Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The art of consistency

A column in the Norman, Okla., paper the other day attributes Bob Stoops' success at the University of Oklahoma to one thing: Consistency.

Since Stoops arrived at OU in 1999, the Sooners are 97-22.

Here's an excerpt from the column by John Shinn:

For all the championships, victories and historic games, consistency is the best way to describe what’s happened at Oklahoma since a defensive coordinator from Florida become the program’s 21st head coach.

Facilities have grown larger and more lush. The stadium is more vast. But inside the Switzer Center, where the wheels of the Sooner program spin, little has changed since Stoops first arrived.

“Every season is different, but it all kind of feels the same,” said defensive coordinator Brent Venables, who is one of four remaining coaches from Stoops’ original OU staff.

“We’ve always had that methodical approach. You recognize that even with the past success you have, you have to start over every year. Things can go really good or really bad. You have to keep your nose down and keep pounding away.”

“When you have success, you keep the same philosophy,” [assistant coach Jackie] Shipp said. “He’s always had a good plan. He set his goal and he had his plan to achieve those goals and he stuck by it.”

There isn’t any coach who wants to run a place where chaos reigns. But in many cases, it happens. It was going on at OU prior to Stoops arrival. The Sooners went 54-46-3 in nine season prior. Three head coaches and a plethora of philosophies blasted any notion of consistency.

It wasn’t the spread offense OU employed in the early years of Stoops’ reign or a more complicated defense that set the success in motion. It was a plan that was going to be followed without exception.

Shipp played at OU and for the Miami Dolphins. During that time he spent four seasons under Barry Switzer and five under the NFL’s winningest coach: Don Shula. Stoops shares a trait with both.

“Those are two of the greatest coaches at both levels,” Shipp said. “They both had a plan and philosophy they stick to in the bad times and the good times. Good things tend to happen when you do that. It’s been the same way here.”