ESPN commentator Kirk Herbstreit is a friend of OU coach Bob Stoops. Both are
Why has Stoops been successful at OU?
If you remember, it was somewhat of a volatile time after a number of coaches tried to replace Barry Switzer. I think the best thing he did was bring all the different eras together and made them all feel welcome and made it a family atmosphere. I think after that, when he had the backing and the resources from Joe Castiglione and the athletic department and such early success, that it was very easy to buy in to the message that he was trying to send. If you go back from 2000 and beyond, they have been as consistent as probably anybody in the country. The reason why is recruiting and the type of the guy he is and the type of coaching he’s always been about — very aggressive.
The team he has this year, most people have them, if not one or two in the country, right there, just like they are every year in preseason. It comes down to Oct. 11. If they beat Texas, they have a great shot to get into the Big 12 championship game and into the national championship. And with Bradford and company offensively and the defense they have, there is no reason that they shouldn’t be up there.
Mike Stoops’ Arizona team
I think the surprise team in the Pac 10 conference will be Arizona. As much as Mike Stoops has kind of felt the heat, I think year with Willie Tuitama coming back at quarterback and (wide receiver) Mike Thomas and this big tight end, I think could surprise some people. I think they have a chance to get off to a good start. The first four years they have really struggled in their first four games. I think they’re 5-11 overall in the first four. I think if they get off to a good start, Arizona could be a surprise team in the Pac 10.
The United States’ thrilling comeback for the gold medal in the 4 x 100 freestyle relay Sunday night likely will go down as one of the greatest Olympic moments ever. It certainly was for NBC broadcasters Dan Hicks and Rowdy Gaines who called the race. They discussed the dramatic race in a conference call Monday from Beijing.
HICKS ON CALLING THE RELAY: “Without a doubt, it’s the great Olympic moment I’ve ever experienced or called, head and shoulder above anything, and we have done some pretty good things. It’s just one of those rare moments that you get in this business to be a part of something like that, and the fact that it now has a chance to continue, one of the greatest Olympic stories ever in Michael Phelps, just makes it an even bigger moment.
“It was something out of a Hollywood script. It had everything. It had the guys that did the trash talking in the French, it had the 32-year-old swimmer in Jason Lezak who has not had successful Olympic swims in the past trying to catch the world record holder in the 100m, and doing it when it looked like he had no chance at all. It was a crazy, crazy moment. I know Rowdy, in his eyes, agrees with me that it was simply the greatest Olympic relay race he has ever seen.”
HICKS ON CALLING THE RACE: “That race is why we get into the business of sports broadcasting. It was just absolute excitement, shock, and the utmost of wattage. It was just so unexpected. It was so clear that (Alain) Bernard was going to win this race and in those last meters, it was like a switch was flipped and all of a sudden Lezak pulled it out. I think it has been clear throughout the Games that we are certainly not rooting for the Americans. The excitement that we had was just simply about an unbelievable piece of drama in the pool.”
HICKS COMPARING PHELPS TO TIGER WOODS: “He is right there with Tiger Woods. I called Michael Phelps ‘Tiger Woods in a Speedo’ the other night. There are just so many uncanny ways that Phelps reminds me of Tiger, it’s just scary. They just remind me of each other so much. If Tiger is over a putt and he has to make it, I watched him at the U.S. Open and he made it. When Phelps needs to have some sort of magical touch to win a gold medal and get it done, he does the same thing. It is really kind of eerie, how much those two guys remind me of each other.”
GAINES ON THE RACE: “It was certainly the greatest Olympic relay race I have ever seen. I have been trying to think about another race that I got more excited about and I can’t think of one.”