Stoops' job 'secondary' to none

Could there be a better scenario and one that Mark Stoops couldn't pass up? What about the younger Stoops (Mark) joining his older brother (Bob) on the coaching staff of the defending national champion Oklahoma Sooners.

Anybody would jump at the opportunity of working along side a sibling, right? Not to mention, a sucessful one. In just two seasons as head coach of the Sooners, Bob Stoops has become the toast of Norman by delivering the school's seventh national title.

But in the end, Mark Stoops just couldn't resist himself.

Instead of opting to match wits with his brother in Norman, Oklahoma and assist the Sooners in their quest for a second consecutive national title, he had a better idea-joining the Hurricanes coaching staff.

"Bob and I had some long discussions and the possibility was there that I might go work with him in Oklahoma," said Mark Stoops, hired in the spring as UM defensive back coach. "But when we both sat down and looked at the whole picture, this was just to good an opportunity to pass up."

"Without question, Oklahoma and Miami are two of the top programs in the nation. So I couldn't have gone wrong with whatever decision I would have made. The weather is great in South Florida, the coaches have all really been first-class and expect some great things from this group."

The group that Stoops refers himself to might have been the determining factor in his coming to Coral Gables and not to taking his expertise to Oklahoma. Stay in Oklahoma and Stoops would have been dealt the task of working with just two senior and four junior defensive backs.

As defensive back coach at Miami, Stoops will be in charge of one of the best secondaries in all of college football. If not the best. Stoops couldn't wait to get to work when he found out from head coach Larry Coker he had been hired. That would probably be the reaction from anybody selected to work with a unit consisting of Mike Rumph, Phillip Buchanon, Ed Reed and James Lewis.

"Its just great to be able to work with such a great and athletic group," said Stoops. "These guys all bring something to the table and have a tremendous work ethic."

Stoops was the defensive coordinator at the University of Houston last season and coach defensive backs from 1997-98 at the University of Wyoming. Nothing against those schools, but the 34-year-old had never seen as much speed assembled in a college secondary.

"In the short time that I've been here these guys have amazed me with some of the things they get done on the field. Ed is a play-maker and will lay some wood on anybody. Mike and Phillip are speed burners that will stay up with anybody. It's going to be a lot of fun."

For the players as well.

"Coach Stoops know what he's doing," said Buchanon, a junior, expected to start this season at one of the corner spots. "He came in here and right away picked off where (Coach) Pagano left off. We haven't missed a beat."

Reed, a first-team All-American last season who is regarded as the nation's top returning defensive back, also had Stoop's attention since the first day he stepped on the field.

"I feel comfortable with him, " Reed said. "We're going to do some special things with Coach Stoops here this season."

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