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Once testy with the press, Stoops seems to be lightening up



Now in his ninth year as head coach of the University of Oklahoma football team, Bob Stoops is not known to go off record with reporters or get chummy with the press.

"I would never say I enjoy it, but I wouldn't say it's a necessary evil," Stoops said of dealing with the media two years ago. "I would say it's a necessary part of the job."

But throughout this season, sports writers and broadcasters have noticed a change in Stoops. On the airwaves of sports talk radio and in newsrooms there has been mention of a kinder, gentler Stoops: one who is opening up a little more to the press.

"Absolutely," said WWLS sports talk show host Al Eschbach. "Everybody has noticed it."

Some reporters who have covered Stoops since his arrival in Norman in 1999 say 2007 has been the best year in terms of the relationship between the coach and the press.

"He's enjoying it more," Eschbach said. "That's the key. There's not that friction in his mind."

Other reporters believe relations were best during Stoops' first year as head coach.

"I think he's about like how he was in years past," said Berry Tramel, sports columnist at The Oklahoman. "He's not as good as he was the first year or two he was here, but there (are) hardly any coaches like that. The demands on his time are a lot more now than they ever were, I would assume." "Scott Cooper

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