The Big 12 Media Days drew to a close with Bob Stoops being the final coach to take the podium. He was asked everything from the progression of Landry Jones and replacing DeMarco Murray to his 2000 national championship team and guiding his team through the tragic loss of Austin Box. Here's a summary of what he had to say.
On The Progression Of Landry Jones
Yeah, I think just naturally, you know, he had some really big games down the last stretch of the year. When you look at on the road at Oklahoma State, and you look at the Big 12 championship game against a great defense in Nebraska and the way he played and into the Fiesta Bowl, he really played great and was a great factor, major factor in his performance in us winning those games.
So I think -- and then you add, you know, the winter, how hard he works that everybody recognizes and just now the experience, his confidence, all of it is natural as a guy matures and gains in age and gains what's success.
So he's just become a really strong leader. And now he's more comfortable. And I think anyone, the quarterback needs to be a leader. If he hasn't played and earned the respect by performance and meeting challenges and then doesn't have the confidence yet, it's hard to be that guy.
Well, he has all of that now. And so he's a true, true leader on this team. And a special one.
On guiding the team through the tragic loss of Austin Box
Yeah, I don't know how I did it, to be honest with you. And I think the players, more than anything, really, I think, leaned on each other, us as coaches leaned on them. There's no words that truly can describe how you hurt and how the players hurt. Austin was a great, great spirit in the locker room. Everybody -- he was a friend to everybody, and he's one of those special characters, a young person that everybody loved to see.So you miss that. And it doesn't go away. So, again, there's no really proper way to describe it. So we're still working through it. And, again, I think that the players have really leaned on each other. And the leaders are guys that have -- I'm sure will help pull us through it. And as a team, it's something even when we get back together that we'll address again and just try to keep putting one foot in front of the other to move forward without forgetting.
On the plan to replace DeMarco Murray
I think I'm really excited because there's a lot of potential in that back field with those running backs.
DeMarco was -- being a fifth-year senior, big, strong guy, could do so much, you don't replace him -- or we have to really replace him by committee.
But that's okay. And I feel this way that last year we snapped the ball more than anybody in the country. So there's a lot of snaps there.
And I don't see any of these guys have the physical presence at this point and maturity to play 45, 50 snaps like DeMarco could.
So we'll divide it up. But also play to --there's a guy in there that's hot, keep him in there until he needs a break, and then get him back in there.
But I think it will benefit all of them being able to divide them up some. You think back to the year 2008, with Sam Bradford, the year he wins the Heisman Trophy, and we played in the national championship game, that year we had 2000-yard rushes.
So it doesn't have to be an issue. To me, we have guys, if the guys up front do their job, they'll get through the hole and make something happen. So I feel good about it.
On the value of players putting off the NFL and returning for their senior years
It definitely adds leadership. Those guys have the experience. They're respected by their teammates by the way they've played when they're that caliber of player.
So there's no question it adds a lot of experience and a lot of leadership to your team when those kind of guys do come back.
And the other message, I'd make it clear, I don't really -- my job really when these guys come back is I want them educated on the whole process, and I want them to maximize their small window of opportunity to make money in the NFL to get where they're valued, to not play for a discount. That's all it is.
And it does send a message to my team to be able to say the year before Sam Bradford comes back, Gerald McCoy comes back, Jermaine Gresham comes back, Trent Williams comes back, and all four of them are drafted in the first round, Sam the first pick.
Two of those guys, the year before, were not projected to go in the first round. So the money they gained from coming back and finish with their degree, there's no way to add it up.
So, again, I just want our guys are well educated on maximize your opportunity.
Comparing the 2000 team to the 2011 team
The 2000 team, I didn't have any inkling going in, to be honest with you. I had a couple of -- I guess a couple of things I was excited about, the leadership of Josh Heupel and his ability. And then, you know, we just got really fortunate in so many young players playing so well.
I could go on and on. All of you looked at all the first-, second-year guys that were playing and making a difference.
And then it got to the point in the middle, end of the year that you had this feeling you couldn't lose. But the difference then was we had something to prove. Like they had seen all these Bud Wilkinson, Barry Switzer's teams and all these great players on the wall. And this was our tradition that these guys -- we hadn't been doing. We had lost that.
And so we had something to prove, and we were bound and determined to do it, to live up to what we're supposed to do at Oklahoma. And then as years go by, then you have some recruiting classes and you have a couple other years where you're competing for the national championship or winning the Big 12 and sometimes you can get some kids come in and feel entitled.
So I go from trying to convince them in 2000 that we do deserve to do this and we are good enough to do it, to a few years later saying: Wait a second, you haven't done anything. Why would you expect to do this, until you've earned it? And so that's what you are fighting.
And that's why sometimes it is harder to keep doing it. Now you gotta get -- so now going into this season, though, after so many years and with the number of guys back, we expect it.
But it's really convincing them expect to work first. I mean, the work is what gets it done. And you have to have that attitude of something to prove to get it done, to finish it off
Concerns over the Longhorn Network
Well, sure. To me the lifeblood of every program is recruiting. And so we either all recruit by the same rules or we don't.
So I've got total trust in our administrations and leadership of the league and the NCAA that we'll all play under the same rules. And if not, then let's change the rules so that we can all do it the same way.