Oklahoma Sooners: Breaking Down What Makes Bob Stoops So Good
The Oklahoma Sooners have had a legacy of legendary coaches in the 117-year history of the program.
Four different coaches have amassed over 100 wins in their OU careers, more than any other university.
Bennie Owen and Bud Wilkinson were the first two coaches to achieve tremendous success with the Sooners, making Oklahoma a household name and a power in college football.
Barry Switzer was promoted to head coach in 1973 and made the Oklahoma program what it is today.
Since 1999, Bob Stoops has roamed the sidelines for OU, demanding the same respect and fear Switzer did while creating his own 100-win legacy.
In his 13 seasons leading the Sooners, Stoops has a 139-34 record, including seven conference championships and the 2000 National Championship.
Stoops is a legend in Norman already as he continues to make his name as one of the best coaches in the nation.
We know that Stoops wins, but what is it that makes him so good?
Here are a few reasons Stoops is in a league of his own.
He Played the Game
An important part of coaching is understanding the feelings and concerns of your players.
Stoops knows what his players are thinking pretty well because he has been in their shoes.
While playing at Iowa, Stoops was a four-year starter at safety. During his time, Stoops made the All-Big Ten team and also was named one of the Big Ten's most valuable players in 1982.
His experience as a player is important to his ability as a coach. Not only does he know what his players want and what they are thinking, he knows what to do to get the most out of them on and off the field.
He Recuits Well
Stoops came to Norman in 1999 with limited experience in the region.
In the early 1990s, Stoops was the defensive coordinator for Kansas State. Because of the close proximity to his former school, Stoops was able to use the knowledge he gained at K-State to best scout the region for talent.
Over the course of his career in Norman, Stoops has been able to expand the scope of OU's recruitment outside the state of Oklahoma while retaining key homegrown talent.
Recently, Stoops and his staff have recruited well in Texas, swiping talent from under the noses of Texas, Texas Tech and Texas A&M, all of whom have been the leaders in the state for decades.
In 2012, 40 out of 72 players on OU's roster hail from Texas, which is a testament to Stoops' commitment to bringing the best in Texas north of the Red River.
Stoops has also been able to go outside the region, grabbing key players from around the country. Senior quarterback Landry Jones is one of only two players on the roster from New Mexico. Kenny Stills and Tony Jefferson both hail from California as well.
He has also been able to keep the best Oklahomans in the state. Among others, former Sooner Ryan Broyles was an Oklahoma High School standout, turning heads with the Norman High School Tigers.
He Wins the Big Games
Stoops earned the moniker "Big Game Bob" early in his career due to his great record against ranked opponents.
While the nickname became a taunt by opponents after disappointing performances in BCS games, the coach still has the ability to win some of the most important games on the schedule.
Any Sooner fan will tell you that no matter how good or bad both teams are in a given year, one of the top games to watch is the OU-Texas matchup in Dallas.
Stoops is 8-5 against Texas and has won the last two matches . Between 2000-2004, OU won five straight games in the Red River Rivalry, a rivalry that has historically been in the Longhorns' favor.
Stoops has also been dominant against in-state rival Oklahoma State. OU is 10-3 in Bedlam games under Stoops. In his wins, Oklahoma has won by an average of almost 21 points against the Cowboys.
Stoops also had a 7-1 record in Big 12 Championship games and has a winning record in bowl games.
He Is Able to Adapt
It's hard to predict how the game of football will develop over the years, but Bob Stoops has done well to understand the ever-changing nature of the college game.
Depending on his players, Stoops has been able to work with his coaching staff to find the style of play that best fits the team as well as their opponents.
While the 2000 Sooners had strong play at quarterback from Josh Heupel, they also received solid running from Quentin Griffin. Stoops managed the team well and received solid play from both sides en route to a National Championship.
In 2005, the Sooners had a Heisman candidate in running back Adrian Peterson. Stoops and his staff worked to get the ball Peterson's way more often, averaging 15 more rushes each game than passes.
As the Big 12 developed into a heavy-passing conference in the late 2000's, Stoops worked with his coaches to develop an offense that could post huge passing numbers and high scores.
When Landry Jones struggled to close out drives in the red-zone late in 2011, Stoops was able to adapt and use his backup, Blake Bell, as a runner to close out drives.
No matter the situation, Stoops finds a way to get the most out of his situation.
He Puts Good Coaches Around Him
When Stoops came to Norman in 1999, he made it a point to have a coaching staff around him that would give him the best chance at winning a championship.
Stoops has placed a number of great coaches on his staff who have gone on to succeed both in Norman and elsewhere. His eye for talent is not limited to the players on the field but also to the coaches on the sidelines.
When Stoops returned to the Big 12 for his first head coaching job, he positioned Mike Leach as offensive coordinator. After one season in Norman, Leach took the head coaching job at Texas Tech. While there, he developed the Air Raid offense that would help turn the Big 12 into the top passing conference in the country.
On defense, Stoops brought in his own brother, Mike.
While Mike was not very successful as a head coach at Arizona, he had a ton of success previously with the Sooners. Mike's defenses were vital to the Sooners 2000 title as well as successful seasons in 2001-02.
After Mike was fired from Arizona in 2011, Bob was quick to get his younger brother back in Norman to lead the defense once again.
Bob Stoops also made an outstanding decision by bringing former Sooner QB Josh Heupel to Oklahoma as a coach.
Heupel has been instrumental to Oklahoma's recent success on offense and has helped develop both Sam Bradford and Landry Jones into the top QB's in OU history.
Stoops may be a great coach, but he couldn't do it all by himself. His staff is solid and is key to his success.