Will Firing Mike Stoops Save Oklahoma's Football Season??
Was it a panic move? A natural reaction? Or a chance to salvage a once promising 2018 Football Season??
All good questions and all likely not to ever get fully answered after the Oklahoma Sooners parted ways with Defensive Coordinator Mike Stoops Sunday on the heels of a 48-45 loss to Texas in the "Red River Rivalry" game....
To be perfectly honest---much like the Oklahoma fans and alumni of the world, I'm surprised it took so long.
For most all accounts, Stoops is an absolute standup guy, respected by his peers, teammates and even the reporters covering the team. But if you watched an Oklahoma football game over the past few seasons, it wasn't too hard to see why there was such an outcry.
Sure, giving up 500+ yards of offense to a decent but not spectacular Texas team may have been the final straw--but seeing how lost last years Sooners defense was in the 2017 National Semi-Final game against Georgia was a pretty good indicator there may be a problem.
This season---from a pure yardage standpoint, Stoops defense was 96th in the country. Out of 130 or so teams in the FBS. Or more pointedly, from a yardage standpoint, 107th in the country against the pass. The run defense clocking in at 62nd, but that likely stems from most of the Sooners opponents having to pass a lot later in games....
Stoops came to Oklahoma courtesy of his brother Bob, who brought the Sooners back to the National Spotlight where they feel they belong.
And maybe they do.
But Bob Stoops, much like current Head Coach Lincoln Riley was an offensive guy who managed to win with some crazy good Quarterback, Running Back and/or Wide Receiver talent over the past decade or so.
Mike came to Norman, Oklahoma after getting fired as Head Coach of the University of Arizona in 2011. And much like his predecessors, the defense at times only marginally improved but for the most part were pushovers to the SEC and Big 10 teams of the world.
But this backstory really doesn't describe the question at hand....
Can the Sooners save the 2018 season?
The answer is pretty simple. NO....they can't.
Yeah, sure, they may regroup and win the Big 12. Texas could easily lose a game before the season ends and despite being undefeated, West Virginia is always unpredictable and could easily lose a game they shouldn't.
The Sooners end the 2018 regular season with a game IN Morgantown vs. the Mountaineers...which could be a game for the Big 12 regular season title.
But the loss to Texas has already cost them the College Football playoff berth they so cherish. Alabama is not losing this season. Georgia may not lose and Clemson probably isn't either. It appears Notre Dame's path to running the table is pretty easy as is Ohio State's.
So even at best, it leaves a one-loss Oklahoma Sooners team on the outside looking in....
So yeah, I understand why Riley fired Stoops, I'd be willing to bet he got a lot of pressure from the Administration after the painful Texas loss. It won't help them in 2018 but maybe in the coming years it will.
In the meantime, former East Carolina Head Coach Ruffin McNeil takes over with help from former UConn Head Coach Bob Diaco on the defensive side of the ball.
Let's see if anything actually comes of it....