The Norman Transcript

May 13, 2012

Stoops cements no-nonsense policy with recent suspensions

By John Shinn
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — The gauntlet Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops threw down in December still has a ripple effect. The “indefinite suspensions” he announced late Wednesday night for receivers Kameel Jackson, Trey Franks and Jaz Reynolds, along with backup defensive back Quentin Hayes proved it.

Suspending the receivers showed how little patience the Sooner coach has for nonsense. If none of the three are reinstated when practice begins in August, the Sooners will have just one receiver (Kenny Stills) who has made a catch in a game. Freshman Trey Metoyer showed almost infinite ability in the spring game, but he still doesn’t have actual game experience.

OU has a recruiting class full of receivers it expects to arrive next month for summer school. Sterling Shepard, Durron Neal and Derrick Woods are all four-star recruits, and junior college transfer Courtney Gardner, who still hasn’t been cleared to enroll, was the No. 1 junior college receiver in the Class of 2012.

Raw talent, however, isn’t a trait that will keep any player in a Sooner uniform.

Stoops raised eyebrows back in December when a house-cleaning began with 10 players with eligibility remaining being left off the Insight Bowl roster.

“You’re here to go to school and to be a heck of a football player, or at least try to be,” Stoops said on the eve of the Sooners’ 30-14 victory over Iowa to end the 2011. “If you’re not living up to those obligations, you’re not earning your way. You’re bringing the team down. We’ve had more players academically suspended or missing practice than any time here.”

When asked if the decision to start showing players the door had been positive, Stoops said it had been a lot easier for him.

“Yeah,” he said. “Because that two percent of the team isn’t eating up 90 percent of my time all of a sudden, It’s pretty simple.”

The suspensions earlier this week were clearly a sign that won’t end.

Receivers coach Jay Norvell had spoken well of both Franks and Reynolds during the spring. The main reason he cited the positive reviews was an increased level of maturity from both.

But both Franks and Reynolds missed games last season due to “violations of team rules.”

The leash didn’t get any looser once the season ended. No criteria have been announced for what, if anything, the players can do to get back in good graces.

Jackson had already announced on Twitter that he intended to transfer to Texas A&M. It’s doubtful he’ll return to OU, but Texas A&M had never offered him a scholarship. The announcement of the suspension will only cause his options to shrink.

Programs are always looking forward to adding talent. A history of causing trouble, however, always raises red flags.

What Stoops did this past week was a clear sign his tolerance for bad decisions hasn’t waned since the 2011 season ended. Don’t expect that to change. There’s clearly no more room in the Switzer Center for that “two percent” he railed about six months ago.