NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. - It was big news in Austin when word leaked that Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops and several assistants visited an Alabama practice Dec. 23. Was the archrival of Texas huddling with the Longhorns' BCS title game opponent to design a blueprint to beat Texas?
Stoops and company probably did pass along some tips, but Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart said the Oklahoma contingent's timing limited any exchange of ideas. "He came to our practice, but we never even saw him until we got on the field," Smart said Sunday. "Then we got to break for Christmas after that, so I certainly wasn't meeting with Bob Stoops at our place. I was going for Christmas."
Someone asked Smart how he would feel if Urban Meyer or Les Miles had trekked to Austin to offer advice on beating the Crimson Tide. Smart said he wouldn't have been offended in the least. "What would have been my reaction if they had been there? I would have felt they were trying to develop professionally and there was a chance to go out there and talk with them, share ideas about us," Smart said. "I don't think I would have had any reaction, to be honest. I don't think that matters. They have the tape of LSU and Florida. We played both of them. They can watch and see what they did. The ability to share ideas, to me, that's a part of coaching."
Besides, Smart said, Texas coaches hosted the staff of another SEC school in Austin in 2009. Which school? Alabama. "We visited Texas in the offseason," Smart said. "We also visited with Oklahoma. I don't read much into that, because at the end of the day, we've got to do what we do. We can't go copycat somebody."
Smart said if had stuck around to meet with Sooners coaches, he isn't sure how much help they would have been in designing a plan to beat Texas. "I didn't think much about it, to be honest," Smart said. "I'm sure Texas thinks they came over there and drew on the boards and told us all this stuff. But Texas, they've beaten them, what, two or three years in a row? I don't even know what it is. Four out of five? [He's correct here.] Maybe we're talking with the wrong guys, if we're talking to them."