Post-season talk with Bob Stoops: Part V

NORMAN, Okla. — Sooners Illustrated sat in on an extended discussion with head coach Bob Stoops Friday morning the detailed all things players leaving to outlook for next season.

Back to the hypothetical with Joe and Boren, I've never heard either one of them express anything except 100 percent full support for you. But have you ever caught any flack from anyone else in the university?

Stoops: No.

Other administrators, regents?

Stoops: No.

High ranking boosters?

Stoops: No.

Now, the last one's a little surprising, high-ranking boosters because some of them are just as nutty as the truck drivers on the corners…

Stoops: Well, you said that, not me. Because we still need them to be boosters. Still finishing off a great big dormitory right across the street, so in the end, hey, people donate money. They feel they got the right to be frustrated, you know, that's fine. I mean, I don't like it either that we lost three games. But I do like the fact of what else I told you and being a part of another Big 12 Championship. It's funny. I was talking to Coach Spurrier the other day. He said, ‘I'd trade my 11-2 for a championship 10-3 any day of the week.' So, you know, sometimes you gotta look at what you do have, too. I'm not saying too much. Everyone's focusing on whatever you want, but that's again with all the different things I just talked about are truthful and reality.

You mentioned everything we see around here has been upgraded, it's been because of your team's success. But everybody else—Oklahoma State's done a lot of stuff.

Stoops: You kidding?

A&M, you guys, is there anything you guys need that you don't have that would help your program?

Stoops: Nah, I think this dormitory is really the integral piece for all our athletic programs, not just football. And I think it's going to really be special. So, it'll be helpful in recruiting and again, I'm happy for the other sports because you look at all our Olympic sports and whatnot, even they're in the other dorms across the street that aren't even quite as good as the Bud. So, I'm happy for all them. I think it's going to help everybody and it's really going to be special, so I'm sure you guys will all get a tour once it's done. But I think it's really gonna be a key part of it.

The fans really want a bigger stadium. Do you want a bigger stadium?

Stoops: No, just a better press box. And I think it's fair to say because, well just because. It'll make it a bigger stadium.

You're gonna get us sitting in the end zone. He'll put us in the corner…

Stoops: Nah, just they just need to go end zone to end zone kind of like Nebraska did or something. And I'm not saying that out of turn. I think we all, I know all of our administrators, we want to get the dorm piece done and I know that's something that's hopefully in the future. That's something that they'll look at doing. Well, it'd be—when you look at how great the East side is, to me it's do something equal or better for you guys and more seating, more boxes.

Pete's [Moris] already got us better pregame food…

Stoops: Yeah, Kenny was always a little tight on that.

Have you considered that you've had some bad luck the fact that if the chips had fallen where we thought they were going to fall, you would have gone to the Sugar Bowl and played Florida, a team that in retrospect was much more beatable than what I saw you went up against in the Cotton Bowl? You probably wouldn't have had 60,000 towel waving fans to play either to sort of drum up the atmosphere. Have you given that second thought since then?

Stoops: I'm the luckiest guy in the world. You kidding me? You know, hey, that's just [the way it was]. Why should I think about it? What's it gonna do? In the end, it's just we didn't get that draw. You know, Northern Illinois was up there.

Jim Delaney the other day saw that he's confident in the new committee when we go to four. They should put a huge emphasis on strength of schedule. Are you glad to hear that?

Stoops: I would hope so. Sure. Absolutely. I think it should always be a factor, and absolutely it needs to happen. Like Northern Illinois, to me, all that—I'm not sitting here way after the fact. I'm not at all complaining. They have their place had they beat Iowa. Right? They weren't undefeated. Like when Boise went to Georgia to start and the year and beat Georgia and goes on undefeated, hey, give it to them. They went and they showed, hey, we're gonna beat whoever. But when, you know, I don't agree with it. I just don't. You know, in the end Iowa had a difficult year and here they lose to them and go on and play a bunch of teams that we'd all love to play. So, you know, to me it's not valuing the strength of schedule enough. So, that's where this argument is going , not about where we should have been. In the end, it shouldn't matter. And when I gave you all those statistics about how many games we've won over the last three years, five years, we've probably played a more difficult schedule than about every other [team], whether it be Big 12 or most teams in the country.

Are you aware 11 of your 12 opponents next year are coming off bowl games?

Stoops: Yeah, I am. So, it doesn't get any easier, you know, but so be it.

Are you afraid of trying to temper fans' expectations for next year?

Stoops: Do you think that's possible?

I think there's a lot of fans that don't have high expectations because you're replacing your quarterback, you're replacing nine starters on defense…

Stoops: Hey, I'm not gonna tell ‘em what to think. They'll think what they wanna think and say what they want to say.

But your expectations and the bar?

Stoops: Like they always are. We're gonna do all we can to improve and compete for the Big 12 and hopefully the national and that's what we're trying to do every year.

Did you cancel your Junior Day to get all hands on deck recruiting wise?

Stoops: Yeah, more [or] as much as anything and was the biggest reason, we figured we got all our spring dates open as well as other ones here in February, so we just thought why push it and not make it as good as it ought to be, meaning we're gonna be split too much with all the kids we got coming in.

Have you been—with it coming down to the wire here, have you been knocking on more doors of kids that are committed to other places like that?

Stoops: I think you kinda always are. You know, how committed is somebody and/or things constantly change, I think, for everybody during recruiting that you're always sort of reassessing things, even for the other team. What's this kid gonna think when they sign this guy now? And I think everybody's playing that game.

I take it losing some guys you can always say, ‘We didn't know we were going to lose this guy. We really want to talk to you.'

Stoops: Well, that's part of it, too. Sure, yeah.

One of the criticisms from former players is you've gone soft. Your program's gone soft. The players are soft. The coaches are soft…

Stoops: Oh yeah, I used to walk uphill five miles to school, too. So, tell them that. So, we do things as close to as we have for a long, long time. Again, when you're dealing with injuries or whatever, you can only do some much.

Another criticism is that Schmitty's too hard on them. So, which is it? Are you too hard on them, or are they too soft?

Stoops: Well, I thought we were too soft, so how could we be too hard on them? Ask them how to define that, how that can be. That's [interesting]. Too hard on them, but you're too soft. Wow, I just never know how to be.

What do you tell the players?

Stoops: That Coach Schmidt trained them just how he trained everybody else.

I mean that's a pretty big accomplishment…

Stoops: I know. All trained by Coach Schmidt. Ask those guys if he was too hard on them. Call AD up and ask him how hard he was on him.

Did you guys teach Trent [Williams] how to fight in postgame?

Stoops: No, I didn't. But I did see that. That's too bad.

AD was probably the one guy that was laughing in Coach Schmitty's face?

Stoops: Oh yeah. That's what I'm saying. They're sitting here saying the players are soft, Coach Schmidt's too hard. I don't get it. The soft ones think he's too hard. That's probably correct. Guys like Davin Joseph, Jammal Brown, they're where they are because of him, Mark Clayton.

I never got to ask you, did you ever get to watch that last game when he was chasing [Eric] Dickerson's record?

Stoops: You know what? I was at the Beef Bowl at Lawry's, and I had a weak bladder so I had to go up to the bathroom about every five minutes and I kept checking the TV. I didn't have a weak bladder. I was making an excuse to leave the table. I drank a lot of iced tea, so I had to keep getting up and excusing myself because it was late in the fourth quarter and I kept going up to the bar area. They had a TV on, trying to see where he was. And so yeah, just proud of him. He did all he could.

Is there a way for you to [surround] those players who handled Schmitty with your current teams. Do you try and do that already to kind of mentor those guys and talk to them about that they went through the same things?

Stoops: As much as you can, you know. So, you know, I love it when our guys are around. You always want to put them in front of your guys. And it's like DeMarco [Murray]. He's one of the greatest workout guys we had. It seems to be working pretty good for him. Well, we could go on and on about the other guys we got playing.

Did you get to spend a little bit of time with him in Dallas?

Stoops: He came by one day in practice, so on our breaks I got with him a couple times. But he did with everybody else, so, yeah, really proud of him. He's doing great.

You think you should put out a Notre Dame statement in case Brian Kelly leaves since you had to do that how many times a couple years ago, four or five? I thought I might save Pete some work.

Stoops: No. No, shoot.

For the rest of the discussion, visit the links right here:
Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV

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