Bob Stoops Forced to Make Changes Within Sooner Football Program

Micah HixonCorrespondent IIFebruary 11, 2012

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)
Sarah Glenn/Getty Images

Bob Stoops has a reputation for promoting coaches from within his current staff. He has also never fired any of his assistants since arriving back in 1999 as the head football coach in Norman.

Stoops' former assistants have gone on to accept head coaching positions around the country with varying degrees of success—Kevin Sumlin, Mark Mangino and Mike Leach to name few.

One thing remained constant, though: Stoops took care of his assistants and they never had to worry about job security.

Now, everything has changed.

After starting the 2011 season as the preseason No. 1 ranked team in the country, the Sooners flopped in losses to Texas Tech and Baylor. We won't even get into the Bedlam massacre.

Many wondered aloud if it may finally be time for Stoops to change his philosophy and make some changes within his staff.

Those rumors heated up when it was announced that Mike Stoops was being relieved of his duties as the Arizona head coach after a 1-5 start to the 2011 season.

After the younger Stoops was spotted on the Sooner sideline during the Insight Bowl, it seemed like the only question left was: Who is leaving to make room?

Soon after, Oklahoma's secondary coach, Willie Martinez, announced he would be "resigning" to pursue other opportunities. Although Martinez technically resigned, it was pretty obvious that he was forced out to make room for Bob's brother, Mike.

Mike Stoops
Mike StoopsSteve Dykes/Getty Images

After a short period of time where it appeared that Mike Stoops and Brent Venables would serve as co-defensive coordinators, Venables announced he would be leaving to run the defense at Clemson.

Bob Stoops quickly filled the vacancy by bringing in Tim Kish, Mike Stoops' defensive coordinator at Arizona, to coach the linebackers.

One has to wonder how these changes in personnel will affect the Sooners heading into the 2012 season.

I am on the record stating that I believe the Mike Stoops led defensive unit will be a top 10 defense.  Others, however, do not believe Mike Stoops is the answer.

While Brent Venables was widely regarded as one of the top recruiters in the land, he was also known to run a very complex defense that was often times hard for the players to fully grasp.

Mike Stoops has a tough road ahead of him, no question, but I believe he is up to the challenge. I believe he has what it takes to bring this Sooner defense back to the powerhouse they were in the early parts of last decade.

Bob Stoops was forced to make changes for the first time in his tenure at Oklahoma. Change is always inevitable, but few really expected Bob to pull the trigger on such drastic changes.

Not only did Stoops replace two of his top defensive assistant coaches, but he also sent a number of players packing towards the end of last season and continued during the offseason. Even players like freshman sensation Brandon Williams were not immune to Stoops' wrath, which led to his transfer to Texas A&M.

A fire has been lit beneath Bob Stoops and I believe he is tired of coming up just short year in and year out. Changes had to be made to get this program back on the right track and Stoops didn't hesitate to pull the trigger.