Bob Stoops is back on the field at Oklahoma football practices, and he's doing more than just observing. The legendary former Sooners coach filled in as an assistant for the team on Tuesday as the program deals with COVID-19 issues that have depleted its coaching staff ahead of Saturday's scheduled game against Baylor, coach Lincoln Riley revealed.
"Actually, we brought Coach Stoops out of retirement today," Riley said. "He was on the field and coached with us today. It was great to have him out there."
"It was great," Riley continued. "It's nice. It's been kind of in our hip pocket this whole team. If we had any staff member that fell off, we've got a Hall of Famer sitting on the bench. That's a pretty good bench when you can call that guy up. More than that, how much he cares about this program. I don't think there's anything he wouldn't do. It was great to have him out there today. It was awesome. Our kids were excited to see him, all of us were excited to see him. I think he had some fun as well."
Oklahoma had its game against West Virginia last week postponed due to issues with COVID-19, and is still missing some members of its coaching staff. Fortunately for Riley, Stoops still lives nearby and is closely connected with the program after retiring in 2017 after posting a 190-48 record in his 18-year run as coach. His son, Drake, is currently a wide receiver for the Sooners.
Stoops on Tuesday night downplayed his contribution level in a statement but said he's nevertheless happy to contribute to Oklahoma for however long the program needs him.
"When Lincoln asked me if I'd be wiling to help in a coaching role while he was a little short-handed I didn't hesitate to say yes. Certainly I'm happy to do anything I can to assist the team for however long I'm asked to," Stoops said in a statement. "But obviously with me being away from the day-to-day activities of the program for a while now, my input will be minimal. If I can add some enthusiasm or positive energy for these players -- and I do know most of them -- that's a good thing. But let's not get carried away. The people that will influence this game and the rest of our games this season will be Coach Riley, his staff and the players. I'm just going to do my best to help out however I can while keeping a low profile."