OU football: Mike Stoops makes first public comments since dismissal
Mike Stoops was largely contrite Wednesday afternoon in his first public comments since being dismissed as Oklahoma's defensive coordinator.
For 20 minutes, Stoops openly answered questions in an interview with former OU defensive lineman Dusty Dvoracek on WWLS-FM 98.1/The Sports Animal.
Stoops admitted that Saturday was the final straw that ended his tenure. Oklahoma's defense allowed 48 points to Texas in a Red River Rivalry loss. He was officially fired Monday morning.
“Disappointment in myself is probably the No. 1 thing,” Stoops said when asked about the decision. “That I couldn't get our program back to that level consistently is what probably hurts the most.”
Stoops spent the second half of the interview clearing up rumors. He said there was neither a letter of resignation nor pressure on OU coach Lincoln Riley from university president Jim Gallogly to make a change.
“Yeah, can you see me on a computer after the game typing out a letter of resignation?” Stoops sarcastically asked Dvoracek. “That sounds just like me, doesn't it Dusty? That's absurd as well. Again, I don't know where people get their news."
Stoops twice referenced “fake news,” a phrase made famous by president Donald Trump, when asked about a rumored fight between he and senior linebacker Curtis Bolton at halftime last Saturday.
Bolton was seen leaving Cotton Bowl Stadium at halftime, according to a Fox 25 photographer, before teammates had to bring him back.
Stoops said he wasn't aware of the situation until after the game. And as for a fight between him and the linebacker?
"That's ludicrous,” Stoops said. “No. 1, whoever would report such an erroneous situation and defame me and him is beyond ridiculousness. That hurts as well.
“It's unfortunate, but that's another example of social media, or people in the media who want to sensationalize all these things. I for one know how president Trump feels about fake news.”
The drama was just getting started.
Stoops called into Jim Traber's show on The Sports Animal later in the afternoon. The coach defended his previous answer, doubling down against Traber's report that an altercation did indeed occur.
“I'm not going to fight with you, Mike,” Traber said repeatedly.
The two eventually ended the confrontation and made peace.
Beyond the result Saturday and what has since been said, Oklahoma ranks 96th in total defense through six games after ranking 67th last season.
Stoops, while taking blame, acknowledged a generational divide in players between his first and second stint with the Sooners. His OU defenses were dominant at times from 1999-03.
Things changed, especially in the pass-happy Big 12, when he returned as OU's defensive coordinator in 2012.
“Social media has changed the game in a lot of ways,” Stoops told Dvoracek. “I think kids are much different now than they were when you were playing and we were together that first time around.
“I just couldn't get our players to play consistently at that level and it's probably the thing that I'm the most disappointed in.”
Now that he has time off, Dvoracek suggested that Stoops refine his golf game and grow a beard like his brother Bob.
Mike laughed, trying to picture the scene.
“I could see myself doing a lot of different things,” he said. “I could see myself trying to be an understudy to somebody — a Nick Saban, a Kirby Smart, somebody of that magnitude and trying to rethink, relearn, reteach.
“I have to see where my gut takes me, whether media, any of that is something I'd enjoy doing. The first thing I've got to do is recharge myself, reboot and think this all through.”