NORMAN — Bob Stoops had to make plenty of difficult decisions and guide the program through turbulent waters during his tenure as OU’s football coach.
So Stoops knows the situation Brent Venables is in as he navigates the most challenging time since being hired in December to replace Lincoln Riley.
In an interview with KREF 1400 AM on Tuesday afternoon, Stoops talked at length about the Venables’ difficult position in the wake of Cale Gundy’s use of racially charged language he read off a player’s iPad in a position meeting.
“I’ve been in this position,” Stoops said. “No. 1, those players, they’re the only ones that were in that building and those players in the room, they know what the context was and how it was said and how many times it was said. Everyone else out there with an opinion doesn’t know that. They know that in the building. And that matters.”
Gundy resigned Sunday night after 23 seasons as an OU assistant.
When Stoops came to Norman in 1999, he brought aboard both Venables and Gundy.
Last December, when Stoops served as the interim coach for the Alamo Bowl, he picked Gundy to call plays.
“It’s hard to talk about, really,” Stoops said of his emotions since Gundy’s actions — the the fallout from them — became evident. “I’m just really torn apart. It hurts. It’s tough. Our whole close-knit football family. It’s just an unfortunate and terrible situation, but you have to try to move forward.”
Stoops laid out how he felt that was best accomplished.
“The very best way for everybody — all these parties and everybody involved — to move forward and even the fan base to move forward, is to have a degree of understanding for everybody and all parties and let it go,” Stoops said. “Move forward because it isn’t going to change. It is what it is. It’s unfortunate. It’s sad. It kills me. But again, there is no good position on this. You just have to move forward.”
Stoops said though he was torn up for Gundy, he was confident in Venables to make the right decision.
“He may be a first-year coach, but that guy has been around for over 25 years and with three Hall of Fame coaches between (Bill) Snyder, myself and Dabo Swinney,” Stoops said. “He knows what kind of program he wants and the culture he wants and you got to trust him with that.
“On the player’s behalf, he sure as hell isn’t the first player and I guarantee you … he won’t be the last player not paying attention in a meeting room. It’s our job as coaches and as professionals, in a positive way, to help those players improve in that room.”
This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: Bob Stoops comments on Cale Gundy leaving Oklahoma football staff