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Hiring Time

Sooners hire new offensive coordinator

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King's Corner

Sugar Bowl Review

Editorial

OU to meet Alabama in Sugar Bowl

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Josh Heupel Q&A

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Spring Football Review

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To The Point

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Patience Rewarded

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Taylor-made for Oklahoma

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Attention Getter

A Change of Plans

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Proud Heritage

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Cornerstone

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Javon Harris Q&A

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Locked In & Loaded

Ben Habern Q&A

Landry Jones Q&A

The Classics

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Oklahoma Influences

Tight End Tough

Marquis On The Mark

Sooner Stars Set To Return

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Jamell Fleming Q&A

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Stacy McGee Q&A

Red River Tradition

Red River Tradition

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Quarterback Race

Quarterback Race

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Getting His Kicks

Making The Right Moves In Recruiting

Bradford looks sharp in workout

No Doubt About It

Boomer Bio: Willie Martinez

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Boomer Bio: Ronnell Lewis

Norman Bound

Showdown In The Sun

Jay Norvell Q&A

Jay Norvell Q&A

Boomer Bio: Dejuan Miller

Adrian Taylor doing just fine

Joseph Ibiloye Q&A

The Real Deal

Road Warrior

Meet Dusty Dvoracek This Saturday!

Casey Walker Q&A

Best of The Red River Rivalry

Bradford To Start Against Baylor

Facebook & Football

Tackling Machine

Keith Jackson Appearing this Friday in Norman

Josh Heupel Q&A

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Top Targets

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Tisdale and Griffin

Wayman Tisdale Dies

Sam Bradford Q&A

Auston English Q&A

Blake Griffin earns Naismith Award

Ryan Reynolds Q&A

The Wait Is Over

Outlook for 2009

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Bradford, Gresham, Williams Coming Back

Make Room For Sam

Lendy Holmes Q&A

Bradford Wins Heisman

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Sooners Headed To KC For Big 12 Title Game

Sudden Impact

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Gerald McCoy Q&A

Offensive linemen Roundtable

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Boomer Bio: Mossis Madu

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Manny Being Manny

The Big Easy

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English Lesson

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A Cut Above

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On The Rise

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Bookends

Bradford Named Starting QB

Venables Verbatim

Sooner Spectator & Rivals.com Teaming Up

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Wilson’s Defensive Wisdom

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Malcolm Over The Middle

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Thompson & Alexander To Sign Autographs

WE'RE BACK!!!!

GET READY FOR THE RETURN OF SOONER SPECTATOR!

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Thirty Reasons Why OU will beat Texas

Double Duty

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Welcome Back

Quick Five With Nic Harris

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Recruiting: Crimson Bloodline

Wilson Weighs In

Replacing Runnels?

Defensive Outlook

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Rufus Revelations

Reaction to Capel Hiring

A.D. Unscripted

OU will miss Sampson

OU Scrimmage Report

Joey Halzle Q&A

Gray, OU prep for The Dance

Moore is Better

Sooners eye stretch run

Haskell remains a lost treasure

Boomer Bio: Patty Gasso

Sherri Coale Conversation

Taylor Made

Future Considerations

McCoy becomes a Sooner

Michael Neal Q&A

Recruiting: Dominique Franks Q&A

Strong Willed

Football Recruiting Notes

Remembering Billy Ball

Enough Gloom & Doom

Back In Business

Endowed Scholarships Announced

USC or Texas: The Lesser of Two Evils?

Stoops is not leaving OU

Sooners down Ducks in Holiday Bowl

Biding His Time

Kelvin Sampson Q&A

Next Stop Division I

Boomer Bio: Allen Patrick

Chris Messner Q&A

Bob Stoops' take on Bedlam Victory

Terrance Anderson's Journey

OU vs. Tech: The Answers

OU vs. Tech Matchups

Road Warrior

Stoops talks about OU's 36-30 win

OU vs. A&M matchups

OU Coaches’ Roundtable

Recruiting: Derek Burton

Boomer Bio: Juaquin Iglesias

Carl Pendleton Q&A

Sooners topple Huskers in Lincoln

OU-Nebraska Matchups

Recruiting: Ugo Chinasa

Sooners top Baylor

OU vs. Baylor Matchups

Recruiting: Offensive Line

Recruiting: Adron Tennell

Sooners top Jayhawks

OU vs. Kansas Matchups

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A Pleasant Conversation

Texas tops Oklahoma

Red River Rivarly Matchups

Dusty Dvoracek: In The Trenches

Sooners Roll Past K-State

OU vs. K-State Matchups

Recruiting: Replenishing The Backfield

Boomer Bio

Sooners give one away

Recruiting Demarco Murray

C.J. Ah You Q&A

The Answers: OU vs. Tulsa

Not Pretty, But Sooners Win

Spectator Sneak Preview

Bob Stoops' take on TCU loss

Texas Christian Sacks Sooners

Moses leads Sooner tight ends

Rufus Alexander Q&A

Thompson gets nod at QB

Birdine Lost For Season

Sampson to Visit Kuwait for Hoops with Troops

Walk-on making noise at WR

Travis Wilson Q&A

Clint Ingram Q&A

Sooners open fall practice

Brent Venables Q&A

Sooner single-game tickets go on sale Monday

Questions about Sooners' aura not surprising

Joseph talks about summer workouts

OU at Big 12 Media Days

Kim Named to U.S. Walker Cup Team

Sooners name Golloway

Stephenson decides to stay at Wichita State

Stephenson takes OU head baseball job

Soon to be Sooners

New Sooner Nic Harris excited about new digs

2005 Season Preview Issue Available Now!!

Letter from the Editor

Q and A

Ever Elusive

Sooner Selections

Ole Miss powers past Sooners

OU's Weekly Sports Report

OU inks JUCO point guard

OU's Kim wins Big 12 Golf Title

White and Vermeil talk about first day of rookie camp

White gets a chance with Kansas City

Red Rallies to Down White

Big crowd expected

Prelude To Greatness?

Breaking Down The Offense

Spring football eases pain




On Sale At Newsstands Now!
Making The Right Moves In Recruiting
It Requires Skill, Luck And A Little Bit Extra

Remember when Jerry Maguire told Rod Tidwell that working for him was an “up-at-dawn pride-swallowing siege?” Trying to encapsulate the sports agent selling out for his client, Cameron Crowe instead defined college football recruiting.

Lane Kiffin just offered a scholarship to a 13-year-old. That would be a cute gimmick if Kiffin were coaching at Southern Colorado. But Southern bleeping Cal? It’s like Saturday Night Live satire come to life.

How do you make sense of the nonsensical? Are there any rules to live by out there? Hardly. Pop back into the theater and pretend like Bob Stoops is Mad Max and Mack Brown is The Toecutter. It’s not far off.

I know that much after 10 years of covering the Sooners. What else have I learned about the wicked game of recruiting? Let’s see…

You know what they say about recruiting being the lifeblood for a football program? It’s the truth. For all of the silliness, it’s really, really important.

One of the first things Stoops did when he took the Oklahoma job was hire Bobby Jack Wright, and one of the first things the two of them did in their makeshift office was get out a dry erase board and start reviewing available recruits in Texas.

The OU coach who doesn’t recruit Texas doesn’t keep his job. Stoops didn’t know his way around the Lone Star State too well, but Wright did. He’d coached down there for 25 years and had more statewide contacts than the Bush family.

That opened a few doors. Then some more swung open, and before long the Sooners were crashing in and signing Texans like Tommie Harris and Adrian Peterson.

Coaching matters, yes. If it didn’t, OU’s 2000 national champs would have finished 7-4.
But first you need players to coach. And the better the players, the better they make you look as a coach.

OK, the coaching part is a big
deal.

Malcolm Kelly once said of all the Lone Star natives on his OU team: “We used to talk about that when we first got here, how we all grew up just knowing we were going to Texas. Every last one of us. I don’t know, man. I guess it was us growing up and looking at what team was the best fit for us.”

Translation: They trusted Stoops more than Brown.

Once upon a time, Tuttle High School quarterback Jason White seemed ready to entrust his future with Butch Davis. Why not? Davis’ Miami Hurricanes were surging. The coach down the road in Norman, John Blake, had OU languishing.

Then Stoops replaced Blake. White signed with the Sooners. And the rest is, well, you know…

It helps to have luck.

In the spring of 2005, Michigan quarterbacks coach Scot Loeffler paid a visit to Putnam City North High School to watch Sam Bradford work out. Before leaving, Loeffler told Putnam North coach Bob Wilson he was “99 percent sure” the Wolverines would offer Bradford a scholarship. All he needed was the green light from head coach Lloyd Carr.

You assume Carr would have given it. Only, he couldn’t be reached. He was attending the birth of a grandchild. Meantime, Stoops gave his quarterbacks coach, Chuck Long, the green light to offer Bradford.

Game over. Bradford signed with the Sooners and led them to unprecedented offensive heights in 2007 and ’08. The Wolverines went 12-13 those two seasons.

It helps to have a way with people.

Jackie Shipp won over the mother of JaMarkus McFarland after she had initially resisted OU. That led to winning over McFarland, the five-star defensive tackle from Lufkin, Texas.

Cale Gundy earned Peterson’s respect by telling the Palestine, Texas, phenom the Sooners would win with our without his help.

Mike Leach clicked with Josh Heupel by clicking on the VCR and spending Heupel’s entire recruiting visit devouring game tape.

Then there’s Brent Venables, whose effect on recruits was best summed up by David White, the OU assistant who once coached five-star linebacker Ryan Reynolds at Las Vegas Bishop Gorman High School.

“Every time coaches came through, Ryan was very respectful,” White said. “But he just lit up with Coach Venables. You could just tell.”

You’d better have a mischievous streak.

The Sooners all but erased the tight end from their playbook in 2005 — until, that is, Ardmore thoroughbred Jermaine Gresham visited Owen Field for the regular-season finale against Oklahoma State.

That day, Bubba Moses was OU’s leading receiver for the first and last time.

Gresham noticed. He signed with the Sooners two months later.

You’d better have friends in high places.

When national prep defensive player of the year Gerald McCoy needed help picking a school, he went above Stoops, Shipp, Venables and any other mortal for guidance.

“Really, I just asked Him where he wanted me to be,” McCoy told USA Today. “He led me to OU.”
Maybe now God can help Kiffin.

(Editor's Note: This story appears in the 2010 Recruiting Issue of Sooner Spectator... to subscribe, call toll free 1-877-841-8877)