[dropcap]O[/dropcap]klahoma’s Bob Stoops is hoping an off-season staff shakeup will breathe new life into an Oklahoma program that’s been “good” the past few seasons.
Good might cut it some places, but not at Oklahoma and not for Stoops.
Out were the Sooners’ two offensive line coaches – Bruce Kittle and James Patton – as well as longtime Sooner assistant Jackie Shipp.
Bill Bedenbaugh, one 247sports.com’s Top 50 recruiters in 2013, was brought in from West Virginia to coach the offensive line. Bedenbaugh is already making waves on the recruiting trail and says the OU brand has only enhanced his pitch.
Filling the other two spots was defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery, a rising star in coaching circles – and another 247sports Top 50 recruiter – who left Michigan, and tight ends and special teams coach Jay Boulware.
Boulware spent the past four seasons at Auburn, but was fired with the rest of Gene Chizik’s staff in December. An Oklahoma native who still has family in the area, Boulware was hired by Gary Andersen at Wisconsin in January, but left earlier this month when he got the opportunity to return to his home state.
Like Bedenbaugh, OU’s two most recent hires have brought new energy to the staff.
“We’re bouncing ideas around. We’ve got a fresh approach to things in our staff room now,” Boulware told the Tulsa World.
Montgomery also brings a positive, energetic approach.
“I’m a teacher first. I’m a high-energy guy, but I’m not into dog-cussing kids,” he said. “If you do something right, I’m gonna ‘rah-rah.’ If you do something wrong, I’m gonna teach you how to do it better. That’s my style. That’s who I am.”
That new energy will be especially important in recruiting, where Stoops is looking for improvement. Montgomery knows the key to that is building relationships.
“I don’t care where you are. If you’re at Texas or Florida or Michigan or wherever, if you have good relationships and people know that you’re going to take care of their kids when they get on campus, you’re going to have people willing to help you out with kids,” he said.
He thinks that’s why “a good 15 to 20″ of his recruits contacted him when news broke he was leaving Michigan.
With four years of SEC recruiting wars under his belt, Boulware is eager to help the Sooners catch up.
“Recruiting is definitely a little different deal. It’s a lot faster, I think, in the SEC,” he said. “There are some teams in this league that are trying to emulate that.”
No doubt Oklahoma is one of them.