Before you roll your eyes and immediately dismiss this, just hear me out. This is not, I repeat THIS IS NOT, a "Bob Stoops needs to be fired" article. That's stupid talk and should be regarded as such. The intention here isn't to tell you what has to be done so much as posing a question (hence the requisite puncuation at the end of the headline above) as to whether or not you believe the general premise posed here. Just keep that in mind as you continue to read.
So, moving on. This is however a "Bob Stoops needs to make some changes" article. One very similar in fact to that which we gave you back in September.
Do we want some sort of credit or recognition for being on something back then that, as you'll see below or likely already have, every OU beat writer is just now writing about? We'll leave that up to you. You know where you heard it first.
However regardless of who said it first, the fact remains many of us believe changes, at least on some level, need to be made. Which, on its surface, isn't necessarily a huge deal until you consider that we have very little confidence that the man solely responsible for making the necessary changes will actually do so.
"This game is disappointing in every way for me, for us. But the rest of the season was pretty positive. And another Big 12 championship." - Bob Stoops
This quote from Stoops, courtesy of this John Hoover article, just minutes after getting embarrassed by Texas A&M should tell you all you need to know about where Bob believes this program to be.
Is this a true statement? Sure. But is immediately following yet another "big game" embarrassment broadcast on national television the appropriate time to bring it up? I'd say no. In my opinion, that quote absolutely reeks of the stubbornness (some might call it arrogance) so many of us are worried will prevent Stoops from making any kind of change to either his approach and/or staff.
And while we can argue what those changes may be or how significant they may or may not need to be, what can no longer be argued in my opinion is that some kind of change is needed. While Stoops can point to that "co-championship" all he likes, the product on the field is not at the level necessary to live up to the standards he, and all those before him, helped to establish. The Cotton Bowl debacle was simply the most recent example of this fact.
To that very point, Allen Kenney of Blatant Homerism wrote a very astute piece on Stoops and where I think a lot of OU fans feel this program currently stands.
(It) all starts with a coach who's supremely confident in both himself and his methods. Stoops is stubborn to the point of arrogance and acutely dismissive of criticism. He has every right to be that way, because when you step back and look at his career as a whole, it's hard to argue against him.
For all that good that I alluded to, though, there seems to be just a little more bad every year. Every year, it becomes increasingly clear that OU is drifting farther away from the high standards that Stoops himself has set for the program.
And even though the details of those disappointments may all get lumped together, that doesn't stop the discontent from building.
Spare me the "fans of School X would kill to have the kind of success that OU has" argument, it's as played out as Bob's canned pre-rehearsed postgame press conference responses are. You can point out a 10 win season, which Oklahoma had this year. You can point out a Big 12 championship, which Oklahoma also had this year (kind of). And while these are well and good, and more often than not necessary to goals to achieve this program's ultimate goal, the fact is this program is not currently at the level to compete for said ultimate goal, and that is national championships.
And therein lies the problem, or at least as I and a decent portion of Sooner Nation see it. The program is slipping. It's slipping with the product on the field. And it's slipping on the recruiting trail, which is the lifeblood of any successful program. If you either don't want to or can't see that then it's simply a matter of you choosing not to, because it's pretty obvious. Just read what Clay Horning of the Norman Transcript had to say or our friend Jake Trotter of ESPN's Sooner Nation, both of which were highly critical of Stoops/Oklahoma and deservedly so.
Or again back to John Hoover who wrote an absolutely scathing article in Sunday's Tulsa World regarding Bob Stoops and his coaching staff. And while I believe there is at least a touch of revisionist's history in there, his main premise as I understood it is a solid one. If there is one constant in the equation of what many of us to believe to be a currently under performing Oklahoma football program, it's the coaches. The players come and go, it's the nature of college athletics, but the one constant (especially on a Bob Stoops staff whose assistants are essentially given lifetime contracts) is the coaching staff.
Again, no one is saying Bob Stoops needs to be fired. At least not the sane ones amongst us. But business as usual is no longer gonna cut it either. Maybe something happens. Maybe changes are made. We likely aren't going to know that for some time, but what we do know right now is we're tired of being embarrassed.
It's certainly not the only question at the moment, but in my opinion the most pertinent one is whether or not Bob is tired of it?