Bob Stoops is back.
Well, kind of.
The legendary Oklahoma coach returned to the practice field on Tuesday to help out current head coach Lincoln Riley after a COVID-19 outbreak left the team shorthanded.
“It was awesome,” Riley said. “Our kids were excited to see him. All of us were excited to see him. I think he had some fun as well.”
Bob Stoops: ‘I didn’t hesitate to say yes’
Stoops spent 18 seasons at Oklahoma from 1999-2016, and compiled an impressive 190-48 overall record while leading the Sooners to a bowl game every single year. They reached the No. 1 ranking in five seasons under his watch, and made it to both the BCS national championship game and the College Football Playoff before he retired in 2017.
Since Stoops is still under contract with the university as a special assistant to the athletic director, he was able to jump in to practice with Riley out on Tuesday without issue.
No. 11 Oklahoma’s matchup with West Virginia last weekend was postponed due to the coronavirus, and the Sooners are still without some of their coaching staff this week.
“[He’s] been kind of in our hip pocket the whole time. If we had any staff member that fell off [with COVID-19], we’ve got a Hall of Famer sitting on the bench,” Riley said. “That’s a pretty good bench when you can call that guy up. More than that, just how much he cares about this program, and I don’t think there’s anything he wouldn’t do. It was great to have him out there today.”
While the 60-year-old jumped at the chance to get back out on the field, he isn’t trying to take over by any means. Neither he nor Riley committed to him helping for their game against Baylor on Saturday night, either.
— Oklahoma Football (@OU_Football) December 2, 2020
“When Lincoln asked me if I’d be willing to help in a coaching role while he was a little shorthanded I didn’t hesitate to say yes,” Stoops said in a statement. “Certainly I’m happy to do anything I can to assist the team for however long I’m asked to. But obviously with me being away from the day-to-day activities of the program for a while now, my input will be minimal.
“If I can add some enthusiasm or positive energy for these players — and I do know most of them — that’s a good thing. But let’s not get carried away. The people that will influence this game and the rest of our games this season will be Coach Riley, his staff and the players. I’m just going to do my best to help out however I can while keeping a low profile.”
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