Oklahoma Sooners: 2012 Big 12 Media Days

Bob Stoops admitted Monday that Oklahoma's defenses have not met his standards lately.

In 2011, the Sooners ranked 55th nationally in total defense. The season before that, they ranked 53rd.

Stoops is banking that brother Mike Stoops in his first season back with the Sooners will be able to restore the OU defense to the prominence it enjoyed in the early 2000s.

[+] EnlargeBob Stoops
Kevin Jairaj/US PRESSWIREBob Stoops is confident the return of his brother, Mike, will help his defense improve.
"I do believe in the last couple of years, for whatever reason, that our defense hasn't been quite as strong as what we've been used to in our first 10, 12 years," Bob Stoops said. "I'm excited to have Mike back for a number of reasons, not only personally, but professionally. Our track record working together and competing together has been pretty positive."

When the Stoops brothers were last together, they annually formed one of the top defenses in the country. From 2000-03, the Sooners ranked in the top 10 in scoring and total defense, and capped an epic performance in the Orange Bowl by shutting down Florida State's offense to capture the 2000 national championship.

But when Mike Stoops left for Arizona after the 2003 season, the Sooners' defense has been on a gradual decline, especially in the defensive backfield.

In five seasons with Mike Stoops coaching the secondary, OU had five defensive backs named All-America. Since, the Sooners have had just one.

After 1999, the Sooners never finished worse than 25th against the pass under Mike Stoops, and in '03, ranked second in pass defense.

In 2011, OU ranked a Stoops-era low 79th in pass defense, and surrendered a school-record 616 yards in a loss at Baylor, including 485 through the air.

"Hopefully we can make fewer mental mistakes in some areas and be a little sharper in what we're doing to play more consistently and better defense," Bob Stoops said.

"I trust Mike's judgment on a lot of issues. So I'm sure it will be a positive."

Read the rest of the Day 1 Big 12 Media Day notebook.

Wrapping up Day 1 of Big 12 media days

July, 23, 2012

From newfound stability to TCU finding a secure home to OU shoring up its defense, David Ubben & Co. wrap up Day 1 of Big 12 media days.
Every weekday morning, a member of the SoonerNation gives his take on three things happening in the Sooner sports world.

Today, Oklahoma will take the podium at Big 12 media days in Dallas, with Landry Jones, Ben Habern and Demontre Hurst representing the Sooners. Some quick takes on the three players pre-media days:

1. The big question with Landry Jones is, how has work in the offseason -- specifically his work with QB guru George Whitfield -- improved his game? Jones spent two weeks with Whitfield, who is sworn by other QBs like Cam Newton and Andrew Luck. Whitfield and Jones focused on Jones' footwork in the pocket, and playmaking outside the pocket -- two areas that hurt him last season.
DALLAS -- This morning marks the unofficial start of football season. Unofficial in the strictest sense of the word, of course. But now is not a time for debate.

You know it's a whole new world in the Big 12 when a man in a coonskin cap is milling around the lobby of media days. Haven't seen any Frogs yet. My guess is we will soon.

Preseason camps open across the Big 12 during the first week of August, but today, half of the Big 12's coaches will bring a caravan of 3-4 players to meet the league's media. The other half will follow on Tuesday.

I'll be here to cover it all. Keep it right here for coverage throughout the week. We'll have columns, videos, notes and plenty more as the league's teams come and go.

Want to know what to expect? Here's our comprehensive Big 12 Media Days preview.

Want to follow along with us? The Big 12's website will offer a live online stream and coverage. Here's where you can find it.

You can also see coverage on WatchESPN on your phone, iPad or computer.

Commissioner Bob Bowlsby will get the party started with a statement and a Q&A session from the podium at 10 a.m. ET.

It should be plenty of fun. The coaches will take the podium at 11 a.m. ET.

Here's the full schedule for Monday. Players who will meet with the print media later in the day are listed in parentheses, and all times are ET:
Keep it right here for coverage throughout the week. We'll have tons.

Podcast: Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby

July, 16, 2012
Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby on the future of the conference, the playoff system, and the difficulties of the job.


Top Position Battles Heading In To Spring
While a good portion of the country is buried in snow, spring football is underway. Adam Rittenberg looks at some of the top position battles heading in to spring practice.