Cotton notes: Stoops happy to be back in Oklahoma

Associated Press  |  Last updated January 04, 2013
When Mike Stoops got fired as Arizona's head coach last season, he had several opportunities for his next employment. The one that made the most sense was returning to Oklahoma as part of brother Bob's staff again. ''It's a great program, it's working with your brother, it's familiarity, and you get to coach some awfully talented players,'' Mike Stoops said. ''There were a lot of other enticing opportunities. When everything started adding up, I felt Oklahoma was the best opportunity for me.'' Stoops is Oklahoma's associate head coach and defensive coordinator, and also coaches defensive backs. The 12th-ranked Sooners earned a share of their eighth Big 12 title this season, going 10-2 in the regular season. They played No. 10 Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl on Friday night. Stoops led Arizona to three consecutive bowl games, and his 2010 team reached No. 9 in the polls. The Wildcats had lost 10 of 11 games when he was fired midway through the 2011 season, finishing 41-50 in his seven-plus seasons. Before that, Stoops was co-defensive coordinator for the Sooners from 1999-2004, and helped the Sooners win the 2000 national championship. ''It's been fun being at Oklahoma. I think being with Bob is certainly, it's been a unique experience again,'' he said. ''After eight years, it's a little different getting back into it. ... Nothing has really changed, but everything has changed.'' There is one really big difference after being a head coach, and now being an assistant again. ''I like giving orders better than I like taking them,'' he said, smiling. --- ONE MORE YEAR?: Texas A&M leading tackler Damontre Moore played his final college game Friday night in the Cotton Bowl. The defensive end announced earlier this week that he was bypassing his senior year for early entry in the NFL draft. Many projections have Moore being among the top NFL draft picks. That could also be the case for Aggies junior offensive tackles Luke Joeckel and Jake Matthews, though neither beforehand if they expected to the Cotton Bowl to be their last game at Texas A&M. ''I love the school, I love A&M. It was the best decision of my life just coming here,'' Joeckel said. ''It's going to be hard to leave all the people, no matter what happens, it's going to be hard.'' There are a few Oklahoma juniors that could have played their finales. Safety Tony Jefferson, the Sooners' leading tackler, wouldn't talk this week about the grade he received from the NFL Draft advisory board. Other Oklahoma underclassmen who could consider bypassing their senior seasons are cornerback Aaron Colvin, fullback Trey Millard and receiver Kenny Stills. --- EXTRA POINTS: Texas A&M and Oklahoma were both 6-0 away from home during the regular season. ... The date for next year's Cotton Bowl hasn't been announced yet. This was the third consecutive season when the Cotton Bowl was played in prime time on a Friday night in the days before the BCS national title game. In that slot next January, the Orange Bowl is already set. ... The National Anthem was performed by the Gatlin Brothers, who also had that honor at the Cotton Bowl in 1979 and 1991. ... Former Oklahoma coach Barry Switzer and former Texas A&M coach Jackie Sherrill both attended the game.
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