Bob Stoops Says He’s Still Stinging From Way Last Season Ended


OU head coach Bob Stoops says the pressure he’s feeling this offseason is no different than it is any season.

In an interview this week with OU beat writer Jason Kersey of the Oklahoma City Oklahoman, Stoops said the pressure coming off of last season – one of the three worst in terms of wins and losses in the OU coach’s 16-year reign – is no different than what he feels coming into any new season.

It’s always that way, and it is like that everywhere, Stoops said. “It’s the same every year in my eyes,” he told the Oklahoman.

Asked if he had been able to uncover what went so terribly wrong in the Sooners’ devastating beating by Clemson in the bowl game last season. Stoops said, “It ultimately falls in my lap. I didn’t do a good enough job getting (the team prepared to play).

The winningest football coach in OU’s long and distinguished history also suggested that the stunning overtime loss at home in the regular-season finale against in-state rival Oklahoma State may have had more of a carryover effect on the Sooners’ performance in the bowl game than people realize. In the game to which Stoops is referring, the Cowboys overcame a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit to tie the game in regulation and then went on to win it in the first overtime session.

“You look around, and in a lot of cases, teams that lose that last game before a bowl game, it can have a little bit of an effect,” the OU coach said. “You talk a lot about it. You try to challenge them (the players). I didn’t do a good enough job of being able to erase that.”

Reminded that the Sooners were just a couple of missed field goals (against Kansas State) and pick-sixes (vs. TCU) from being 8-0 last season going into the Baylor game (in which OU suffered a 34-point shellacking at home), Stoops said that may be fair to say, but he didn’t want to talk about that because nobody wants to hear it.

Sep 7, 2013; Norman, OK, USA; Oklahoma Sooners head coach Bob Stoops (left) on the sidelines with defensive coordinator Mike Stoops during the game against the West Virginia Mountaineers at Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

“It’s true that we weren’t far off from having another 10-win season – which we’ve had a lot of them, 12 of the last 15 years,” Stoops acknowledged. “I don’t think anybody has done that. But it didn’t happen.”

You miss some field goals, throw some pick-sixes, and before you know it, you’re on the wrong end of it, and that’s how it goes, he said.

As flip as that might sound, coming from the OU head coach, you can be assured that no one was more dissatisfied with the way the 2014 season went for the Sooners than the head man himself.

Stoops is not a man that is going to make excuses for the way his team performs, nor is he one to share his feelings publicly. He isn’t one to oversell or undersell his team. He just goes out and wins games – all but 44 of the 212 he has coached at Oklahoma over the past 16 seasons. Nineteen of those losses have come in just four seasons, including the five from last season.

For those among the Sooner faithful who, like the popular folk-tale character Chicken Little, believe the sky is falling, as it were (on Oklahoma football), need I remind you that things could be a heck of a lot worse.

How would you like to be a Texas Longhorn fan right now? You best not answer that.

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