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Monday, January 14, 2013
Decisions that defined OU in 2012: No. 5

By Jake Trotter

From QB Landry Jones to staying to defensive coordinator Mike Stoops arriving, the storylines were many for the 2012 Sooners. But sometimes, the small decisions turned out to be big ones that defined the season, too. With that in mind, here are the five decisions that probably made the biggest impact on Oklahoma's 2012 season.

Mike Stoops
Mike Stoops' Oklahoma defense will have several new starters in 2013.
SoonerNation was ecstatic when Bob Stoops brought back brother Mike to coordinate the OU defense again. After all, under Mike Stoops' direction, the Sooners were juggernauts defensively at the turn of the century, headlined by the 2000 national championship squad.

But after some promising steps early in the season, dominating defense did not return to Norman. Far from it, in fact. OU finished outside the top 50 in total defense for the third straight season, and gave up more than 40 points in three of its final four games.

In hiring Mike Stoops, the Sooners also lost longtime assistant Brent Venables, who took a job at Clemson instead of facing the perception that he would be demoted. Not only did Clemson finish higher by one spot than the Sooners in total defense, OU ultimately lost of one its most effective recruiters in Venables.

Mike Stoops could eventually turn the OU defense around. But if he's going to do it next season, he'll have to do it while replacing the bulk of the defense.