Mike Stoops is out as defensive coordinator for the University of Oklahoma, a day after the Sooners got obliterated on D, 48-45, by the Texas Longhorns at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. Twitter is as you’d expect it would be with many people celebrating Stoops’ demise as defensive coordinator and others wishing him well, suggesting that the university build a statue in his honor because, “one day we’ll realize, in the big picture, how great he was.”
Tap the brakes.
Nobody likes seeing a man lose his job, but it’s hard to not just own up to the fact that Sooners fans wanted this $920,000 state employee to blitz once in a while. I mourn my journalism brethren losing their jobs when a new media conglomerate comes in and buys the newspaper, professionals of all stripes losing their gigs to downsizing at various energy companies around the city and teachers not getting paid what they should in general.
All Mike Stoops really had to do was lay off the 5-yard cushion, blitz a little more often and stop somebody. Anybody.
Do that, and most of us would have been down for him making twice what he made.
It’s hard to feel bad for a guy who made that much money to coach football. The quid pro quo in that business is that coaches have to produce results, and the results for most of Mike Stoops’ career since he returned to OU in 2012 suggest the change should have happened after the 54-48 loss in the Rose Bowl last January. Or before.
Oklahoma’s defense has been pretty terrible for years.
Oklahoma’s offense has been great.
The defense hasn’t lived up to the bargain much past 2002 or 2003 to be honest. Remember the 35-7 loss to Kansas State in the Big 12 championship game? How about letting USC hit us with 55 in the now-vacated national title game a year later.
Heck, even in 2001, we gave up 27 to North Carolina after opening a mammoth lead on the Tar Heels. To be fair, that season ended with an unrecognizable 10-3 bowl game win over Arkansas.
But Mike Stoops’ defense has never been great, not consistently it hasn’t.
The players he inherited from John Blake, in a more aggressive Mike Stoops (and Brent Venables) scheme, were fantastic. All credit to li’l brother on that. He was the right man for the job for a specific moment.
But we’re not going to erect a statue to John Blake any time soon either. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that he was a terrible football coach. I recall distinctly looking over at my fellow season-ticket holder during Game 1 of the Blake years, a loss to TCU, and saying, “We’re screwed.”
For the record, what tipped it off, if you’ll recall that 20-7 loss to the Horned Frogs in Norman in 1996 was the fact the OU team had a hard time not having 12 men in the huddle. We were only penalized twice for 10 yards that day, but I recall the offensive squad being unable to get its personnel onto and off the field.
Alas, Mike Stoops will have plenty of opportunity whether it be in coaching or media or business. He is not unliked and, I’m sure, he’ll be welcomed at tailgates and parties and social functions galore over the next few years. He’ll always be a Sooner.
But they just couldn’t keep paying a dude $920,000 a year to give up 40 points a game. This tweet, below, encompasses exactly why Mike Stoops’ defensive strategy was genuinely awful, for the Big 12, SEC, CFL or the World League of Football. Be careful not to say that Mike Stoops was terrible. By all accounts, he’s a good dude.
But his defensive scheme was not good at all.
Just watch. It’s brutal.
Godspeed, Mike Stoops, and good luck. Next time, blitz.