Bob Stoops On The Hype That Comes With The No. 1 Ranking: We’ve Been There Before


Bob Stoops on the Hype That Comes With the No. 1 Ranking: We’ve Been There Before

The first of the preseason college football polls came out last week with the release of the USA Today coaches poll. Not surprisingly, the Oklahoma Sooners were slated into the No. 1 spot, receiving 42 of the 59 first-place votes. Only Alabama, with 13 votes for the top spot, got more than two votes.Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops mostly brushed off any talk of hype and expectations that comes along with going into the season ranked No. 1. Stoops says his program has been in the top spot before, at various points in the season, and will realize that it has plenty of work to do to stay on top.Bob Stoops joined Fox Sports Radio with Petros and Money to discuss handling the hype of being ranked No. 1, the 2000 season when the Sooners ended the year No. 1, how Landry Jones compares to other Heisman-caliber quarterbacks, if there was a turning point for him late last season, the death of a player during the offseason, the future of the Big 12, the controversy with the Longhorn Network hoping to air high school games and Sam Bradford in the NFL.

Pair of White Air Jordan 1's

How do you handle the hype and expectations of being ranked No. 1 in the preseason?:

“They’re very aware. We’ve been No. 1 before at different stages of the year and ended up there, in 2000, as national champs. We’ve got to do the work; we’ve got to earn it. We’ve got to invest in the process of getting better. That’s meetings, paying attention, hustling, working hard on the practice field, making each other better. That’s what our focus is on.”

Remembering back to 2000:

“When you hold that thing, it’s pretty special, and it doesn’t go away. At the end of the day, we’re going to keep chasing them. I know we’re expected to do it every single year, but that’s not realistic. But we’re excited to try and do it again.”

How does Landry Jones compare to the other Heisman-caliber quarterbacks from Oklahoma’s past?:

“First, we let it happen. Landry is definitely in that same category and same makeup of the great quarterbacks we’ve had here. He’s a very bright young man, he’s very talented, a big, strong guy with a great arm. Very competitive, great leader, works really hard, so he has all of the characteristics. But we kind of have waited, whether it be Sam Bradford, whether it be Jason White, we wait until the middle of the year … and then we start doing some subtle things to make sure people are paying attention to our guy without trying to lobby.”

Was there something that changed for Jones during the final quarter of the season last year?:

“Absolutely. It really showed his development, his growth, his maturity. … All the people remember is what you do in the fourth quarter to win the game. And, in all of those games, in the fourth quarter, away from home, he couldn’t have been better. He was fantastic in both the Oklahoma State game and the Nebraska game.”

On the death of linebacker Austin Box during the offseason:

“It’s very hurtful. It’s something that we’ll continue to deal with and you move forward while you don’t forget. We remember him fondly. He was a wonderful young guy, so it’s very difficult.”

On the possibility of airing high school games on TV:

“It’s common sense, absolutely. So either change the recruiting rules or [Texas] has to abide by the same rules we do. They’ve got a lot of money, that’s fine, but don’t give their recruiting an advantage or an opportunity to recruit any different than we do.”

What’s your long-term outlook on the Big 12?:

“Long-term, who knows with anybody, with any conference? Everything’s always, I’m sure always has a chance to be fluid and change. At the end of the day, we’re a 10-team league without a championship game. And that didn’t seem like such a strange notion when you look at the Big Ten and Pac-10 for what? 100 years? … Now the shoe’s on the other foot.”

On Sam Bradford’s transition to the NFL and your convictions that he would always be a great player despite those who said he needed to work on playing under center and his footwork:

“I don’t know where this comes from. I think because we’re no huddle, people think [we’re not under center]. We’re under center every bit as much as we’re not. Sam Bradford’s footwork has always been great under center. … That notion that he was a shotgun quarterback wasn’t accurate.”

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