Mark Stoops does not regret playing Drew Barker at all.
“I’m very happy that we inserted him in the game in the situation that we did, under some pressure,” Stoops said during today’s press conference. “You have to get those quality reps.”
Inserted in the third drive of the game backed up deep in his own territory, Stoops defended Barker’s play, as he defended Stephen Johnson’s play many times last year.
“There’s not many quarterbacks that are very effective on third and long when you’re not getting great, great protection.”
Stoops cited penalties and mental miscues from a new running back (Stoops didn’t say A.J. Rose’s name but he made it pretty clear) that kept Barker from ever finding a rhythm.
“Benny’s banged up, we have a guy that hasn’t played college football yet. We have a run that couldn’t possibly be set up any better and we miss it. We bounce outside instead of hitting it up inside and there’s a huge gain. We get in third and long again, and the same back that’s going to be fine, who hasn’t played yet, gets completely blown up on a blitz and there’s no time to throw the ball.”
Stoops went a step further and dropped a “people forget that” to compare Barker and Johnson.
“You know what happened on the series after that? The same thing, third and ten. Guess what happens with Stephen? No protection, no throw. He gets sacked, bailed out by a facemask. Everybody forgets that.”
People will disagree with the head coach, but you have to admire a guy who will stick up for his players no matter what.