Here was the question from the media peanut gallery that set Stoops off.
“I just want you to clarify,” asked the reporter, one who’s been on the beat for a long time. “Are you saying you’re OK with giving up the rushing yards because you were playing this team to defend the pass?”
Stoops had already said something close to that, but it was a fine question, especially for a coach like Stoops who has always thought the first step to defending anything, even Mike Leach at Texas Tech, was stopping the run.
“Absolutely. I love ’em. I love ’em,” said Stoops, apparently referring to Baylor’s ground yards, more than OU had allowed all season and the fourth time it had allowed at least 200. “A minute-forty to go in the game and we’re up 16 against a team that’s lit up the scoreboard on everybody? That’s exactly what I’m saying. So you guys can rip me tomorrow … I’m good with it.”
It was ugly.
It was unfortunate.
It marred the whole experience.
Stoops had just passed Bud Wilkinson with his 146th victory since leaving Gainesville for Norman and he’d just finished saying a bunch of nice things about Wilkinson and he’d just added “I’m a long way from sitting in a rocking chair and reflecting on it.”
Yet he made you wonder how long it might be if that tame a question can ruin his day, or even ruin the 10 minutes of his day he had to answer questions about his 146th win.
Then Mike Stoops walked up to the podium and explained why his brother might be mad — not at the question he failed to answer peacefully, but at OU’s defense — like he was.
Mike Stoops wasn’t happy. He said his defense “never could grasp the run game in a lot of areas” and that the Sooners’ tackling was “atrocious.”