The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

November 11, 2012

Stoops humble about passing Bud's win mark

By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

NORMAN —  Bob Stoops was a little humble after passing the legendary Bud Wilkin-son as the second-winningest coach in Oklahoma history with a 42-34 win over Baylor Saturday.

Stoops, in his 14th season, has a 146-36 record, compared to Bud’s 145-29-4 over 17 years. He noted how incredible Wilkinson was with three national championships and winning streaks of 31 and 47 games and 14 conference championships over 17 seasons.

“I don’t think that will be touched again,’’ Stoops said.

Stoops is 11 wins away from Barry Switzer’s 157 victories, which he should pass next season, but don’t tell him that.

“I don’t look at the numbers,’’ Stoops said. “It’s not me. I’m a long ways from sitting in the rocking chair and reflecting on it.

“It’s worth saying again that I’m extremely fortunate to work at such a great place with great people. We have an amazing president in David Boren and a great athletic director in Joe Castiglione and I’ve been lucky to have great assistant coaches who work hard.’’

Stoops noted OU has kept pace in upgrading facilities.

And has he’s said in the past, he’s had great players — two Heisman winners in Sam Bradford and Jason White and two runners-up in Josh Heupel and Adrian Peterson to name a few.

Stoops’ strength has been his consistency. The Sooners have won at least seven games in all of his 14 seasons (including 2012), and he hasn’t seem to lose his zest for coaching.

Wilkinson, in his 14th season, had his lone losing season (3-6-1) and was 5-5 the next season when OU lost its first five games, only to win the last five.

Stoops said one of the keys to his success was the attitude of his first team — 7-5 in 1999. The Sooners had had five straight non-winning seasons before that.

“Those guys had a positive attitude,’’ Stoops said. “They accepted us instead of fighting us, and we were able to relate to them in a positive way. We started building right there.’’

Stoops won a national championship his second season at OU, but hasn’t one won since, although the Sooners did lost the BCS championship game in 2003 (to LSU), 2004 (to USC) and 2008 (to Florida).

He has seven conference championships in a league that was deeper than Wilkinson’s Big 6, 7 and 8 and Switzer’s Big 8.

Stoops still has the blue collar work ethic out of his hometown of Youngstown, Ohio. He has become a little more caustic with the media over the past.

He had no apologies for the Sooners giving up 252 yards rushing against Baylor. OU did limit Bears quarterback Nick Florence to 172 yards passing, more than half under his average of 403 yards per game going into the contest.

A year ago, the Sooners gave up 485 yards passing to Robert Griffin III, in Baylor’s first-ever win over the Sooners. Griffin might have just won the Heisman that night.

“To limit their big pass plays, you have to make them hand the ball off and hope you can come up with third-down and fourth-down stops,’’ Stoops said. “I felt like we did that. I’m good with it. To handle the pass, you have to suffer a little bit with the run ... the good thing was everything was contested; nothing came easy or cheap.’’

Baylor was 11 of 20 on third-down conversions and 2 of 4 on fourth-down conversions.

Landry Jones had 212 of his 277 yards passing by halftime. The Sooners are 21-1 in games where Jones has thrown for 200 or more yards in the first half.

“You have to give Landry credit,’’ Stoops said. “He throws such a good football, it cuts through the wind.’’

Campbell is a News & Eagle sports writer.