Saturday, December 02, 2006

With Baling Wire and Duct Tape...

Oklahoma Sooners head coach Bob Stoops has pulled off another miraculous year...While keeping the team patched together with baling wire and duct tape he has managed to bring the Sooners to the top of their game winning the Big XII South division and will play for the Big XII Championship against Nebraska on Saturday night!

The job he's done is absolutely unbelievable and the conference has noticed...Coach Stoops was named the 2006 Big XII Coach of the Year!

Here's the story from ESPN:

No Controversy Here: Stoops Unanimous Choice for Big 12 Honor

NORMAN, Okla. -- In a season of turmoil, Bob Stoops was still able to mold a championship-caliber team at Oklahoma.

Even after the dismissal of their starting quarterback and an injury to their record-setting running back, the Sooners managed to go 10-2, 7-1 in the Big 12. It was good enough for OU to win its fifth Big 12 South title and a berth in the conference championship game Saturday -- and, on Tuesday, Stoops was named with the Associated Press' Big 12 coach of the year.

Stoops was a unanimous choice for the honor, which he also won in 2000 and 2003. He becomes the first three-time winner in the conference's 11-year history. Only former Colorado coach Gary Barnett has won twice. Stoops is the second straight unanimous selection, following Texas' Mack Brown.

"With the things that we've had to overcome, the way he's kept this team focused, kept our mind-set focused on our main goals, is big," quarterback Paul Thompson said. "That's the main thing for coaches, keeping your team focused, keeping them away from the distractions. ... He's just done a great job overall with the adversity that we have had this year."

Stoops has had to deal with the nasty business of dismissing two players, including starting quarterback Rhett Bomar, who broke NCAA rules by taking more money than he earned at a Norman car dealership. The program is still under investigation by the NCAA,which has said Bomar took $7,400 more than he earned while offensive lineman J.D. Quinn took $8,100 in extra benefits.

Once the season started, Stoops had to brush aside a crushing34-33 loss at Oregon that could've been a win if officials had made a correct ruling on a late onside kick or a subsequent instant replay review.Next, he lost his starting tailback, 2004 Heisman runner-up Adrian Peterson, to a broken collarbone that has kept him out six weeks. He's doubtful to return Saturday for the Big 12 title game against No. 19 Nebraska (9-3, 6-2).

Each time adversity has flared, Stoops attacked it directly by telling players no excuses would be allowed.

"It was just on and on," linebacker Rufus Alexander said. "He just came in and made it seem like it's your choice what you want to do and how you want to go through whatever has happened to you.You get dealt a hand of cards and you have to play them, and that's all we did."

After an October loss to Texas, the Sooners reeled off seven straight wins. The Longhorns helped by losing their last two games,letting Oklahoma capture the division title.

"In this building, we never took our eyes off of what our goals were and felt that we couldn't meet them. It was going to be tough,but we could do it,"

Stoops said.Stoops has done it without the All-Star cast from previous years.

Tailbacks Allen Patrick and Chris Brown moved into Peterson's starting role to carry Oklahoma's running game, following an inexperienced offensive line that was supposed to be a question mark even before it lost right tackle Branndon Braxton to an injury.

Other unknowns have also emerged, including redshirt freshman Brody Eldridge, who's turned into a blocking sensation at fullback and tight end. On defense, a secondary that was shaky early on has been fixed by shuffling personnel. Only one of four starters in the defensive backfield was projected at his current spot when the season started.

"I think as much as anything we've traveled through the year and have improved as we've gone through the year," Stoops said."I really believe our assistant coaches have done a great, great job of working through all of the different changes we've had with personnel and getting so many young players in position to play and getting them to play well."

One key ingredient was that coaches remained confident, receiver Malcolm Kelly said."They believed that everybody out there can make plays.

They believed that we were a nice-caliber team and we could play with anybody," Kelly said. "They never doubted that.

The result has been one of Stoops' most rewarding seasons in eight years in Norman."

It's been one of the most enjoyable for sure, because of just the attitude of the players," he said. "The way they come to practice every day -- just their attitude, their excitement, their enthusiasm -- you enjoy that as a coach when you're not pulling teeth, you feel like they're listening to you, they like to play,all of that. It's been pleasing that way for sure."

Thanks Be to God and Boomer Sooner!


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