Stoops and the Sooners are gearing up for the Auburn Tigers in the Sugar Bowl. It’s easy to forget after seeing them in the bright lights so often, but the Sooners are still students, and they’re in the midst of finals week. Being only seven months removed from my last set of finals, I vividly remember the fatigue, anxiety, and melancholy that is finals week. We wish all student-athletes (and just students) good luck.
The biggest news of the week was that Oklahoma sent two players to the Heisman ceremony in New York. A second set of news with potentially disturbing implications about one of those players, DeDe Westbrook, came out the same day.
Naturally, this was the biggest topic of the Stoops presser today. Despite a background check not turning up two separate incidents from several years ago, Stoops defended the recruiting process, the program, and Westbrook himself:
Stoops defends Dede Westbrook and program: "We have extensive background checks. I'm not part of that. I'm not sure how that happened."— SoonerScoop.com (@SoonerScoop) December 13, 2016
Stoops on Dede Westbrook: All I know is that everything he's done since he's been here has been positive.— Spenser Davis (@Davis_Spenser) December 13, 2016
Domestic violence incidents have surrounded players like Joe Mixon, Frank Shannon, and Dorial Green-Beckham in the past several years. Few would argue that Bob Stoops and Joe Castiglione are not men of high character, but in the post-Briles landscape, college football coaches and administrators need to be as vigilant as ever. We’ve seen how vile and toxic a program can become, and how quickly it can happen.
It’s unclear when, who, or under which circumstances, but it does appear that the screening process has weeded out prospects before:
#Sooners athletic department official tells us they have ended recruitment of several prospects due to information from background checks.— SoonerScoop.com (@SoonerScoop) December 13, 2016
As for injury news, the Sooners will be down a defensive back in New Orleans:
Stoops says Will Johnson is not expected to play against Auburn. #Sooners— Spenser Davis (@Davis_Spenser) December 13, 2016
Westbrook and Jordan Parker, on the other hand, should be good to go against the Tigers.
We’ll end on a bit of sad but touching news. Jimbo Elrod was a Sooner legend, a man who touched many people in the course of his life. Here are Bob Stoops’s comments on Elrod: