Since then, Stoops has watched his words so carefully. He has tried to keep himself out of second-guessing range when he should know there’s no such place, leaving transparency and honesty as the best policy not because it won’t come back to bite you, instead because when it does, you won’t appear insufferable or blind to the facts.
Do that and the vast majority of observers, fans and media alike, will patiently give you the benefit of the doubt, because full disclosure is always the sympathetic course.
Not to mention, a team might respond better to a coach who’s consistent, in message if not delivery, between the locker room and microphone.
That is, unless Stoops has been consistent, seeing too much sunshine and missing the clouds on the horizon, not only for public viewing, but internally, too. If so, he really has to recalibrate. But only Friday he was talking about the need and expectation to get back on the national championship radar, so that’s something.
It’s strange but true, and feel free to draw the connection, the Stoops era stretch in which OU put its best teams on the field were the first several seasons.
If the Sooners were bounced out of the picture, they were bounced late. It was those years, too, when Stoops was harder on his team, more nitpicky than he’s ever been since and far more willing to address issues facing his program head on.
The phenomenon of his picking his story and sticking to it, of being slow or unwilling to acknowledge problems on the field everybody can see, like the lack or underdevelopment of talent among his defensive front seven, is a recent one. Basically, he’s been harder on his best teams and easier on those that fell short of expectation.
Tomorrow is a new day.
Next season could be a long one.
Against that backdrop, there’s no better time for a reboot. No better time to invite scrutiny and answer every question. No better time to once again become your own toughest critic.
It has worked before.
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