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June 7, 2017 • Football

Looking back: Bob Stoops’ thoughts on football, coaching

Oklahoma Sooners head football coach Bob Stoops announced his immediate retirement on Wednesday. It brought an end to a coaching career that lasted more than 30 years, highlighted by a national championship in Stoops’ second season at Oklahoma.

Photo: John Silks

In 2011, Coach & Athletic Director spoke with Stoops about his career, football and climbing the ranks. Here are some of his comments from that conversation, along with two plays he used in his up-tempo offense.

Stoops on his arrival at Oklahoma …

“We were a downtrodden team when I got here and hadn’t seen a winning season in five years. The Oklahoma program had a poor self-image in the community and at the school.

“I came in and taught the players how to work again and how to earn everything. This team needed a focused, better work ethic and that is what the staff focused on. We then wanted to build up the players’ self- image by letting them know they deserve to be better as long as they work hard.

“We played off the great history here. We told our players not to ignore the history, embrace it and accept it — aspire to be a part of it.

  » RELATED: Learn two plays from Stoops’ high-powered offense

“Then, little by little and month by month, the expectations started to grow. Players started to believe in themselves because they knew how hard they were working. Winning is contagious and once we started, things have been rolling.”

Stoops on his up-tempo offense …

“In this system, our quarterback needs to be patient and not in a hurry, even though it appears we’re moving fast. The quarterback also needs to be composed, play within the system, be efficient and showcase maturity and poise for the other team members to follow. Just because you are playing fast, doesn’t mean everything is out of control. The speed comes from being knowledgeable and making quick, correct decisions.”

“Dependability is the No. 1 thing I want from my running backs. I want them to take care of the ball. From there, we want them to make plays and play to their strengths. As a coaching staff, we are going to maximize what they do best by calling the plays that put them in a position to succeed.”

Stoops on defense …

“As a coach, the two most important statistics we follow are scoring defense and turnover margin. … We run a lot of turnover-and- recover drills in practice but we also want players trying to strip the ball out during all drills. It’s something the players understand is part of what we do defensively.

“The way we practice tackling is to place an emphasis on forcing the ball out of the carrier’s hands.”

Stoops on his “no excuses” approach …

“Sure, it’s a simple thing to say, so you have to live it to the fullest. We don’t allow excuses on our team — plain and simple. Let’s face it, you are justifying failure with excuses, so there is no sense using them. You can point to inexperience, injuries or officiating, but at the end of the day, you still are on the wrong side of the equation. We simply do not acknowledge excuses.”

Stoops’ advice for coaches …

“Be sure to enjoy your job. We are a part of young people’s lives and that cannot be taken lightly. Provide your players the tools they need to grow and mature while obtaining life skills along the way.”

“I learned while working under Steve Spurrier to set aside family time. I eat breakfast with my children and take them to school everyday, just like any other working parent. I have my family come to practice sometimes, or stop by to eat lunch with me. It’s easy to include your family and still be efficient and effective in your job.

“Don’t let football dominate your life to the point where you are sacrificing your family. Working long hours does not necessarily mean you are doing the right things to achieve success professionally. Don’t just sit at your desk for hours and hours — be efficient.”


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