Tag:Bob Stoops
Posted on: December 27, 2011 11:42 am

Stoops' "gut feeling" changing on Landry Jones?

Oklahoma Sooners head coach verbalized to the media earlier in the week what many in the scouting community have been whispering behind closed doors -- that junior quarterback Landry Jones was likely to bypass the NFL and return for his senior season.

According to Dave Sittler of the Tulsa World, Stoops told him via a telephone interview that his "gut feeling" was that Jones would return in 2012.

"My gut feeling is that he'll stay," Stoops was quoted as saying in a Christmas Eve story. Later, when asked by Sittler if Matt Barkley's decision to return for his senior season might influence Jones' thought process, Stoops reportedly said, "I don't think that will matter. Landry's not sitting there basing his decision off what (other QBs) decide."

Stoops sounded like a man who got a peek at the presents under the tree and thought he'd seen his top choice. A few days later, however, and Stoops doesn't sound nearly as sure.

“What I feel doesn't matter,” Stoops is quoted by Travis Haney of the Daily Oklahoman following practice Monday evening “It's what [Jones] thinks about it, and right now he is far from making that decision.

“So, right now he's absolutely uncertain what he's going to do. He has plenty of time after the game to analyze it more.”

Stoops went so far as to question the source of the earlier Tulsa World report.

"I don't know where that came from," Stoops said when asked about the Sittler's story.

Whether Stoops is now simply exercising caution or has had a conversation with his quarterback that has forced him to take back his words is something that obviously only the head coach knows.

It would be easy to understand why Jones would come out early for the draft. At 6-4, 230 pounds and possessing a rocket for a right arm he certainly has the critical physical skills required to earn a first round pick. Having played in 38 games over the past three seasons, his statistics are impressive. Jones has passed for 12,218 yards and has a career touchdown to interception ratio of 92-40. He's broken virtually every game, season and career passing record at Oklahoma and, of course, potentially has another season to go to further distance himself from the top Sooner quarterbacks of the past.

Jones, however, has been plagued by inconsistent accuracy throughout his career especially when forced to move his feet. Considering that he's rarely pressured due to Oklahoma's reliance on the spread offense and the talent blocking up front for him, Jones' relative lack of composure in a muddied pocket is drawing red flags from scouts. So too is the fact that Jones hasn't thrown a touchdown pass since his star receiver Ryan Broyles went down with a season-ending knee injury November 5. Though he has the upcoming Insight Bowl against Iowa Friday to erase some bad memories, some have suggested that Jones wouldn't want to leave Oklahoma after having a poor showing against rival Oklahoma State in his final regular season game wearing a Sooner uniform. In that contest Jones completed just 27 of his 50 passes for 250 yards for zero scores and two interceptions. He also fumbled twice, one of which was returned for a Cowboys' touchdown. 

Jones is currently graded as a first round value by NFLDraftScout.com behind Stanford's Andrew Luck and Baylor's Robert Griffin III. He is not among my top 32 prospects for the 2012 draft, however, and I rank Texas A&M senior quarterback Ryan Tannehill ahead of him along with Luck and Griffin. 
Posted on: December 20, 2011 12:27 pm

Bob Stoops: suspended Lewis should go pro

Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops made a rather surprising admission Monday.

He thinks his star junior defensive end/outside linebacker Ronnell Lewis should leave school early and head to the NFL.

Stoops, speaking to the media for the first time since the Sooners lost to Oklahoma State on December 3, said that Lewis had been academically disqualified from playing in the Sooners' upcoming Insight Bowl against Iowa and that he fully expected Lewis to go pro.

According to The Oklahomans' Travis Haney (who provides a video of the press conference with his story) Stoops said:

“We've talked, and I feel it's in his best interest to go on to the NFL. It hasn't been formalized yet, but we expect that to happen. And I'm all for it. He needs to do that. We're hopeful that will all go the right way.”

The 6-2, 244 pound Lewis recorded 59 tackles, 13 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks in 2011 mainly as a defensive end. He was also dropped back into coverage as a linebacker, on occasion and was a consistent standout on special teams, as well. Lewis, in fact, first caught the eye of many scouts when he tied for the team lead in special teams tackles (11) as a true freshman in 2009.

Despite his obvious athletic talents, all has not gone the "right way" for Lewis throughout his Oklahoma career. Signed as a highly touted prep prospect despite playing eight-man football in high school, Lewis has consistently flashed but wasn't able to emerge as even a full-time starter for the Sooners until this past season. In fact, Lewis had started just five games total before his breakout junior campaign. 

Lewis is currently graded by NFLDraftScout.com as the No. 6 outside linebacker prospect potentially available in 2012 and a second round value.
While certainly raw, with a relatively weak class of traditional outside linebacker prospects from the class of 2012, Lewis could move quickly up the draft board -- especially if he works out as well as expected. Some believe Lewis could run in the mid 4.5s to low 4.6s for the clock. Should he do so, a move into the first round is certainly possible.
Posted on: July 10, 2011 1:06 pm

Sooners' disruptive CB Fleming makes the grade

The Oklahoma Sooners received good news over the weekend as senior Jamell Fleming has returned to the program after leaving the school prior to spring semester due to academics.

The 5'11, 192 pound Fleming had earned Honorable Mention All-Big 12 accolades last year after leading the Sooners with five interceptions and ranking second in the entire country with 19 passes defensed. Fleming not only demonstrated an ability to make big plays -- he did so in critical games, coming through with two interceptions against NFLDraftScout.com's top-rated senior quarterback for the 2012 NFL Draft Ryan Tannehill (Texas A&M), an interception against Florida State's Christian Ponder (now a Minnesota Viking as the No. 12 overall pick of the 2011 draft) and was recognized as the Defensive Player of the Game in Oklahoma's 48-20 thrashing of Connecticut in the Fiesta Bowl largely due to his 55-yard interception return for a touchdown in the third quarter. The return for a score was the longest by any Sooner in the Bob Stoops era.

NFL scouts will certainly be keeping an eye on Fleming. Besides his prowess as a cornerback, Fleming has also demonstrated the hustle and reliable open field tackling skills to be a force on special teams. Fleming led the Sooners with 18 special teams tackles in 2008 and was second on the club with nine a year later.

Fleming, according to the depth chart on Oklahoma's official team page, is currently listed as second behind sophomore Gabe Lynn. Should he be able to re-emerge as a standout starter for the Sooners, he certainly ranks as one to watch for the 2012 draft. NFLDraftScout.com currently rates him as a 5th-6th round value and the No. 17 rated cornerback, overall.
Posted on: March 30, 2010 12:25 pm
Edited on: March 30, 2010 12:40 pm

Former USF coach Jim Leavitt with Oklahoma?

Besides the dozens of NFL executives, head coaches and scouts on hand to watch Sam Bradford's Pro Day yesterday, there were several other surprising onlookers.

Former teammate Gerald McCoy (and his father) were on hand. So too was former OU star and current Baltimore Raven Mark Clayton. Each were there to lend support to Bradford and Oklahoma for obvious reasons.

Former South Florida head coach Jim Leavitt, however, was also in attendance and does not have a natural allegiance I was aware of.

Upon noticing him, casually dressed and chatting amicably with league personnel, I made a mental note to talk to him. Once Bradford began throwing, however, I lost track of Leavitt.

Until that is about an hour later when I saw him dressed in full Oklahoma regalia, jogging on campus. Oklahoma crimson t-shirt, shorts, the whole deal.

I only happened to see Leavitt running because I skipped out early from the press conference held by Bradford and Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops. Those media members who had been there only for Bradford's workout were long gone. Those that stayed for the press conference were inside Memorial Stadium listening to Bradford and Stoops.

If it has been announced that Leavitt has signed with Oklahoma in some capacity, I don't know of it. A simple internet search turned up nothing of a connection between Leavitt and the Sooners except for conjecture that Leavitt might be a coach of interest for the Sooners considering that he coached with Stoops and defensive coordinator Brett Venables at Kansas State. Leavitt is not currently listed among the Sooners' 13 football coaches according to SoonerSports.com. I contacted a handful of NFL personnel on hand for yesterday's workout to confirm that they, too, had seen Leavitt there. They had, but knew nothing of his connection with the Sooners.

Leavitt is currently in a legal battle with USF regarding his pay and whether his termination was "with" or "without" cause. Leavitt is suing USF and the USF Foundation for exoneration of inappropriate contact with a former player and the remainder of his 7 million dollar contract. Leavitt was accused of grabbing former walk-on Joel Miller by the throat and slapping him in the face. The school investigated and decided to fire Leavitt in January.

Posted on: November 28, 2009 2:11 pm

Sooners recipients of three early blown calls

The Oklahoma-Oklahoma State rivalry is known throughout collegiate sports as the Bedlam series. For three critical plays in the first half of this 103rd meeting between the Sooners and Cowboys' football teams, the moniker certainly applied.

Oklahoma State had the early momentum in this contest and seemed ready to capitalize on it with forced fumbles on back to back plays in the first quarter. On each play, Sooner receivers caught the pass, took two steps and had the ball forcibly removed from their hands. Both plays would have given the Cowboys the ball in Sooner territory. The Sooners, however, retained possession after both plays. Then, only moments into the second quarter, Sooner running back DeMarco Murray appeared to soar out of bounds as he leapt towards the endzone.

The first play, which came on second down, was initially ruled a fumble by wide receiver Dejuan Miller, with the Cowboys recovering the ball. The play was shockingly reversed by the booth. Soon after, a pass from Landry Jones to Ryan Broyles was called incomplete immediately, though replay proved that Broyles caught the pass and had the ball forced out. With the whistle having been blown immediately, the Cowboy contigent running down the field was stopped.

Allowed an opportunity to punt, the Sooners took great advantage, as Trent Way booted a career-long 74 yarder, dropping the Cowboys back to their own 7-yard line.

On Murray's touchdown -- which gave the Sooners a 10-0 lead, the referee appeared ready to mark the ball at the one, but changed his mind and ruled the play a touchdown. Though the replay cleary showed Murray was at least a yard out of bounds as he crossed the endzone, the booth ruled the play should stand as called. 

Talk about your home-field advantage...

With a victory over the Sooners, Oklahoma State still has a chance for at an-large berth in a BCS game. The Sooners, on the other hand, at 6-5, are fighting to keep Bob Stoops' string of non-losing seasons intact.

Considering the great ramifications of this game, one would hope better officiating will ensue.

Posted on: September 8, 2009 6:14 pm
Edited on: September 8, 2009 9:31 pm

Gresham out for the season.

During Bob Stoops' weekly press conference, he notified the media that All-American tight end Jermaine Gresham underwent a scope to determine the severity of the knee injury he sustained during practice last week.

While the results of the scope hadn't been determined at the time of the press conference (leading Stoops to speculate as to when Gresham might be able to return), doctors made the determination that Gresham required extended surgery to stitch together the cartilage in his knee.

 The loss of Gresham for the season is a potentially catastrophic blow to the Sooners' offense. The All-American, who, when healthy rated as NFLDraftScout.com's 4th overall senior prospect for the 2010 NFL Draft, caught 66 passes for 950 yards and 14 touchdowns last season.

Because Gresham played as a true freshman in 2006, he could elect to take a medical redshirt this season. Assuming he returns to health, he could re-emerge as a potential top ten prospect.

Should Gresham elect to leave school after this season anyway, it is quite possible that he'd still be a Top 100 selection. Certainly Gresham would have to clear the extensive medical testing that would happen at the Combine, but considering his talent and the relative success rate of today's knee surgeries, he remains a prospect scouts will be keeping an eye on.

Posted on: September 3, 2009 6:50 pm

Gresham Injury Troubling

Consensus top senior tight end Jermaine Gresham won't be suiting up for the Sooners this weekend in their opener against BYU this weekend and head coach Bob Stoops seemed to leave open the possibility that he'll be out for much longer.

According to an AP report, Stoops said today that Gresham and team officials were considering treatment options “that could have a bearing on his return” but didn’t elaborate.

The injury, which insiders have described as a "tweaking of the knee" occurred during Tuesday's practice and kept the All-American out of team drills Wednesday, though he reportedly walked without a limp and was on hand for the drills (but out of uniform).

Until more is known, Gresham, NFLDraftScout.com's 4th overall ranked senior for 2010 draft, remains steadily within the elite prospects in the country. His stock is certainly up in the air with the injury concern, however, as Gresham relies on his eye-popping athleticism at 6-6, 258 pounds to generate separation from defenders.

OU is expecting big things from Gresham this year; perhaps considerably more so than the 66 catches for 950 yards and 14 touchdowns he posted last season. With veteran receivers Juaquin Iglesias and Manuel Johnson now trying to make their marks in the NFL, Gresham was expected to be Sam Bradford's primary target. 
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