It seemed like a throwaway question that would get a rehearsed answer from Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops at Big 12 media days.
He was asked about being the longest tenured coach in FBS right now since Frank Beamer has stepped down at Virginia Tech.
The question wasn’t surprising, but the answer definitely was. Stoops has always been a little more reserved in talking about his future, saying he values his health.
From the sounds of it, though, maybe his health really is that good.
“I would like to think I'm in really good health,” Stoops said. “I take care of myself. I can't wait for this season, much like I couldn't 17 years ago for my first one as a head coach. It's exciting. You have a new team every year, and I can't wait for it.
“So hopefully I'm going another ten years or so. I don't think I will be one of those guys, God bless him, like Coach Snyder, I'm not going that long, but I sure can go to retirement age.”
Of all the recruiting wins lately for the Sooners, this might be the biggest. One tactic that certainly could have been used in negatively recruiting against OU has been Stoops’ time with the Sooners coming to an end.
His twin boys, Isaac and Drake, are both quality 2018 prospects, and you had to figure he would coach through their days in college (especially if they walk-on at OU).
His message Tuesday spoke volumes, however, that his ailing health in the past might have been why he thought about getting out. His hip surgery turned everything upside down.
“I didn’t realize how tough it was until I had it fixed,” Stoops said. “I didn’t realize how much I was in, off the field, dealing with chronic pain all the time. Once I had it fixed and done, can’t believe I didn’t that done a year sooner than I did.”
With perhaps a renewed pep in his step, Stoops has seemed to be more agreeable in the last 12 months. Coincidentally, things have turned around for the Sooners on the recruiting trail.
OU closed the 2016 class strong with Scout 300 prospects like Amani Bledsoe, Mark Jackson, Caleb Kelly and Parrish Cobb and four-star prospects such as Zach Farrar, Erik Swenson and Mykel Jones.
And the 2017 class, well, yea, you know the story there. SoonerSquad17 has been an absolute beast so far with 11 of 15 commits in the Scout 300 and ranked No. 5 overall in the country.
Stoops said his approach hasn’t changed. It’s the recruits and their intentions are the one variable you can’t account for.
“We’ve always pushed hard for guys we know we want early,” Stoops said. “What you can’t gauge is their interest in committing early, their interest to visit schools early. That part is different from year-to-year. Have we changed anything? Not really. It’s just working out that way.”
There have been subtle changes, and we’ll see another one of those next weekend when OU hosts an invite-only BBQ for the 2017 commits and plenty of the top targets for 2017, 2018 and even 2019.
OU has always had summer camps and satellite camps. But usually by mid-June, the recruiting focal point fades away from the mainstream with everything centered on the season itself.
Not this time around. Recruiting is front-and-center one last time, a perfect end of summer opportunity to make one last pitch before OU coaches start zeroing in on Houston and high school recruits turn their focus toward their respective seasons.
Sooners Illustrated will break down the big-time BBQ event all next week, but it’s safe to say it’s quickly becoming a who’s who of OU targets and certainly geared at earning that valuable face time with recruits sooner rather than later.
A healthy Stoops, an energized Stoops, an aggressive coaching staff, everything is working for the Sooners on the trail. Next weekend should be another great opportunity to make an imprint.