NORMAN — Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops and his brother, defensive coordinator Mike Stoops, share many traits. One characteristic that separates them is span of memory.
Ask the head coach about what happened last season or seven days and it’s a distant memory. He only worries about the future.
Mike Stoops is different. He has an elephant-like memory for anything in the past that might motivate his players. The embarrassment from giving up 778 yards in last week’s 50-49 victory over West Virginia is a strong topic.
Another one he’s harping on was something he didn’t even see in person — last season’s 44-10 loss to Oklahoma State
“Our pride is hurt. Our guys are very prideful. We’re embarrassed by what happened,” Mike Stoops said. “We’ll see what we can do about Saturday.”
Above all else, it was the Sooners’ dignity that got rubbed into the turf the last time the Bedlam rivals met. That 34-point loss that turned into a mob scene at Boone Pickens Stadium had a lot of time to sink in.
“You never see yourself getting embarrassed on national television,” OU wide receiver Kenny Stills said. “But they were a great team but it wasn’t something that I felt like was a fluke or anything like that.”
The 14th-ranked Sooners (8-2, 6-1 Big 12) have shown every measure of respect they can possibly give the 22nd-ranked Cowboys (7-3, 5-2) since that loss. Stills’ sentiment that OU had to accept last year’s Bedlam shellacking like men has been universally accepted.
If anything, it has heightened a rivalry that’s been very one-sided for decades.
“That was a massacre. That wasn’t even a loss. We’ve gotta play so much better defense, especially from last week to last year,” defensive tackle Casey Walker said. “The defense has to improve tremendously.”