By John Shinn
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — The shakeup of Oklahoma’s coaching staff continued on Tuesday with two significant departures. The Transcript confirmed defensive tackles coach Jackie Shipp and tackles and tight ends coach Bruce Kittle will not be back next season.
Their exits, along with guards and centers coach James Patton’s departure for Indiana on Monday, means three of the four assistant coaches who coach linemen at OU have been removed in the last 48 hours. The only one still on staff is defensive ends coach Bobby Jack Wright.
The possibility of Shipp’s departure, a former OU player who had been a member of the Sooners’ coaching staff since Bob Stoops became head coach in 1999, has been rumored for weeks.
Coachingsearch.com was the first to report Shipp’s departure late Tuesday morning. OUinsider.com was the first to proclaim Kittle’s exit.
Tuesday’s proceedings were part of one of the biggest staff shakeups in Stoops’ 14 seasons as head coach.
Kittle, who came to OU in 2010 as the on-campus recruiting coordinator and was promoted to a full-time assistant coach last season, played with Stoops at Iowa in the early 1980s. He’d never coached at the college level until last season.
SoonerScoop.com reported Tuesday afternoon that West Virginia offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh has been tabbed to as the new offensive line coach.
The Transcript was unable to confirm that report.
Badenbaugh, 40, has been the Mountaineers’ offensive line coach the past two seasons. Prior to his stint at West Virginia, he coached for OU defensive coordinator Mike Stoops at Arizona between 2007-10. He was the offensive line coach for all four seasons and added co-offensive coordinator duties to his title in 2010.
Badenbaugh had established roots in the Big 12 Conference before going to West Virginia. From 2000-2006 he served on former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach’s offensive staff at Texas Tech.
Most recently he was named one the country’s top recruiters by two of the major recruiting Websites. Badenbaugh was named of the nation’s top 50 recruiters by 247sports.com last week and Rivals.com lauded him as one of the Big 12’s best recruiters on Tuesday.
The departures of Shipp and Kittle still haven’t been announced by OU.
The defensive tackle positions has slumped in recent years. OU hasn’t had an All-Big 12 defensive tackle since Gerald McCoy’s final season in 2009. It hasn’t had a defensive tackle record more than six tackles for loss in any of the last three seasons. The lack of production from the group has contributed to the Sooners’ slipping defensive numbers since 2009.
Shipp, however, tutored some of OU’s most dominant defensive players during Stoops’ tenure. He recruited and developed All-Americans Tommie Harris (2002 and 2003) and McCoy (2008 and 2009). Both were top 15 picks in the NFL Draft.
He also coached standouts like two-time All-Big 12 selection Dusty Dvoracek (2003 and 2005) and Ryan Fisher (2000).
The Sooners signed four defensive tackles last week. Four-star tackle Kerrick Huggins led the group of incoming freshmen, that included three-star recruits Matthew Romar and Charles Walker. OU also picked up Trinity Valley Community College transfer Quincy Russell.
“Developing our players up front was a huge area for us to improve, to develop some more playmakers up front,” OU defensive coordinate Mike Stoops last week.
OU hoped to add Hutchinson Community College defensive tackle Toby Johnson. The four-star recruit is set announce where he’ll play next week.
“OU fired Coach Shipp,” Johnson said via Twitter Tuesday afternoon. “I loved that guy he was like a father figure to me. That’s the worst thing y’all could've done rite now.”
Johnson’s final choices are between OU, Mississippi State and Auburn.
Kittle did not have a major recruiting impact in his two seasons. He signed three tight ends last year — Brannon Green, Taylor McNamara and Sam Grant. McNamara and Grant both redshirted this past season. Green, a junior college transfer who will be a senior next season, was sparingly used. He did tutor left tackle Lane Johnson, who is expected to be a first-round selection in the NFL Draft in April.
If Badenbaugh is OU’s choice to become offensive line coach, it is unclear how Stoops will fill the other two staff openings.
What is clear is OU coach Bob Stoops is making staff changes unlike any other period during his tenure. Prior to last season, any coach who’d left his staff had either taken a head coaching job or been promoted to a coordinator.
Since the end of the 2011 season, five assistants — Brent Venables, Willie Martinez, Patton, Kittle and Shipp — have left (Venables to became Clemson’s defensive coordinator and Patton left for Indiana) or simply been removed from the staff (Martinez, Kittle and Shipp.)
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