OU Pro Day

OU football coach Lincoln Riley, left, talks with former coach Bob Stoops, right, during OU Pro Day, Wednesday, march 13, 2019, at the Siegfried Strength and Conditioning Center. (Kyle Phillips / The Transcript)

Bob Stoops and Florida State’s athletic director both denied a report that Stoops is being interviewed for the vacant head coaching position at Florida State.

Stoops told SoonerScoop.com’s Carey Murdock that a report by WXTL TV in Tallahassee, which said a deal with FSU was imminent and could be in place as early as this week, was inaccurate.

ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit's report echoed Stoops' disinterest in the job.

FSU athletic director David Coburn told the Tallahassee Democrat on Tuesday that Stoops is a top candidate, but a deal is not imminent and no contract has been offered. There were rumors that Stoops was in Tallahassee on Monday, but both Stoops and Coburn denied those.

The Seminoles fired Willie Taggart on Sunday.

Stoops, 59, is gearing up for the XFL reboot as Dallas Renegades head coach. He is expected to be in Oklahoma City on Thursday for a team pep rally.

The former Oklahoma football coach has roots in Florida as defensive coordinator at the University of Florida from 1996-98. He retired from OU in 2017 and, much like during his career with the Sooners, has been the subject of several rumors and reports saying he was interested in returning to the college game.

• Purdy good: Iowa State’s offense doesn’t just plug along. The Cyclones are averaging 479.5 yards per game and nearly 7 yards per play (6.9) behind quarterback Brock Purdy’s leadership.

He’s eighth in Division I with 2,567 passing yards.

“When you have a quarterback that can throw the ball as good as he can, you can do a lot with your offense besides just running the ball,” OU defensive end Ronnie Perkins said. “His arm will definitely be a challenge for us.”

But the Cyclones have struggled taking care of the ball with 12 turnovers. That includes Purdy’s three interceptions in a loss to Oklahoma State two weeks ago.

OU’s in great need of takeaways with just six on the season.

“I don’t think if there was anything magical defensively there,” Riley said of OSU’s ability to pick off Purdy. “I think you saw guys capitalizing on mistakes. Some of it is making your own luck and tipping balls or getting more pressure on the quarterback or making an active play in the secondary.

• Rust belt reunion: Alex Grinch will try to steer OU’s defense in the right direction against one of his former teammates at Division III Mount Union (Ohio).

Grinch and Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell played together on the Purple Raiders’ 2000-01 national championship team.

“Not necessarily [special]. I think he'd tell you the same thing,” Grinch said. “Obviously he wants to have a great game for his football program. We want to do the same. There's as much respect as you can possibly have. He does a tremendous job.”

Campbell engineered Iowa State’s upset at OU in 2017.

“I really just think that year in general for us [was big],” Campbell said. “Obviously winning a conference game on the road and at a place like Oklahoma, it allowed us — and this happens in coaching, where you’re constantly talking about what you’re gonna do — I think that football season in general allowed us to put some proof into the vision for what Iowa State football could be.”

• Breece in focus: OU coaches at one point lightly recruited Iowa State freshman running back Breece Hall. He was teammates at Wichita Northwest (Kansas) High School with OU freshman defensive end Marcus Hicks.

Hall leads the Cyclones in rushing with 81 carries for 475 yards and 6 touchdowns. OU coach Lincoln Riley likes how Iowa State has fit him into its scheme.

”We thought he was a really good player,” Riley said. “Certainly were aware of him, recruited him some. Evaluated him, thought a lot of him. Knew Iowa State ended up getting a heck of a player there. I would say not much of a surprise that he's done well.”

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