know why it would be an issue.”
Another interesting move this summer was Blake Bell’s switch from quarterback to tight end. Stoops was asked if he would consider using him at quarterback at all, but Stoops believes Bell is in the right place.
“It’s in his genes, his dad was an NFL tight end for eight years,” Stoops aid. “So he fits the bill perfectly and it’s a position that we want to continue to make stronger. So I think he’s really going to impact us in a great way at the tight end position.”
Stoops, also, commented on kicker Michael Hunnicutt. Hunnicutt was selected to the Lou Groza Award Watch List, and Stoops expects good things from him this season.
“Michael Hunnicutt is a true guy that has a chance to be a First‑Team All‑American, was definitely within an eyelash of being that a year ago,” said Bob Stoops. “[He's] very consistent, very strong leg. Michael’s been a mainstay for us now going on three years and [we're] excited about he continues to get stronger every year.”
The Sooners are not short on talent, but they aren’t lacking in talented opponents either. Athletic director Joe Castiglione and Stoops have made it a point to bring in big names.
“It’s been intentional, that ‑‑ in the BCS formula, and even now with a playoff formula,” says Stoops. “When all things are equal with records and whatnot, if someone has played a tougher non-conference schedule, to some degree it would usually benefit you. Otherwise, why play? Otherwise, you might as well just schedule three yawners that no one will pay attention to and not put yourself at risk of losing that game.”
Stoops, of course, made comments regarding the Alabama game. It’s “an experience” the team has built off of this off-season. Oklahoma’s season is still over a month away, but the good spirits have yet to waiver this summer with Bob Stoops reporting some good things in Dallas.
The full transcript of Bob Stoops’ press conference can be seen at ASAP Sports.