Offensive coordinator, Kevin Wilson, God love him, who may be the only college coach in America who would ever begin an on-the-record quote with, “No one says this, but …,” has an explanation even if his boss doesn’t.
“No one says this, but in my opinion, I think we play so well at home that we start thinking we’re pretty good and we lose our edge,” he said. “And then we come off the road and we’ve gotten beat. Now, we’re mad, so we’re focused and we practice harder.”
It is so novel a point — the Sooners are so bad away because they’re so good at home — it might be true.
Yet the more interesting question is if Stoops has lost his edge. Or, at the very least, offered up a real blind spot for all to see.
Because whether the denial of his team’s road woes is real or fabricated, neither approach squares with the “No excuses” philosophy that really seemed to set Stoops apart from every other coach in America when he arrived in Norman.
That Stoops appeared far less bothered by anything insinuated about his team, good or bad, right or wrong, than by his own sense of expected excellence.
Stoops was asked if quarterback Landry Jones has struggled away from home.
“No,” he said.
Then he started talking about the whole offense again.
Jones’ fourth quarter at Missouri was referenced.
“Well, again, who was open? Nobody,” Stoops said. “It isn’t just him.”
Stoops has made excuses for Jones. From his only being a (redshirt) sophomore, to everybody’s else’s responsibility in the offense.
It’s a good thing Jones isn’t a kicker. Now there’s a position Stoops is willing to hold accountable.
The bigger point is this. Consciously or unconsiously, planned or spontaneous, Stoops has softened toward his teams, or hardened toward the folks asking about his teams.
Then, he wanted answers, too.
Now, he defends and denies.
It may not mean a thing to his players, the ones who for some unknown reason are so much better at home than away.