Hutton caused a minor ruckus among Sooner fans recently with his take on the demise of Florida Atlantic coach Howard Schnellenberger in his one year as the Sooners' head man. (By way of background for the uninitiated, world-class braggadocio Schnellenberger followed Gary Gibbs in Norman. He arrived on campus in 1994 boasting that movies would be written about what the Sooners would accomplish during his tenure, but left 12 months later on the heels of a 5-5-1 season.)
To hear Hutton tell it, "The Voice," as he has nicknamed Schnellenberger, got bounced primarily because of a long-running feud with Barry Switzer. In Hutton's version of events, an upstanding legend like Schnellenberger would never stoop to the depths that "The King" had during his chaotic reign at OU, and he wasn't about to cowtow to the Sooner legend. But when he failed to kiss the ring and show proper reverence for Oklahoma royalty, The Voice forever offended Sooner Nation. Since then, along with gravity and--sometimes--evolution, Oklahoma schools have drilled into the state's young the theory that Schnellenberger's one year at OU forced the Sooners to wander the desert for years, as martyr John Blake bore the brunt of his predecessor's cosmic misdeeds. Obviously, that was until Switzer annointee Bob Stoops fell to earth.
I guess that would be one way to look at it... assuming your view is coming from up the big fella's ass.
First of all, let's start by recognizing that I've never met an OU fan who didn't share my opinion that Blake's tenure was an unmitigated disaster. Following Schnellenberger up with Blake wasn't just adding fuel to the fire, it was like adding an entire tanker truck. I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say you couldn't build a worse coach than Blake, even if you were using the dead body parts of Pat Jones, Rich Kotite and Jeff Bowden. Trust me, the nauseating effect that the name "John Blake" has on Sooner fans is bad enough to make them forget Schnellenberger even coached at OU.
Then, there's this little gem from The Whisper's ghostwriter: "Say what you will about The Voice, he has never run a program where there was even the hint of scandal. And that is why, when he got out to Oklahoma, he refused to bow down to ‘King’ Switzer."
I guess the way Schnellenberger ran OU's program doesn't count? As Tulsa World columnist Dave Sittler pointed out in his blog today, The Whisper's "water-is-for-whimps" routine during August practices in Oklahoma nearly killed one of his players, who later took Schnellenberger to court. Then, Schnellenberger flat-out lied when confronted about it. As for his own personal conduct, word in Norman at the time was that if a movie really was made about Schnellenberger's stint at OU, the most appropriate title would be "Barfly II." (Schnellenberger has denied allegations of drinking on the job while at OU.)
I'm not defending Switzer - I honestly could care less about what Hutton has to say in that respect. Hutton's criticisms of The King are all completely fair.