Coach Bob Stoops isn’t the most well-liked guy in SEC country. Coach Stoops has a habit of taking shots at conference and then, to add insult to injury, backing those shots up. Over the last four years, the Sooners are 4-0 against the SEC; dating back to the big win over Alabama in the 2014 Sugar Bowl.
So it is no surprise that the SEC’s biggest blowhard is taking his own shots at coach Stoops. Paul Finebaum went on ESPN on Wednesday and ripped into coach Stoops for the way he disciplines his team.
Here’s the quote:
“I believe what they say is he’s a very good coach, if not a great coach, but when it comes to discipline, I believe he’s a total failure.” Finebaum said. “I thought it was interesting what Baker (Mayfield) said there, about setting a good example. Bob Stoops had a chance to set an example a couple of years ago during the Joe Mixon case. Instead he looked around and tried to find an equitable way out that was going to be good for him and very bad for the university’s reputation.
“When Bob Stoops talks, I don’t really listen, because I think he’s disingenuous when it comes to discipline.”
Unsurprisingly, Oklahoma fans took exception to Finebaum’s comments and shared their thoughts on him on Twitter.
— Max Packard (@MaxPackard) April 13, 2017
— Seth McKinzie (@McKinzie_TFB) April 12, 2017
@finebaum so I guess you were a coach and have the right to criticize Stoops? Just shut your mouth!
— Ryan Thomas Ellis (@ryantellis) April 12, 2017
— Coaches Hot Seat (@CoachesHotSeat) April 12, 2017
Clearly, Finebaum is looking for a reaction here. Sports broadcasting has become more about hot takes than honest to goodness analysis. Sensationalism sells.
However, there is a point here that Oklahoma fans are going to have to accept. The perception around college football is that discipline has become more lax at Oklahoma as the pressure to win started to increase; especially following the 8-5 2014 season.
Even coach Stoops has admitted that he should have dismissed Joe Mixon, but the Mixon incident isn’t the only time football needs seem to have put above player discipline. It’s just the most glaring. Even quarterback Baker Mayfield has admitted that players have slipped on off-the-field stuff. Though, he blames the players, not coach Stoops.
“I think people have let it slip a little bit and gotten a little lackadaisical about all the off-the-field stuff,” Mayfield told ESPN. “I think it can be said that I might have set a bad example first, but we all know there’s a higher standard here — not just being quarterbacks, but at the University of Oklahoma. There’s a tradition here at Oklahoma that compares to no other.
“We’ve got to realize that expectation and those standards and rise up to it and be the ones that everybody looks at in every single situation. We’ve got to be accountable and let everybody know that we have the responsibility and they can look up to us no matter what.
“They’re not letting anything slip. That’s not something Coach Stoops or anyone on his staff would ever let anybody let that slip. He’s always done his job well, and we have to do ours. They bring us here for a reason, and we have to rise up to the occasion and do that.”
So, like it or not, the criticism isn’t totally unfair or unwarranted, even if it is a bit extreme.