FRIDAY FACE-OFF: Three football coaches leave; Is this good for Sooners?
The Oklahoma football team has parted ways with three coaches this week.
The Sooners no longer employ Bruce Little, James Patton and Jackie Shipp, and their departure creates a nice mix-up within the coaching structure.
But is this a good or a bad thing for the Sooners?
Well, change can be good, and down the line it should be. But the recent coaching changes will not be a good thing for OU in the next couple of seasons.
Sooner Nation saw something similar to this a year ago, except the departures were not for as big of a position as the defensive coordinator.
I kept telling people after the Sooners re-hired Mike Stoops as defensive coordinator last year that his impact would not be felt immediately.
That prediction seemed to be right, as OU posted one of the more cringe-worthy defensive performances during the last month of the regular season and during the Cotton Bowl Classic.
Just because a team brings in a new coach does not mean the players will respond well.
The players still are in a transition trying to figure out Stoops’ non-simplified system, and the new coaches may have to learn with them — and that holds true for the new offensive coaches having to work with co-offensive coordinators Josh Heupel and Jay Norvell.
The players have a long way to go to improve from last year’s performances, and the new coaches are going to have to have a hand in that improvement, which could take more than spring and summer’s worth of practices.
Other than coaching individual positions, assistant/position coaches have to be able to recruit. So, will the new coaches be able to recruit the top-tier players in both Oklahoma and in the key football states around the country?
The Sooners will not have a problem finding quality coaches to fill these positions; this is Oklahoma football, a job a lot of coaches would want. But these coaches need to be able to have recruiting pipelines that both replace the three new departures and reach into some of the top football states both nearby and to the coasts.
Overall, these three coaches leaving is not a bad thing — changes needed to be made within the program, and you knew those changes weren’t going to come from the top — but just because OU will have new coaches and recruiters does not mean they will have an immediate positive impact.
Again, these are other recruiters’ players. And while the athletes should be able to play for any position coach, whomever the Sooners bring in probably won’t make too much of a difference in the win-loss columns.
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Jono Greco is a journalism graduate student and assistant sports editor. You can follow him on Twitter at @jonogreco13.