Six former Sooners will get to show their stuff at this weekend’s NFL combine in Indianapolis in hopes of improving their draft status in April—Tony Jefferson, Lane Johnson, Landry Jones, Stacy McGee, Kelly Stills and Tom Wort.
The NFL has provided an analysis for each on its web site:
*Jefferson’s height (5-11) doesn’t appear to be a deterrent to scouts taking a chance on him. The bottom line of his analysis is that his “leadership skills, physicality around the line of scrimmage and his coverage skills will entice teams to pick him early in the 2013 draft.”
The Oklahoma football program is navigating through the most significant period of transition in Bob Stoops' tenure. What’s the endgame? In evaluating the Sooner shake-up – both in terms of what has already happened and what’s still to come – those are the two things that I keep coming back to: OU’s former offensive coordinator and the 2014 season.
Allow me to explain, and please bear in mind that I have zero inside information about the program.
Bedenbaugh has served as the o-line boss at three schools (West Virginia, Arizona and Texas Tech) over the past eight years. He also served as running game coordinator and offensive coordinator for a few years at ’Zona. Bedenbaugh is supposedly an expert on the spread offense, which seems to have no respect for the running game. During his 10 years as an assistant, the best running game he oversaw ranked 48th nationally (158.4 yards per game) at Arizona in 2008. Other times, the running game has stunk where he was in charge.
He has produced zero first-team All-Americans and only two first-team all-conference players—Don Barclay in 2011 at West Virginia and Eben Britton in 2008 at Arizona. During the same eight years, the Sooners have produced three All-Americans (Duke Robinson in 2007 and 2008; Trent Williams in 2009). Oklahoma also had 10 first-team all-conference selections.
Bob Stoops, it's like we don't even know you anymore.
According to reports, Oklahoma has given defensive line coach Jackie Shipp and tackles/tight ends coach Bruce Kittle their release. They joined former offensive line coach James Patton among those who have left Stoops' staff in the last two days.
In the past, OU has rarely seen three assistants leave the program in two years, let alone two days. Stoops has eschewed college football's customary revolving door on the sidelines during his 15-year tenure. Whereas some programs cycle through assistants and coordinators as often as Nic Cage makes a movie that you'll never see, Oklahoma has relied on maintaining continuity in its staff and grooming coaches to work up the professional ladder. Typically, when coaches have left, they've moved on of their own volition to make a move up in the food chain.
While Patton's job change is being characterized as voluntary by the school, few people – if any – in the know are buying that. As Oklahoman columnist Berry Tramel points out, you don't just up and leave a program of OU's stature for a Big Ten bottom feeder.
Bob Stoops so rarely sends a coach packing that it raises the question of why Patton? And why now?
Oklahoma capped off its 2013 recruiting class last week with National Signing Day. Attention has already shifted ahead to the 2014 crop. Josh McCuistion of SoonerScoop.com joins Homerism for a podcast to recap the latest signees and look ahead to next year.
Josh and I cover:
*Some fans' general disappointment with the 2013 class.
Oklahoma just had a very successful first junior day with more than 25 kids visiting. OU got one verbal out of the weekend, and the Sooners appear to have jumped into the lead for possibly a half-dozen additional prospects. If OU was somewhat passive at the beginning of last year’s recruiting season in making offers, then this year OU is going all out with early offers to players.
OU’s next junior day appears to be set for Feb. 16. With big talent pools in Texas for defensive backs and linebackers and good overall talent in Oklahoma, it would not be a surprise to see a flurry of early verbals again.
The biggest concern right now in recruiting is that it’s not a great year in Texas or Oklahoma for offensive linemen, OU’s ability to land out of region OL prospects is suspect at best right now. OU needs numbers at OL and, ideally, some players like Adam Shead, Nila Kasitati and Darryl Williams who were able to be productive frontline players as redshirt freshmen.
Since he got let go at Kansas in 2009, Mark Mangino has, on occasion, cut a sizable figure on the Oklahoma sideline.
The former OU offensive coordinator has hovered – quite noticeably, of course – in the background of the program during his coaching hiatus, ostensibly kicking it with his good friend Bob Stoops while collecting a rather considerable termination settlement from the Jayhawks. Of course, his appearances around the program every so often have led to idle chatter that Stoops might give the big fella his second chance after an ignominious parting with KU.
The chatter sounds a little less idle as of late. Talk among people in the know of Mangino returning to coach the offensive line has picked up steam this offseason. Oklahoma City television sports anchor Dean Blevins broke the seal on the rumors today.