In 1999 Coach Bob Stoops assumed the challenge of returning the Oklahoma Sooners football program to one of the nation’s elite. During his tenure at Oklahoma he has won a national championship, coached a Heisman winner and countless All-Americans, won 4 Big XII Championships, and boosted the national exposure of the football program which has attracted five-star recruits from all over the country.
In spite of the accolades and an impressive 139-34 winning record, the shine from the BCS title that Stoops won 13 years ago has faded and seasons of unfulfilled expectations and poor showings in big games remain fresh in the minds of pundits and fans alike. This upcoming season the Bob Stoops era is on the line and if he is unable to maximize the impressive array of talent on his roster, it may be time for #soonernation to find themselves a new coach.
The Sooners will be led by quarterback Landry Jones who turned down millions from the NFL to return for his senior year in Norman. Considered a first round lock by most draft analyst little drop off is expected from a potent offense that returns play-makers at wide receiver in Kenny Stills and spring break out star Trey Moyer. Dominique Whaley returns from a broken ankle and leads a deep stable of running backs but there are huge holes along the offensive line due to two expected starters being lost for the season because of injuries. Although the Sooners lost a lot of senior leadership from last year’s team the firepower that they possess on offense will certainly put up a lot of points and set a few Big XII records.
Mike Stoops returns to Norman to salvage a defense that has played very poorly and has failed to live up to expectations, despite the collection of five-star recruits on the defensive side of the ball. Their secondary has at times looked lost and have been consistently susceptible to big plays. In order counteract the spread offenses in the Big XII the defensive coordinator has installed a new defensive scheme which include a “2 linebacker 3 cornerback sets”. Along the defensive line the Sooners have a wealth of big bodies who have yet to fulfill the expectations everyone had of them as five-star recruits. Future first rounders Tony Jefferson at safety and Corey Nelson at linebacker will set the tone for the defense and may be up for postseason honors if they continue to play at an All-American level.
Thirteen years ago the Sooners won a BCS title and since then they have failed to meet the lofty expectations time and time again. Winning records used to be enough to keep your job, but losses to inferior teams and poor showing in BCS Bowl Games is no longer acceptable.
The time has come for Bob Stoops to make Norman, Oklahoma the Mecca of College Football once again, its been long overdue. Will the offensive line protect Landry Jones? Will the defense return to the days of dominance. Stay tuned… I know I will – A. Denmark (@eatdrnkslpsprtz)