OU a well-oiled machine

Things are rolling in Norman, and a lot of that has to do with the coaching staff assembled by Bob Stoops.

No doubt if you stay at one place for such a long time complacency can start to creep in. Even when you still feel like you're at your best, things can begin to get off track.

Nobody was clamoring for Oklahoma to close the door on the Bob Stoops era, but after a couple of "disappointing" 10-win seasons in 2011 and 2012, it was obvious something needed to be done.

It started following the 2011 season with the departures of defensive coaches Willie Martinez and Brent Venables. In their place is Tim Kish for linebackers and Mike Stoops is back at OU running the show.

That didn't solve all the problems, though. After the 2012 season and almost immediately after signing the Class of 2013, OU went to work.

Even though the guys let go were among Stoops' closest friends, assistant coaches Jackie Shipp, James Patton and Bruce Kittle were shown the door.

New blood was brought in with Bill Bedenbaugh at offensive line, Jerry Montgomery running the defensive line and Jay Boulware manning the tight ends and special teams.

It helped on the field in 2013, and it has paid even more dividends on the recruiting trail.

"The consistency and the continuity is there," Stoops said. "I thought these guys really, through last year, worked together in a great, great way in the way that they're teaching their techniques at their position and the way they're communicating separately, offense and defense."

No coaching changes were made following OU's 11-2 season that closed with an impressive four-game winning streak, punctuated with the upset win against Alabama in the Allstate Sugar Bowl. No coaching changes were asked for by the fans, either.

OU closed strong on the trail to earn the top-ranked recruiting class for the Big 12 for the Class of 2014, according to Scout.

"There's the positive way we finish, and recruiting has something to do with that as well," Stoops said. "It's hard to determine which is because of the game (Sugar Bowl), which is due to hard work and the consistent success we've had. It has been positive, though."

The coaches are working together. Whether it's on the field or on the recruiting trail, it's clear the camaraderie is there and it's a team effort.

"We do a great job with all these guys communicating across, too, offense and defense of what we'll be seeing this week and how we can help each other," Stoops said. "Defense needs to see this, offense needs to see that and how can we fit it into practice and individual drills.

"There's a lot of that, that's really been positive and strong and I think, too, that it's helped us overall, recruiting wise."


Sooners Illustrated Top Stories