Bob Stoops has been the head coach at Oklahoma for the last twelve seasons and has enjoyed a tremendous amount of success. Just recently, the Sooners came back from a 17-point deficit against Nebraska in the Big XII Championship game to claim their seventh conference title in the last dozen years. In an era where the playing field is leveled by scholarship limits and parity, Stoops has been able to keep his program consistent because of the type of players he recruits. During his time, OU has produced record-setting passers and receivers, eight 1,000-yard rushers, suffocating defense and special teams units that rank among the most dynamic in the nation. Throughout his tenure at Oklahoma, seven of Stoops’ assistants have become head coaches at other Division 1-A programs, but he has remained in Norman where he belongs.
Bob Stoops joined KTAR in Phoenix with Gambo and Ash to talk about how preparation has been gearing up for the Fiesta Bowl, how important winning another Big XII conference title was to the program, and the game against UConn.
How preparation has been gearing up for the Fiesta Bowl:
“It has been great. Our guys have really had a good week of work and we kind of went through a regular game week before we gave them three days off to go and enjoy their families for the holidays, for Christmas at least. Guys have had a good week of work.”
How important winning another Big XII conference title was to the program:
“Well it is exciting, as you said, for the program the last Big XII championship game, at least for now. With our rival Nebraska, which we have such a storied history of championship games and great games that decided championships, so it was exciting to be in that way. They have had a great year, so it was exciting to come back like we did and win the game. It is really special when you do that.”
Whether this year’s freshman class exceeded his expectations:
“Yeah it is fair to say that. They just had huge years and Trey Millard and Trey Franks and there is a bunch of them, not just those couple of guys. Trey Millard, our fullback, there is not a better guy in the country. I mean this guy is 255 lbs., can run the ball in the 1-back sets, and has great hands out of the backfield, great protector, and great blocker. I have got to tell you there is not one instance where you would say during the year, oh geez that was a freshman mistake and that really hurt us. These guys really played well so it’s been fun to coach them and their future is really bright, and some of the guys redshirted are going to be special.”
On the game against UConn:
“Well, let’s face it… Everyone too, they want to talk early in the season, well since they made a quarterback change about mid-year they have gone five-straight games and haven’t lost and they have played well and beat good teams. You are not champion of your league and winning five straight games without being a good football team. We see them as an excellent football team and we don’t get caught up in the talk or whatever. People are filling up space on the talk and TV, that is what they do. We respect the way they have played the last five games, how they played and when they had to, and won. So we understand they are a good football team.”