BREAKING: OU's Mike Stoops To Interview With Les Miles, LSU
Saturday, January 3rd 2015, 4:34 pm
By: Dean Blevins
I've learned OU Defensive Coordinator Mike Stoops is scheduled to interview for the same position at LSU with head coach Les Miles. Sources tell me it's expected Stoops will be offered the job when the two meet in Dallas tonight at 6 p.m. If offered, Stoops would take a couple of days to make the decision whether to leave brother Bob's staff, where he has served the last three seasons as associate head coach and defensive coordinator.
Miles is looking to replace John Chavis who left LSU for SEC-West foe Texas A&M, where coach Kevin Sumlin fired struggling DC Mark Snyder.
In Norman, multiple coaching changes are expected soon after a disappointing 8-5 season in which OU was a strong favorite to make the first College Football Playoff. But it is widely believed that head coach Bob Stoops has no intentions on firing or demoting brother Mike.
Mike Stoops returns most of his Sooner defense; one that underachieved and was over-hyped following OU's offensive explosion that stunned Alabama in last year's Sugar Bowl upset win.
Mike Stoops is credited with revamping the Sooner defensive scheme in 2013, resulting in immediate dividends that saw them lead the Big 12 in total defense for the first time since 2006. The 2013 pass defense led the league, but became a major problem in 2014 when the Sooners stumbled across the board.
Oklahoma is coming off a disappointing 8-5 season, capped by a 40-6 rout in the Russell Athletic Bowl by a Clemson offense playing without its injured starting quarterback.
Make no mistake, Mike Stoops has a stout defensive pedigree, dating back to assisting brother Bob Stoops at Kansas State and his first stint at Oklahoma (1999-2003) when the Sooners won the 2000 national title and dominated the Big 12. The fiery demeanor that made Stoops popular with fans when his defenses dominated has lost some of its shine during the lean times.
But no doubt, football people believe Mike Stoops can coach defense. Les Miles obviously agrees, meeting tonight with a coach with whom he had heated Bedlam battles when Miles was head coach at OSU and the two competed in 2001-2003.
Mike Stoops interviewed for the defensive coordinator opening with Urban Meyer when Meyer became Ohio State Head Coach before the 2012 season. Although hard to confirm, I was told Stoops was offered the Buckeye job, and that he expects to be offered the LSU job by Miles.
LSU had offered former DC John Chavis $1.3 million per year to stay. But Aggie coach Kevin Sumlin bumped Chavis to the range he wanted: the $1.7 mill range that Auburn gave new DC Will Mushchamp. Stoops would apparently make around $1-$1.1 million per, which would be an upgrade from this current he $856,400/year. But I'm told money would not be the driving force for Stoops to leave Oklahoma.
The well-respected Chavis left Tennessee after the 2008 season to replace LSU DC Bo Pelini in Baton Rouge. Pelini became head coach at Nebraska until his recent dismissal.
Coincidentally, Pelini is lifetime friends of Youngstown, OH natives Bob and Mike Stoops and replaced Stoops as OU's co-defensive coordinator for the 2004 national championship game season when Stoops left to become head coach at Arizona from 2004-2011.
LSU finished 8-5 losing to 10-point underdog Notre Dame in the Music City Bowl with a subpar defensive performance. But the Tigers are athletically superior with top recruiting classes every year. Consistent with how LSU's defense has played since Chavis arrived in 2009, the 2014 defense ranked first in the SEC and eighth nationally.
Some reports had Clancy Pendergast the favorite to replace Chavis. The 47-year-old Pendegrast was not retained as DC by USC head coach Steve Sarkisian when he was named coach after the 2013 season. Pendegrast has coordinated defenses for five NFL franchises and was Dallas' secondary coach in all three years Les Miles was with the Cowboys (1998-2000) as tight ends coach. Pendegrast also has OU ties, having assisted Gary Gibbs in his latter years of coordinating Barry Swtizer's defenses in the eighties. However, I'm led to believe Miles has targeted Mike Stoops and former Baylor Head Coach Kevin Steele.
So in a January 3 twist, as most Sooner fans await word on coaches who are expected to be asked to leave the staff, one coach with a familiar last name expects the opportunity to choose to leave. And for a big-time program with big-time talent.
Definitely a big-time meeting in “Big D” tonight.