The OU Stoops dilemma

With the changing Sooners staff, Bob Stoops might be faced with letting go of his brother

There was no pause or hesitation in Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops’ voice Tuesday night, but the words came out like they’d been rehearsed during those sleepless nights he’d had during the past few weeks.

Having just had to let go of two coordinators and knowing that his brother and current defensive coordinator interviewed with other teams, Stoops found himself in a predicament that had to be addressed.

Stoops has always had a close relationship with his assistant coaches. That’s nothing new. What makes this instance unique is that Stoops knew he had to make changes.

He had the words when the question came, but he still doesn’t have the complete answer.

“His status is unchanged with us,” Stoops said of his brother Mike. “This is what I anticipate is Mike to be here and for it to be unchanged that way.”

There are a lot of ifs in that statement, and maybe there are some that Bob Stoops doesn’t want to have to answer.

Mike Stoops, whose defense struggled to defend the pass in its second year in the 3-4, was reported to have interviewed with LSU during the weekend.

With nine players returning into a defensive scheme that will be in its third season, Bob Stoops doesn’t anticipate having to make a switch at defensive coordinator.

Still, he said he would be willing if that time ever came.

“If I felt it would be best for us, I would,” Bob Stoops said. “As I said, I definitely would. I don’t feel that would be best with what we’re doing. Not with the number of guys we have coming back and what we’ve got invested in what we’re doing.”

If that time comes, it’ll be different than firing a long-time friend or a former star player turned offensive coordinator. Telling a younger brother to hit the road won’t be easy.

Bob Stoops said he’ll make it as a business decision, but there’s a chance Mike Stoops doesn’t even let it come to that.

When Oklahoma’s head coach said Tuesday that he didn’t anticipate any more staff changes, he included a clause – “At this point, no.”

Defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery was promoted to co-defensive coordinator Tuesday, and Mike Stoops was no longer listed as assistant head coach on the team’s web site.

That doesn’t mean Mike Stoops is gone, at least not from Oklahoma’s standpoint.

“This time of the year, sometimes things happen,” Stoops said. “At this point this is where it is.

“People can speculate but in the end, at this point, with recruiting and all, this is where it is.”

It’s just not very clear.

Bob Stoops made it clear Tuesday. He won’t make a change just for the sake of change. While he has believed that a continual presence has helped at Oklahoma for years, sometimes a change is needed.

Mike and Bob have been side-by-side for many years. Obviously more often than just being on the football field together.

That’s a tough bond to break, and one that will be even more difficult if Bob Stoops is the one that has to sever it.

No matter the decision, Bob Stoops won’t go through it lightly.

“For a long time, stability, I felt was really strong and successful here,” Bob Stoops said. “At times, you feel that it’s not where it needs to be. You need to go in a different direction. Sometimes, people go in a different direction and it’s worse. I don’t go in a different direction just to do it.”


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