Wednesday with Stoops: 11-21

NORMAN, Okla. — Head coach Bob Stoops met with the media Wednesday for an interesting final interview session before Bedlam, and SI has it.

  • First off, we asked him what he though about the schedule and having three spread out byes next year. The Sooners get timely byes before road trips to Notre Dame, Baylor and Oklahoma State: "I got to, I guess. You know? That's the way it is...Well, there's just all kinds of holes initially. I think when we first looked at it, were gonna have like this year, a game and off, a game and off. And we were gonna have two games going into playing Notre Dame, who's on there fifth, fourth or fifth game. How do you have time to build. You know what I mean? It's just like this year trying to get on the field to grow as a team. You need to do it. It's just unusual, too with the way the calendar falls with the extra week next year and wanting to have a presence on championship weekend. So, all of it together it's just the way it is."
  • From there, it was intriguing to see what he had to say about this year's college football landscape. Of course, last weekend was the first time since 2007 when the Nos. 1 and 2 teams lost on the same day. His response about the craziness: "No different than about every other year. I mean, well I shouldn't say every year, but there's been a bunch of ‘em."
  • Next, when questioned about if he has a feel for how his team will play every week, Stoops responded with this: "Uh, yeah. Yeah, but usually that feeling's pretty good. Every now and then I get surprised. Twenty percent of the time I've been surprised. My average is pretty good. The other 80 I've been OK."
  • He wouldn't tip his cap about this week, though: "Who knows? But you know what? A lot of that's been said other times with other games and it doesn't always work out that way. So, we'll just have to see, have to play it out. And I'm not gonna sit here and predict or [say] what I think's gonna happen. That would be predicting, so it never comes out in the paper the right way."
  • This Bedlam game will mark Senior Day for 20 players, one of which hasn't seen any action this year. That's center Ben Habern, who concluded his career due to lingering neck and back issues prior to the season. Stoops offered up some kinds words for Mr. Habern: "Yeah, Ben's a great, young man. I mean he's a great person, great student and it's unfortunate the injuries piled up on him. And, you know, the work of those linemen is tough. To carry around 300, 310 pounds, to bang into someone constantly, it just didn't work out for him. So, it's you feel for him, but he's got a bright future ahead of him. That's what I always tell guys. A guy who's smart enough to know that once I was finished playing, I was all broke down as well that I was finished and that my future as a coach would be one heck of a lot longer than it was as a player. So, you know, if that's what he wants to do, he'll be a good one."
  • He stopped short of saying Habern's been a role model for the guys on this year's team, however: "Well, it's kinda hard to use him as a role model when he's not playing. I mean role model's are usually when the guy's doing the same thing, and he's just not able to do it. Not his fault, but he's not able to."
  • Keeping it on the topic of offensive line, Stoops answered how many he'd like to have available every year: "We'd like to have around 16." But they don't ever seem to reach that? "We're trying." And a lot of that's because of injury. "Again, it's a tough sport. You know?"
  • I proceeded to ask him about wide receiver Justin Brown and what he's meant to this program, being that this will be his last home game in his one and only season at OU: "Yeah, he's been--he's made a great contribution in many ways. You know, his leadership, his attitude, his how businesslike he is in how he works. But then the big plays he's made. You know, he's been a consistent competitor, catching the ball, punt returns, making big plays, blocking. He's been great."
  • Stoops said they got everything they expected out of Brown from the people they talked to. But those weren't any people at Penn State: "No, because we didn't ask them. In the end, it was just talking to people about Justin and just looking at his track record of playing and starting as a true freshman and playing for three straight years, competing in the Big Ten. That says it right there."
  • So, given J.B.'s success, will they tap into the Delaware grounds anymore? "You know, we recruit a little of everywhere. We got [Charles] Tapper from Baltimore. That's out that way, and so we're not opposed to it."
  • Back to the scheduling for next season, the team that used to play Nebraska every Thanksgiving week is off in 2013: "I don't [care]. It doesn't much matter. You know, since that's how it'll be, I'll like it."
  • He admitted everything's not 100 percent set in stone yet, though: "Oh, I mean I would guess there's always a chance for that, but I'll know when you know. Well, that's not true. Joe [Castiglione] usually tips me off."
  • With respect to last weekend's game, there wasn't a single touchback. Was it the air? "Yeah, it's just I think when it's just a little bit cooler, cold, the ball just isn't as [aerodynamic]. Kinda like you're golf ball's a little more dead, too. It doesn't jump off the club as well as it does when it's warm."
  • The altitude? "Hey, man, you have to ask them all about all that. That's isn't--I don't know about [it]. I wasn't checking the elevation."
  • Lastly, Stoops got animated in a discussion about him and his brother. First, he was asked about how Mike Stoops uses previous failures a lot to motivate his guys, while Bob typically moves on. "Well, I mean in the end...yeah, I mean it's all part of it. You know, and again it's all the preparation, all the work, being ready to play. To what degree? I don't know how to ever quantify that. So, what do you want me to say?" So, is that their fundamental difference? "Look, I don't forget either. But in the end, what do you do? You work. You get ready to play and then you go play. So, I don't understand what you guys are asking me. You know?" Well, Mike seems to use anything from the past to motivate his guys. "I don't know. Ask him. You know? You're asking me something I don't know how to answer you. You keep [asking]." Finally, so you don't care about losing to OSU by 34 last year. "I didn't say that. Now, you're making [up things]. Now, you're saying things I didn't say. I said--I acknowledged it that yeah it's part of the deal, but to what degree and how you guys want me to, I'm not gonna make a story about it. You know? So, that's my issue. I don't know what words you're trying to get me to say, and I didn't say what you said. OK? So, in the end, write your story. I don't need to be a part of it. With that, we're done." Interesting stuff to end it. That's for sure.

Follow me at or

Sooners Illustrated Top Stories