Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops went through his paces at Big 12 media days for the 16th year in a row. This year offered a bit more insight than the usual exercise in non-answers.
*Not surprisingly, the Dorial Green-Beckham situation was brought up early in the session. Stoops actually gave a little color as to what went into the decision to bring him on.
Clearly, something about what the OU coaching staff heard from their counterparts at Missouri made them think this was worth the risk. DGB is clearly an all-world talent, but it’s still hard to believe Stoops and, more importantly, the school administration would be willing to take so much shade without some degree of confidence that there’s more to the story. Rolling the dice on someone accused of knocking a woman down some stairs doesn’t exactly play well on the recruiting trail, and it makes for bad optics coming in the president’s office.
I have no idea what is going to happen with the wide receiver’s request for a waiver to play this fall. Based on the comments I’ve observed in the Twittersphere, I do know that there will be some outrage and righteous indignation if it does go through.
*Speaking of transfers, Stoops seems to be talking out of both sides of his mouth regarding Baker Mayfield’s appeal for eligibility. Just last year, OU’s coach went to bat for Mike Gundy in the controversy over Wes Lunt’s departure from Stillwater.
Stoops might argue that walk-ons deserve different treatment than scholarship players, but that’s irrelevant to the purpose of the transfer regime, which is to discourage poaching.
*Naturally, Stoops’ comments on Mayfield led to some speculation that the coaches have concerns about third-year QB Trevor Knight. After all, why worry about getting Mayfield eligible when you have faith in your starter?
The answer is that you can never have too much depth, especially at quarterback -- and especially if it’s not costing you a scholarship -- and especially if that player was the conference's offensive newcomer of the year. Having Mayfield available would put the Sooners in a good spot should Knight go down to injury, which did prove to be an issue last season.
The Knight narrative continues to be that he needs to show more consistency this season. I disagree, but even if true, the coaching staff has given no indication that Knight has less than a rock-solid grip on the starting job. You don’t bring him to media days if that is the case.
*And if that’s not enough quarterback talk, Stoops shot down the idea that Blake Bell might move back there from tight end at some point this year. I really hope that’s the case for his sake. Last season proved that he won’t be playing under center in the NFL. Dedicating himself to his new position looks like the better bet if he wants to play in the pros.
If Knight gets hurt early in the year, would the coaching staff consider calling in Bell from the bullpen? Here’s hoping Cody Thomas doesn’t give them any reason for that.
*Stoops probably dropped a hint about the identity of OU’s offense this year with his comments about the differences between the new Sooners running backs and their predecessors. Cale Gundy has some thumpers to work with now in the backfield, as well as some big lead blockers at fullback.
Expect a healthy dose of physicality in the running game this fall.