A day after No. 11 Oklahoma fell 48-45 to No. 9 Texas in the Red River Showdown, Sooners head coach Lincoln Riley is reportedly making a change at defensive coordinator. Practically every outlet in the Sooner State is reporting Sunday night that Mike Stoops will not return as Oklahoma’s defensive coordinator; James Hale of The Football Brainiacs was the first with the news.
It is not immediately clear if Stoops resigned or was fired, and it’s also unclear who will take over as defensive coordinator moving forward. However, word has reached the Oklahoma locker room with no refuting reports from within the program, so it appears this is indeed happening and the details may still need some ironing out.
Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray was among the many past and current Sooners to tweet out supporting messages to Stoops.
Oklahoma allowed Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger to rack up 386 total yards and five touchdowns in leading the Longhorns to Saturday’s upset win, but such a move is about more than just one game. The Sooners are 79th nationally in scoring defense, 107th in pass defense, 125th in red zone defense and 110th in takeaways.
Even still, the foundation for Sunday’s move was laid on New Year’s Day, when Oklahoma racked up 531 yards and 48 points yet still managed to lose to Georgia in the Rose Bowl. After a similar result in OU’s first game of consequence since that game, it appears Riley or Stoops himself saw the writing on the wall and made a change before porous defense subsumed another championship-caliber offense.
Stoops was once among the hottest assistants in the country. In his first stint as Oklahoma’s defensive coordinator, from 1999-03, he helped older brother Bob Stoops lead a Sooners resurgence — two Big 12 championships, three AP Top 5 finishes and a national championship in 2000. That success earned him the Arizona head coaching job, where he lasted eight seasons before returning to Norman in 2012.
Oklahoma is off this week before returning to action Oct. 20 at TCU.