Bruce Kittle has been named to the football coaching staff at the University of Oklahoma as an assistant coach in charge of tight ends and offensive tackles. Last season, his first in Norman, Kittle was the on-campus recruiting coordinator for the Sooners.
Kittle was hired to take over the staff vacancy created when Offensive Coordinator Kevin Wilson resigned to take the head coaching position at the University of Indiana.
As Wilson also coached both tight ends and fullbacks, this has caused a re-shuffling of duties for Sooner assistants. This move could allow more Sooner players to get more individual attention from the coaching staff.
Former Sooner quarterback Cale Gundy, currently the running backs coach and recruiting coordinator, has now added coaching the fullbacks to his duties. Offensive line coach James Patton will now coach the interior offensive line.
Kittle is an old friend of Bob Stoops from back in the days when they both played for Hayden Fry at Iowa, where Kittle was honored as a team captain on the Hawkeyes 1982 Rose Bowl team. After serving as an Iowa graduate assistant coach from 1982-1986, he was out of coaching completely until returning to coach the high school ranks back in 2006.
During his time away from the coaching profession, Bruce Kittle received a law degree from Iowa in 1989 and a masters in divinity from Chicago Theological Seminary in 1998. He has previously worked as an attorney, in a state correctional department and as an ordained minister.
Many Sooner fans were hoping for a big name to take over as a new special teams coordinator, an area that surely could use some special attention after surrendering a nation high nine kick off returns for touchdowns since 2008. Oklahoma has struggled with consistency in both field goals and extra points.
Sooners' head coach Bob Stoops is well known for loyalty to his friends and also his ability to spot talent wherever it may be found. He believes that Kittle's knowledge and abilities transcend the relative lack of experience his new assistant brings to the staff.
While this coaching hire is sure to leave a few people scratching their heads, the Oklahoma head coach has proven that he knows what he is doing, as evidenced by the Sooner's seven Big 12 championships in Stoop's 12 seasons.
Take heart Sooner fans, you are not the only ones with concerns over the play of the special teams. After contributing heavily to at least half the Oklahoma losses over the past three seasons, the special teams are in desperate need of a hard look at how things are run, from personnel to the amount of time devoted to them during practice.
It is a safe bet that even without a designated special teams coordinator (OU is one of only a handful of BCS programs without one), coach Stoops is taking steps to address this glaring chink in the Sooners armor.