Sooners Nugget

It probably wouldn’t hurt to think a thought or two about the Tide’s Sugar Bowl opponent, the Oklahoma Sooners.

So here you go:

Trevor Knight has returned to practice and, according to Bob Stoops, is 100 percent after injuring his shoulder in Oklahoma’s regular-season finale at Oklahoma State.

That does not mean Stoops is ready to name a starting quarterback for the Sugar Bowl against Alabama.

“That will be a game-time decision,” he said Monday.

Also, the Sooners will be without two starting offensive linemen:

Whoever quarterbacks will be shorthanded, as Stoops said he does not expect starting offensive linemen Tyrus Thompson and Adam Shead to be available against Alabama.

Thompson, OU’s left tackle, injured his ankle at Kansas State Nov. 23. He was replaced by Derek Farniok the rest of that game, and then at OSU.

Shead, the Sooners’ left guard, played this year after undergoing back surgery last offseason. He missed both the K-State and OSU games.



The Top 15 Things of the Stoops OU Era – We Made The List

Hey, guess what?  Alabama made the special anniversary list of the top 15 things in the Bob Stoops’ era at Oklahoma:

The Crimson Tide that came to Norman in 2002 was not a particularly good football team, but the one OU faced the next season in 2003 played at home with an edge. That is, until Stoops created his “Riverboat Gambler” image, going for a fake punt deep in ‘Bama territory, then throwing a touchdown bomb on the next play for a 20-13 victory.

Bama lost the 2002 game, 37-27, but lead with almost three minutes left before giving up two quick scores.

I was at the 2003 game and the frenzy moments before the fake punt was as loud as I had ever heard at Bryant-Denny (up until that time).

Stoops: “Because that 2 percent of my team isn’t eating up 90 percent of my time.”

This is a story from last week, so I’m a little late posting on it.  I’m not sure if this was a national story or not, but I feel certain if Nick Saban had made the same comments it would have been:

“I have put my foot down every year this time of year,” Stoops said during the final news conference prior to the bowl. “There have always been guys that all of a sudden aren’t back, all of a sudden they are transferring.”

The only December transfer Stoops has acknowledged has been running back Brandon Williams, who he’s said is going to Texas A&M to be nearer to family.

He has said on a couple of occasions he will not talk about the others until after the bowl, but it became obvious at Monday’s partially open practice who was absent.

Receivers Justin McCay and Sheldon McClain are not here with the team. Defensive tackles Josh Aladenoye and Torrea Peterson, and defensive back James Haynes, are also absent.

He didn’t mention anyone by name, but said generally that the team’s attitude during bowl preparation has been improved.

But while Saban has always been fairly closed-mouthed regarding players leaving the team, Stoops wasn’t:

“Yeah. You know why?” said Stoops, who spoke passionately on the subject for a couple of minutes. “Because that 2 percent of my team isn’t eating up 90 percent of my time. It’s pretty simple. You feel a lot better, that’s for sure.”

Each year, he said there are certain players who do not adapt well to the requirements of a football player at OU. They’re asked to leave in a housecleaning of sorts.

“If you’re not living up to those obligations, you’re not earning your way. You’re bringing the team down,” Stoops said. “I’m not saying it’s all these guys, but some of them. That’s what happens. It’s just noticeable this year … and we’ve had more this year.”

In this era of “player’s rights” and crusaders against roster management and oversigning, its refreshing to hear a coach tell it like it is.  These crusaders always default to the coach doing wrong and the players being denied their right of a full-ride scholarship for four or five years.  But as Stoops notes, some players just don’t make it, and it’s clear that those that aren’t fitting in wind up costing the coaching staff a boat-load of their time.

Bravo, coach Stoops.

I Like Your Thinking…

This is an old link, but I like it. In this article, Sport’s Illustrated‘s Steward Mandel, explains why Alabama, not Oklahoma should be the pre-season no. 1 team:

My preseason favorite is Alabama, and the reason is pretty simple: The Crimson Tide have the most talent in the country, period. As much as some like to dismiss them, theres actually a pretty strong correlation between recruiting rankings and on-field performance. To that end, has ranked Nick Sabans last four classes as follows: No. 1 2008, No. 1 09, No. 5 10 and No. 1 11. Thats the type of dominance we last saw from Pete Carroll at USC five straight classes ranked No. 1 by at least one major service and Urban Meyer at Florida four top-three classes in five years, and both men parlayed those hauls into multiple national titles. Saban whose classes look even better after some of his patented oversigning and roster purging is in prime position to do the same. Last year too many of those four- and five-star guys were either inexperienced first-year starters or limited by injuries, and thus, the Tide lost three games. A year later, guys like Courtney Upshaw and Dre Kirkpatrick are both seasoned veterans and projected first-rounders. Combine that with a more favorable schedule LSU and Arkansas both come to Tuscaloosa, and youve got all the ingredients to be the SEC team that makes it six straight.

(Emphasis added.)

via Alabama, not Oklahoma, should be favorite to win BCS national title – Stewart Mandel –