NORMAN — Yes, Oklahoma is 4-0, even with a bullet, with a stunningly improved defense, very possibly no great drop-off at quarterback and new faces here, there and everywhere that have slid into new roles and fulfilled them better than those they’ve replaced.
Coaching must be a big part of it. Mike Stoops has benefited from having a year under his belt. New assistants have brought new energy.
As for the players, those asked to lead a year ago must not have been very good at it and those who had it in them had to ascend to find their voice.
It’s a fun little game, trying to pinpoint just where everything’s coming together.
It has to be something.
That much is clear.
Monday, at his weekly press conference, Sooner coach Bob Stoops offered, without even trying, confirmation of that fact.
Indeed, he sounds so much better.
It has been pointed out that the “No excuses” express may have taken a three-year detour entering the 2013 season.
Maybe it was to protect a quarterback’s confidence. Maybe, for a group of players without terrific intangibles, trying to keep them upbeat with happy talk was a better idea than tossing out personal challenges.
Or, maybe, when things aren’t the greatest on the field, Stoops is just an obstinate cuss when people with notebooks, cameras and recording devices ask him questions.
The last few seasons it’s been a bad sign watching Stoops deny, defend, and minimize his team’s issues.
This season, and Monday, specifically, he began to sound like he sounded from 2000 to 2004, pointing out the deficiencies of an overachieving team.
Two popular lines of questioning came together to form a single inquiry when Stoops was asked if, unlike many teams which might be expected to bring less than their best in the contest between two highly anticipated opponents (like, say, Notre Dame and Texas), his team might do the opposite, and simply come back stronger.