Thursday, December 1, 2011

STOOPS VISITED WITH URBAN MEYER, MAY HAVE BEEN OFFERED DC JOB

Mike Stoops
COLUMBUS — Former Arizona head coach Mike Stoops confirmed Thursday that he has visited with newly hired Ohio State head football coach Urban Meyer about the defensive coordinator position, according to The Oklahoman.

Stoops, 49, told the Oklahoma news outlet that he did make a trip to Columbus this week to meet with Meyer but wouldn't confirm whether he was offered the DC role by the Buckeyes' boss.

"I don't comment on that stuff," Stoops said. "But I can confirm that I have visited with Coach Meyer."

However, those with inside knowledge of the program believe Stoops has, in fact, been offered the DC job.

Meyer stated during his introductory press conference on Monday that he was planning on building the "best coaching staff in the country." Stoops would certainly fit that bill as a defensive coordinator.

Stoops, who headed up the defense for five years (1999-2003) at the University of Oklahoma under his brother Bob, helped guide the Sooners to two Big 12 titles and a national championship in 2000. In 18 seasons as an defensive assistant — at Iowa (1986-91), Kansas State (1992-98) and Oklahoma — Stoops' teams have compiled a 158-48-4 overall record.

The native of Youngstown, had been the head coach at Arizona since 2004 but was fired midway through this season after beginning the year 1-5. He finished with a 41-50 overall record in Tucson.

Stoops admits though that his passion and talents reside on the defensive side of the football and said he's ready to get back into that role with a winning program.

"Coaching defense has always been my passion," Stoops said. "You get very close to the defense. If the right opportunity presents itself, and it's a good arrangement, I would certainly be excited about it."

Meyer has retained interim head coach Luke Fickell, but it is unknown what role he will have with the new staff. It's being speculated that Fickell may be a co-defensive coordinator/linebackers coach — the role he possessed under former head coach Jim Tressel.

Meyer stated Monday that he and Fickell hadn't spoken about a specific role but did say that it would be a "significant" one. That could mean he will be tagged as the assistant head coach, as well.

Either way, Stoops seems to be a perfect piece to the puzzle Meyer is trying to construct.

"I've just been relaxing, taking it easy, trying to figure out what's going to be the best situation moving forward," Stoops said. "The most important thing to me is getting in a stable place where you have an opportunity to win."

That "opportunity" is looking like it's going to be in Columbus.