WACO, TX - NOVEMBER 19: Coach Bob Stoops of the Oklahoma Sooners looks on during a game against the Baylor Bears at Floyd Casey Stadium on November 19, 2011 in Waco, Texas. The Baylor Bears defeated the Oklahoma Sooners 45-38. (Photo by Sarah Glenn/Getty Images)
Bob Stoops has become complacent after a sustained period of success and appears to have lost his edge as a head football coach.
A bold statement to be sure for some, but after last night one those who disagree with would have an incredibly difficult time arguing. It's not something that has been lost forever. I have no doubt whatsoever that he's more than a good enough head coach who is certainly capable of recapturing it. However, changes need to be made and as the head coach he needs to recognize that and make them.
Bob Stoops legacy at this program is no longer defined by the national championship in 2000 or the seven Big 12 conference titles. His legacy at this program, at least until something drastically changes, has now come to be defined by the history/program defining wins he provides to other teams. It's an incredibly disturbing trend that he currently appears incapable of reversing.
I get the fact that at a program like Oklahoma you're going to be every other team's "Super Bowl" so these types of program defining wins for other teams are going to happen, but continually failing to prepare your team for that kind of effort has reached the point of flat out unacceptable. No, check that, we're now well past that point and it's time for Stoops to answer for it. No more free ride. No more bullying the local media into being afraid to push him on absolutely anything which is one of the few (possibly only) ways we have to hold Stoops accountable. The goodwill, or free pass as I'd more accurately refer to it as, that crystal football earned him has officially expired.
Bob needs to feel the pressure, he needs to have his feet held to the flame. In my opinion, he has become complacent in his job and it didn't just happen this year. And when you get complacent with your job, you start to get lazy and cut corners. You don't work as hard because you don't have that 'hunger' driving you to be successful, to do more than you have to just to get by. When you're hungry, the status quo (i.e. another Big 12 championship) isn't just good enough anymore. Again in my opinion, this is where Bob Stoops is at in his career at OU and has been for a couple years. He is at a cross roads and how he chooses to go forward will define how he is remembered at Oklahoma. If he refuses to make any substantial changes to his coaching staff then it's a sign that he isn't willing to do the things necessary to get better.
I want to be PERFECTLY CLEAR with this next statement. I do not want Bob Stoops to be fired or want him to move on. That said, changes need to be made and they need to be made now. He has proven to be loyal to a fault when it comes to his staff, so if history is any indicator we can expect him to do nothing. Which means he will need to be told it's time to make a change, but who within this program has the stones to do that? Joe C? Boren? Doubtful. So unfortunately we're highly likely to get more of the same because no one in or around this program is willing to hold Bob accountable. You can call it ridiculous or an overreaction to last night, but if you're really an OU fan and are happy with where this program currently stands then you've allowed your standards to be lowered just as Bob Stoops apparently has.
He and Brent Venables have been running the same scheme for 13 years with very few adjustments. When they came in, this league and offenses in general were different. Very different. The defensive scheme worked well, very well in fact for many years. That said, they have refused to adjust their scheme to adapt to the spread offenses so prevalent now in the Big 12, which was no more evident than last night. But that's the thing about this, it wasn't just last night. It's been so many other times in the past, so if you're one of those people who think fans such as myself who are now calling for a change are "idiots" then frankly you either refuse to admit that it's happening or just refuse to see it. The Tampa Two coverage scheme that they've employed for the last 13 years, with few adjustments at best, has been a problem for much more than just last night. As so many teams have realized, you can consistently exploit this defense in multiple areas. More often than not, because of the athletes we recruit, they can overcome the deficiencies of the scheme itself but against opponents who are not simply over matched can and have shown able to beat the Venables defense with regularity. So don't use the excuse that so many and Bob himself will surely be super quick to use. Yeah this program still wins more than their fair share of games, but that's not good enough at the University of Oklahoma. Bob knew this when he took the job and nothing has changed in terms of the expectations placed upon him since that day. If anything they've only increased due to a product of his own success. Which again, surely cannot come as a surprise to the man.
So we as fans, expecting or as some might say demanding this, doesn't make us unreasonable or a-hole fans. It's makes us Oklahoma fans. Nobody is saying that Stoops has to win a national title every single year. Let me repeat that. NOBODY IS SAYING THAT STOOPS HAS TO WIN A NATIONAL TITLE EVERY YEAR. That is not the standard, so spare me the "you're just an irrational OU fan" spiel. My expectations for this program are no higher than those Stoops should have, so if (and I stress the word if emphatically) his standards have been set any lower then it's time for him to go. As I said before, I do not want that to happen. I want Bob Stoops to stay as coach for a long, long time, but he can no longer just get by doing things as he's done in the past. It's clearly proven incapable of getting the job done to the high standards of this football program. I'm sure this will illicit comments about how spoiled we are as a fan base and how other schools would kill for our kind of success and both would be 100% accurate. Guess what, I don't care what other schools do or what their expectations are. We're Oklahoma and they're not. The standards are high and for good reason. Living up to them is the responsibility you accept when you are the head football coach.
That's the job, take it or leave it.