FRIDAY FACE-OFF: Dismissal of coaches is a boon for the future
It’s about time.
With the recent departures of assistant coaches James Patton, Jackie Shipp and Bruce Kittle, it appears coach Bob Stoops is tired of subpar coaching and has decided to hold his assistants accountable for poor results on the field.
And after OU’s pitiful performances in the trenches against Kansas State and Notre Dame and defensive meltdowns against West Virginia, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M, it’s a wonder it’s taken this long for the axe to fall.
While Stoops’ careful language in his press releases tried to hide any hint of displeasure with his coaches’ job performance — the statements did not use the words “fired,” “terminated” or “let go” and were very complimentary — it seems obvious the newly departed coaches didn’t leave on their own accord.
Similar to last season when former defensive coordinator Brent Venables chose to take that same position at Clemson rather than accept a demotion, these coaching changes come in the wake of a disappointing end to the season.
The positions Patton, Shipp and Kittle were responsible for coaching — interior offensive line, defensive line and offensive tackles and tight ends — were underwhelming in 2012 to say the least.
But is coaching the problem? It has to be.
I’m of the belief that elite programs have roughly the same level of talent. While teams like Alabama and LSU might have a little more talent than, say, Ohio State or Stanford, there’s more parity among top teams than disparity.
So if you’re willing to accept that notion, then it’s the coaches that have to be held accountable over the players. After all, they’re the constant in this equation.
Now whether or not letting these coaches go proves to be a good decision depends on whom Stoops hires as replacements.
One of the rumored replacements, West Virginia offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh, seems to be a step in the right direction.
Bedenbaugh, who also is the recruiting coordinator for the Mountaineers, spent four season as the co-offensive coordinator/offensive line coach on defensive coordinator Mike Stoops’ staff at Arizona. Before that, he spent seven seasons under Mike Leach at Texas Tech.
Other rumored replacements are former Kansas coach and OU offensive coordinator Mark Mangino and former Arizona defensive line coaches Mike Tuiasosopo and Joe Salave’a. But mum is the word on Stoops’ end.
So if Stoops can fill the positions with coaches consistent with the ability of the rest of his staff, OU will fare well. And I don’t expect anything less.
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Dillon Phillips is a journalism junior and sports editor at The Daily. You can follow him on Twitter at @DillonPhillips_