OU 15 questions for spring '15: No. 4

Oklahoma introduces four new coaches to a staff that has just one coach returning to his previous positional responsbility

Oklahoma spring football is just around the corner. Coming off a disappointing 2014 season, all Sooner fans are looking forward to turning the page to 2015.

Every edition of spring practices bring along questions, but there has arguably never been a more fascinating and uncertain spring than the one OU is about to begin.

Sooners Illustrated is here to help. During these next 15 days, we are going to pose one major question each day regarding OU’s 2015 spring football issues.

The countdown will end March 6, the final day before OU’s first day of practice and coincidentally, OU’s second junior day event and OU basketball’s showdown vs. Kansas in a huge day in OU sports. After spring practice, we will revisit these same 15 questions and see what has been answered and what remains left to be figured out.

Question No. 4: How will the coaching shifts impact things?

After an off-season with more coaching changes than any other year under Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, the Sooners are in a state of flux.

There are four new coaches on staff, and there plenty of questions. Not only that, but even among the remaining coaches, only one remains in his previous capacity – Bill Bedenbaugh at offensive line.

New offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley will have the greatest impact and most obvious – and immediate – effect on Oklahoma. What will make the biggest difference is the overall lack of positional experience by all of the shifted coaches.

Incoming coaches Dennis Simmons (outside receivers), Kerry Cooks (defensive backs) and Diron Reynolds (defensive line) all have experience at their positions, but there isn’t much beyond that.

Mike Stoops, who is also the lone defensive coordinator on staff, has never coached linebackers, but he’ll lead the outside linebackers. Receivers are new to Cale Gundy, but he’s in charge of inside receivers – tight ends and slot guys.

Jay Boulware has a little bit of experience coaching running backs, which will help, and Tim Kish, who is coaching middle linebackers, finds his experience is almost exclusively coaching linebackers.

Nobody cares about the changing names. All that matters is what the changes will mean for the Sooners.

That’s really an unknown until the season starts.

Gundy’s ability to recruit will help the inside receivers. The new coaches impact will be seen soon. For one, it’s easy to see that the secondary being coached by just one person could help the continuity – improving on the Sooners’ pass defense, which was one of the worst in the country.

A lot will be realized, and very soon, about what this new coaching staff means. With so many “new” coaches, Oklahoma’s coaching staff will have a very different look this season, one that will be undoubtedly important for the most stable coach on the Sooners’ staff – head man Bob Stoops.


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