Bob Stoops' last stand officially begins

All the changes are official. And with spring football starting Saturday for OU, this is the staff that is going to tell Stoops' story.

It’s either the beginning of the end or the dawning of a new era. Either way, this is the week the first step begins for Oklahoma in regards to the 2015 season.

The problems of 2014 have been well documented and beaten into the ground at this point. The changes, both expected and unexpected, have been made. This is the crew Bob Stoops is taking with him to try to get things right.

The first dominoes fell in early January when it was revealed OU’s co-offensive coordinators were out the door. Josh Heupel and Jay Norvell had become so entrenched with OU that it seemed unfathomable for those changes to occur. But they did.

The next hire could become the most important one in Stoops’ tenure. Looking high and low, Stoops found the identity he is looking for going forward. The Air Raid offense is coming back to Norman, and Lincoln Riley is the one in charge of it.

That alone would have made it an interesting offseason, but the changes were just beginning. Bobby Jack Wright, after 15 years at OU in various capacities, is headed off into the sunset and announced his retirement a couple of weeks before signing day.

OU finished the 2015 class with 24 signees and ranked No. 14 in the Scout rankings. It also left signing day with no defensive backs coach and no receivers coach.

The seeds had been planted, though, and it was just about making it official with Kerry Cooks taking over as the secondary coach and Dennis Simmons now the man for outside wide receivers.

And if that concluded things, everybody would nod in agreement with Bob Stoops listening to the fans, to the donors and making the necessary changes.

But we weren’t done yet. Now it became a little bit of musical chairs with assignments. Cale Gundy, here with Stoops since day one, is now coaching inside receivers and tight ends to go along with being the recruiting coordinator.

Jay Boulware, who had coached tight ends, is now moved to running backs coach as well as still running the special teams.

Mike Stoops has gone from coaching the safeties to being the defensive coordinator and outside linebackers, while Tim Kish is in charge of the inside linebackers.

Everything was set. Until it wasn’t. Less than 24 hours after learning of all the changes and the staff seeming set, OU was thrown for a curveball.

OU’s ace in the hole on the recruiting trail had been Jerry Montgomery. He was promoted to co-defensive coordinator and earned Big 12 Recruiter of the Year from Scout.

He saw an opportunity to leave for the Green Bay Packers, and he decided he couldn’t pass it up. So it was back to the drawing board for Stoops. The search ended less than two weeks ago when Diron Reynolds was plucked from the Stanford staff to run OU’s defensive line.

There you go. Fans wanted changes, demanded something be done. Stoops has done it. He has found his staff. He has picked his staff.

Spring practice begins Saturday. The disappointment of an 8-5 record in 2014 now in the rear view mirror, the page officially turns to 2015.

A year to remember, for sure, we just don’t know for what yet. Either the rebirth of Stoops’ tenure at OU, or the signifying the sight of the finish line for Stoops and OU.

It’s one ride we’re all going to be on during the next 10 months.


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