Oklahoma-FSU fun for everyone but Stoops brothers

by | CBSSports.com College Football Insider
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Bob Stoops says hanging 47 points on his brother Mark's Seminoles was a 'miserable experience.' (US Presswire)  
Bob Stoops says hanging 47 points on his brother Mark's Seminoles was a 'miserable experience.' (US Presswire)  

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- If this was any other week, Mark and Bob Stoops would be discussing strategy. The brothers might even offer suggestions to help the other out with an upcoming opponent.

Not this week, though. This week is different: It's the Stoops version of hell week.

The week -- and the game -- they dread more than anything else: coaching against each other.

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On Saturday night, No. 1 ranked Oklahoma, coached by Bob, visits No. 5 Florida State, where Mark is in his second season as defensive coordinator.

Last year for the first time they experienced facing each other on opposite sidelines. They hated it. "It stinks," Bob said. Bob had never felt worse after a game -- and his Sooners won 47-17.

"I thought I said it the best way I could after the game," Bob Stoops said Tuesday. "That I felt the entire week that it would be a miserable experience. Then I said after the game I was sure of it after I've done it. I've never been so conflicted and miserable about winning a game. "[If] you're playing a brother for a championship, that's OK. One of you is going to win a championship. You spend your life fighting for your brother; you go play another neighborhood or whatever. You bring your brothers with you. They're always on your team. They're sticking up for you. All the sudden you have to beat each other, it's not what you want. It's not natural."

Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher prohibits his assistants from talking to the media except at the Seminoles' media day before the start of each season. Mark Stoops talked last month about coaching against his older brother.

"I think the way we feel, when people ask us that question, 'Is it fun or do you look forward to it?' No, because we root for each other to win," Mark said. "When the time comes we will be prepared and we will compete to win and have our guys prepared. That won't be a problem for either of us.

"If we weren't playing each other, we would actually probably sit down and watch a lot of film and share ideas. But we can't do that."

Because Oklahoma and Florida State scheduled a two-game series in 2010 and 2011, Mark admitted it even made for some awkward moments during family functions in the offseason, knowing he would be coaching against Bob.

"We talked less about strategy," Mark said. "If you weren't playing each other we would probably sit down and watch a lot of film and share ideas and all that. But we can't do that now."

Even their mother, Dee Stoops, has trouble watching when her sons coach against each other.

"It's just hard to watch," Dee Stoops told the Oklahoman. "It isn't fun. It isn't fun for the family. I have a heavy heart because I know somebody's going to lose. There's no ties anymore."

Dee Stoops attended last year's contest in Norman. That was hard enough for her and she won't be making the trip to Tallahassee.

Last year's game was only the second for Mark as FSU's defensive coordinator. He spent the previous six seasons coaching with another brother -- Mike -- as Arizona's defensive coordinator.

"No matter who's delivering the butt-kicking, you don't feel real good about it," said Mark Stoops of FSU's most-lopsided loss since 2008. "I was more than anything just disappointed."

Oklahoma scored touchdowns on its first four drives. The Sooners scored on seven of their first 10 drives. By the third quarter, it was 44-7 and "Boomer" and "Sooner," the white ponies that pull OU's Sooner Schooner across Owen Field after each score, were in search of the nearest oxygen tanks.

"Defensively, that game was definitely a turning point for us," Mark Stoops said. "I believe our guys understood a little bit more clearly exactly how sharp you need to be to win at that level.

"If we continue to correct our mistakes, we'll have a better chance [against Oklahoma]. We were not quite prepared for that test a year ago. We were not quite prepared for that environment and the speed of that game. I think we learned from it and we got better as the year went on last year.

"I think some of the areas that we were exposed at in that game, we improved as the year went on. They really weren't too much of a problem as the year went on."

After allowing 47 points to Oklahoma, Florida State allowed only 56 points combined in its next five games.

"That no-huddle offense killed us," Florida State cornerback Greg Reid told CBSSports.com's Bruce Feldman in the spring. "I've never went through anything like that before in my life. It was a real learning experience.

"Coach [Mark] Stoops kept saying, 'Y'all better tighten up. Y'all don't know what you're getting yourselves into.' And we were like, 'Aw, man, we got this. It's just a football game.'

"I had no idea. I'm looking over to the sidelines for a play and they're already hiking the ball. I can't imagine how hard it was for the D-line. That was real tough."

Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones threw for 380 yards and four touchdowns.

"I believe we really didn't know what we were getting ourselves into, but this year, they have to come to the big brick place," Reid said. "They gotta come to Tallahassee. Everybody's excited. This place will be jam-packed. We got something on our shoulders where we have to prove a point."

Reid said this week that this year's FSU team is much more improved.

"I think about [last year] from time to time, but right now I think we're a better secondary and a better team," Reid said. "I'm not really worried about last year. I'm just focused on Saturday and the future.

"I've got people on the defense now that I can trust, that can make plays. I have to just do what I have to do and play my assignment and use my technique well. We knew it was a fast kind of tempo offense [last year], but we didn't know it was that fast. Right now, we're aware of it and we should be ready for it.

"We know now what to expect. Once you know what to expect it becomes a lot easier."

It still doesn't make it any easier for the Stoops brothers. However, since this is the final scheduled matchup between Bob, who turned 51 last Friday, and Mark, 44, the brothers are expecting things to return to normal after the game.

"He [Mark] can come the Monday after we play if he wants," Bob Stoops said. "In fact, we'll talk then and share ideas on what you looked at, what you could have done better."

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