Chasing A Legacy

Oklahoma a contender with or without Stoops

by Tom Tabler @TCTabler

The 2017 football season is going to look very different this season. Perhaps the biggest change will be Bob Stoops not walking the sidelines in Norman. The Sooners will have Lincoln Riley and plenty of weapons returning on both sides of the ball. Bob Stoops’ legacy is going to be a tough one to live up to and the question is whether the Sooners will be as effective as they were with Stoops walking the sideline.

To see the task that is facing the new Sooners head man, you have to look at Bob Stoops’ record at Oklahoma. Stoops had an impressive record at Oklahoma winning 190 games and losing only 48 during his 19-year career. Stoops’ bowl record was 9-9, but you must look at the bowl games he took his teams to. Oklahoma fans will point to the Orange bowl, Sugar bowl, and Rose bowl appearances as a testament to his legacy. To top off the list of accomplishments for Stoops, was his winning of a National Championship.

Oklahoma is coming off an 11-2 season and a Sugar bowl victory over the Auburn Tigers. New head coach Lincoln Riley will have Heisman candidate Baker Mayfield returning to quarterback the Sooners, and he will have plenty of weapons returning to distribute the ball to including tight end Mark Andrews and wide receiver Jeffery Mead. The Sooners will have nine starters returning on the offensive side of the ball and even without Stoops walking the sidelines, this is a group that should be able to contend for a Big 12 title.

The Sooners will have seven starters returning on the defensive side of the ball. Oklahoma’s secondary is going to have to improve in order to contend in the Big 12. With Oklahoma State, Kansas State, and Texas looking to contend for a Big 12 title, reducing the points given up and the yardage per game will be big for the Sooners. Oklahoma fans should keep an eye on Steven Parker heading into the 2017 season. Parker has experience and plays the safety position well for the Sooners.

The Oklahoma Sooners are facing new challenges this season but appear to have plenty of experience coming back on both sides of the ball. It is never a good time to have to replace a head coach but the transition seems to have been a smooth one in Norman. The Sooners’ offense should not see much, if any drop off, and the defense should be back to the way Oklahoma fans are used to seeing. Only time will tell if the Sooners can contend in the Big 12 without Bob Stoops, but it looks like they are off to a great start.

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