New defensive hires = Bob’s legacy…

Simply put, Bob Stoops has made his bed and now he must lie in it… Bob’s future at the University of Oklahoma will be determined by recent additions to his staff.  While the Diron Reynolds hire was not exactly the home run we had hoped for, “it is what it is”… Fans of Bob Stoops and OU football must hope that it works.

Fortunately for most of us Bob Stoops has forgotten more football than we will ever know.  Granted he does have a blind spot when it comes to his brother, but “that is what it is” as well.   Starting over without Bob would set the program back five years, so we have to believe that Bob’s staff makeover will work.

Let’s be honest… Bob had to find someone to coach defense that Mike would agree with.  After all, hiring someone that would represent any kind of threat to Mike would not have worked.  Mike got his man and now the ball is in his court to make it work.

I, for one believe that the new defensive coaching hires can work if certain things happen.  First, Mike needs to move to the press box where he can create less chaos. His rant and rave act has worn thin, particularly given today’s football player.

It appears from most accounts that both Cooks and Reynolds know their stuff so on form the game-day product for OU this next season has to be better than last year.  Another confidence factor is that Lincoln Riley’s offense will take pressure off the defense.

Don’t get me wrong I still want OU fans and yes, OU donors to keep the pressure on David Boren.  It was that pressure that created the afore-mentioned changes.  At the same time, if these coaching changes do not work, both Bob and Mike should be held accountable.

I will not put a win total requirement on next year’s season, but this is Oklahoma, where winning football was invented. We need to see marked improvement on the field and on the scoreboard or heads should roll.

Okay Mike, you’re up…

Boomer Sooner…

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One step forward, two steps back…

Berry Tramel reminded me last week of a perfect story for the Jerry Montgomery saga.

From a Happy Days episode, Richie and Potsie buy an old car together that is falling apart.  The only cool thing about the car is an eagle hood ornament.  The car won’t run, so they summon the Fonz.  Fonzie fixes the car.  They tell him that anything he wants is his.  Fonzie pops the hood, jostles the eagle free and walks off with the ornament.

Potsie looks at Richie and says…”He took the best part of the car.”  Last week, the Green Bay Packers took the best part of the Bob Stoops car, Jerry Montgomery.

Let’s cut to the chase here…Bob Stoops and OU took a major step back last week in its restoration process. When Jerry Montgomery left Norman for the frozen tundra of Green Bay it was a huge loss.    About the time I think we are making some headway in our restoration project, we take a step back.

Give Bob some credit for replacing his Edsel with a Lincoln on offense.  Now, he must do the same thing on defense.   Simply put, if Bob messes up this deal it could be his Waterloo.

Don’t get me wrong, Green Bay is a nice gig, but so is Oklahoma.  At least it used to be…What would cause Monty to leave Norman a month after becoming the co-defensive coordinator?  I suspect that it was the same reason that caused Brent Venables to pack his bags for Clemson three years ago…The Mike Stoops factor…

No coach in his right mind wants to play second fiddle to Mike’s ego.  Tying one’s career to a Mike Stoops defense at this point in time has become toxic.   He is like tainted meat.   Everyone with the exception of Bob Stoops seems to get this fact.   Nepotism creates a slanted view of the real world for most people and Bob’s view of his brother’s ability on defense falls into that category.

Where we go from here…

Basically, the OU Regents must keep the pressure on Bob and insist that he replace Montgomery with a big time coach, someone who can stand toe to toe with Mike and bail out the Sooner program.

While the OU offense will be better in 2015 with the Lincoln Riley hire, outscoring teams because of a porous defense will not get it done.    I am not looking forward to going to Knoxville, Waco and Stillwater next year with the same defensive scheme we had last year.  If this happens, the boo-fest we heard at last year’s Baylor game will seem like prayer meeting.

Of course, it is hard to be sympathetic for Bob Stoops at this point, after all he made his bed when he hired brother Mike three years ago.   At the same time as a hard core OU fan, I want Bob to get this one right in the worst way.  If Bob botches this hire, his OU future may be over.   Unlike many OU observers I don’t want to replace Bob Stoops as head coach. Doing so would put the program back five additional years.

Let’s hope Bob Stoops hits a home run with this Montgomery replacement.  After all, this hire will go a long way in determining if OU is back in 2015 and for that matter if Bob is back in 2016…

Boomer Sooner…

Officiating mal-practice…

Before moving on to my football blog, please indulge me for a basketball rant…I am all about hiring the handicapped. After all everyone deserves a second chance in life, but the Big 12 should be sued for malpractice after putting those bozos on the court at K-State Saturday night.  If this were football, Sooner fans would be storming the conference headquarters expecting heads to roll.  Of course this is not football and this is not Kansas so that will not happen.

My reference is to the K-State-OU basketball game that looked more like a rugby match than basketball game.

The game was poorly officiated from the get-go which took OU completely out of its game-plan.  While there were numerous bone-head calls, two stood out to me…

One was the three point K-State basket at the 9 minute mark of the second half. The basketball clearly left the shooter’s hand a good two seconds after the shot clock went off.  Apparently in Kansas the shot clock is 37 seconds instead of 35. Since OU was playing by the old 35 second clock rule, the Sooners assumed they had defensed the Wildcats well.  Not so, as the shot counted and no one bothered to check the monitor.  Since the Sooners lost by three, you can see the significance here.

The other was the mugging of Ryan Spangler under the OU basket near the end of the game.  He was literally fouled by three K-State players and as he is falling out of bounds he is called for a foul.  This was Spangler’s fifth foul which was huge…The guy who made that call should be banned from basketball for life…

In spite of this home-cooking, the Sooners only lost by three.  Lon Kruger is doing the best job never seen by OU fans….The Lloyd Noble is literally the worst basketball venue in America.  It is filled each game with fans masquerading as empty seats.  The announced attendance reminds me of an OU-Iowa State football game.

In any case, Sooner basketball under Lon Kruger will break through this year as the Sooners will win at least one game in the tournament.  Next year Kruger’s recruiting will add team depth and the fun times will begin.

My hope is that Lon Kruger’s loyalty to Oklahoma will be rewarded with an on-campus basketball facility.  If so, the sky will be the limit for this program.

Now back to OU football and the Jerry Montgomery fallout…

Class of 2015…

The bad news is that OU lost out on a few players at the end of the recruiting cycle that they would love to have had.    More bad news is that the Sooners finished out of the top ten for the 5th year in a row.   The good news is that the Sooners finished strong and ended up with the 14th ranked class in America by both Rivals and Scout.com.

Additional good news comes in the fact that according to Bob Stoops the Sooners got every player they really wanted…

As for the rest of us, we can take a more realistic approach to recruiting, but I must say that all things considered the Class of 2015 is a pretty good class.  Combine this group with last year’s class and we have the makings of a group that can get the Sooners back on top.

Don’t get me wrong, I have not been hitting the signing day hard cider and I fully realize that OU will not return to national prominence without top five recruiting classes.  At the same time it could have been a lot worse.   Combine the 2014 and 2015 classes with the new coaches recruited by Bob Stoops and OU may have the foundation for a resurgence.

These two classes have a bunch of difference- makers.  If the new batch of coaches can develop talent, the Sooners may be headed back to the top of the conference heap.  From there the Sooners should be able to see the top of summit and hopefully make their way back to national prominence.  This will not happen overnight, but I feel much better today than I did two months ago.

Here is the crazy part of this story.  I see a silver lining in the strangest of places…While most OU fans will not appreciate this one; I believe it to be true.   The good news for the Big 12 Conference and in time for the Sooners is the resurgence of Texas in recruiting.

This Texas class which ranked as the 7th best in the country by Scout.com was a good thing.   Edging out Texas A&M for state supremacy will help Big 12 member schools compete against the SEC regionally and will help reestablish OU in Texas.

My theory here is this…With a stronger Texas comes a stronger conference… I hate Texas as much as the next guy, but since OU officials allowed the Pac 12 ship to set sail two years ago, a strong Texas football program has become a prerequisite for saving the conference.

As long as OU takes care of business, it can be a race between the Sooners and Horns at the top of the conference each year again.  With these teams having the national branding necessary to impress selection committee members, both the winner and loser of the early season Red River Shootout will have a chance to impress the selection committee late in the year.  Most importantly, I like Bob’s chances against a strong Texas team early in the year.

This recruiting season was proof positive that a Baylor and/or TCU cannot sustain themselves and make the conference stronger.   Both teams just had the greatest seasons of their lives and only topped in at

#26 and #40 on the Scout.com  recruiting list.  This type of recruiting class will not create a legitimate power conference.  Only OU and Texas can make this happen.

All is not lost with these teams however.  We can have the best of both worlds.  OU and Texas will be at the top of the conference and the middle of the road contenders that are good, but not great, can make us look good.    The recruiting classes of TCU (27), Texas Tech (28), and West Virginia (30) will create teams that can compete nationally during the preseason.   Then OU and Texas will beat up on these teams later in the year in a move that will propel the OU-Texas winner to a final four bid.

In closing, it is important in talking about this OU recruiting class to keep in mind that OU just endured the “season from hell”, not to mention the worst possible timing for coaching changes.    In spite of all the negatives the Sooners still recruited a top fifteen class.   All in all, the Class of 2015 was a huge success.

Scout.com Big 12 rankings (National rankings in parenthesis)

Texas (7)

OU (14)

TCU (27)

Texas Tech (28)

West Virginia (30)

OSU (39)

Baylor (44)

Kansas State (52)

Kansas (60)

Iowa State (70)