The quarterback who helped lead Oklahoma back to national prominence in 2000 is coming back to Norman.
Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops announced on Thursday that former Sooner All-American and Heisman runner-up Josh Heupel, who spent last season as the tight ends coach at Arizona, will take over as the Sooners new quarterback coach.
Below are OU head coach Bob Stoops' comments on the hiring of the former Sooner quarterback from Thursday's press conference.
On the hiring of Josh Heupel as the new quarterbacks coach
Stoops: We hired our quarterback coach today. Many people are familiar with Josh Heupel.
What's great about Josh is that he has been here, up until last year when he was with my brother Mike at Arizona for the year. He has been a graduate assistant for us and in our offense for the last couple of years leading up to Mike hiring him. He played for us for two years. I think, in our seven years here, he's been with me and with us for five of the seven. So, he understands our system inside and out.
Having come up and played under Mike Leach and Chuck Long, I believe he's got a great insight and feel for coaching the quarterback having done it himself, and having done it for two guys who were instrumental in our program and how we run our offense. And then having worked with Coach Wilson and Coach Long the last few years before moving to Arizona, it's really a perfect fit.
All of our coaches are excited to have him back, the players are. I just saw him a little bit ago and I told him we just barely cleared out his locker and he's back. It will be a great transition.
On whether or not Heupel will coach in the Bowl game
Stoops: Being that it did happen this quickly, we will move Chuck into the observer role in the game. Basically, Josh will be hired and at practice today and from here throughout.
He will work the bowl game and he will be the guy that's involved with our staff. Chuck will just be in an observer role just helping Josh become familiar with everything. So, that's how that transition will go.
I saw Josh in there already hunting up the gameplan and trying to get himself ready for practice today. And, of course, our plan is pretty well set. Coach Wilson has done great job getting that job ready, and the other guys working with the quarterback have been great. They'll just fill Josh in as we go and I believe it will be a really smooth transition.
On if he was convinced that Heupel would eventually be a coach when he was recruiting him, being that he was a coach's son
Stoops: When we were recruiting him, I can't say that I projected him as a coach at that point.
I will say that the fun part of recruiting Josh is when we got him in here he didn't care that the only weekend he could come was when everybody was already gone from school. We weren't preparing for a bowl game at that time, so the campus was completely empty.
He got in the office and he didn't want to go see the learning center, he didn't want to go see the locker room. He just wanted to sit there and watch tape. What I appreciated is he wanted to figure out is this system something I can do. Will I be successful in this system? Is this something I wan to do? He watched tape all day and said, 'Yeah, this is what I want to do.'
I never forget, his only question to me was, 'Coach, can we win a national championship here?' And, of course, I said yes (crowd laughs). Fortunately, we did the following year.
Really, that is the truth. He said that would be the one reason that he felt he could work in the offense, that it would work for him and he could do this. And his only question to me was is this a place where we can win a national championship in my time here. What foresight. It will be a great fit for us.
And I should say, in fairness to Josh, this just isn't about fit. Josh brings a lot. I think he's matured beyond his years, coaching-wise.
Being in our offices and seeing him contribute, even in a GA role — his ideas working with Coach Wilson, his leadership on the field — Josh is a good football coach and has done a great recruiting.
I know Mike has been incredibly pleased with him contributing in his offensive system, but also in recruiting and everything that he's done leading his players.
And I know he'll do a great job here that way. He brings a lot of qualities, outside of the fact that he's just been here.
On if Mike Stoops is fine with Heupel leaving Arizona for Oklahoma
Stoops: Yeah, Mike was fine. When we talked about hiring Josh he understands. He thought also that it would be a good fit.
We're always about if that's best for Josh and that's what he wants to do, then that's good. I'm always that way as well. If anybody feels there's something different they feel is better for them, I want them to have it.
There are a lot of good football coaches out there.
Stoops says Heupel 'a perfect fit'
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