OU's Stoops calls criticism 'ridiculous'

NORMAN, Okla. -- With Sam Bradford's status for No. 8 Oklahoma's game at Miami still up in the air, Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops found himself answering questions Tuesday about whether the Heisman Trophy winner should be playing with the Sooners at all this season.

Asked to respond to criticism that he should have pushed Bradford to enter the NFL draft instead of returning for his junior year, Stoops said it "is ridiculous and it is insulting and it's foolish to say that."

"Everybody's entitled to their opinion, but for me to force a guy to go out and then what if it isn't the right decision? I don't need to tell you how things can always go in the draft," Stoops said.

"In the end, it's not my job to force a guy to come out. It's my job to educate my players on all the possibilities and then it's up to the individual and his family to make that decision."

Along with Bradford, Oklahoma (2-1) also had three other top NFL prospects return for another season: tight end Jermaine Gresham, defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and offensive tackle Trent Williams.

Gresham is out for the season after he injured his knee before the season opener, and Stoops said he has already decided to enter next year's NFL draft.

Bradford is attempting to recover from a sprained joint in his right, throwing shoulder in time to play Saturday night against the 17th-ranked Hurricanes (2-1).

Stoops said he won't determine who will start at quarterback until "probably sometime Thursday or Friday, and maybe Saturday."

"I will say, to this point, everything that he has done last week and this week as we have progressed he has handled well. He has not had any setbacks," Stoops said. "That part is encouraging and positive, but again it's just too early to determine his status for Saturday."

Stoops said his role in advising players who consider entering the NFL draft early is focused on providing them with the most accurate information possible. He criticized projections that come out before the NFL combine.

Stoops said he will compare players' 40-yard dash times and weightlifting abilities with combine measurements of players who were drafted highly in recent years.

"To me, our job is to make sure that we educate our guys and know exactly what you're capable of, where you're at and what are the possibilities of you being picked at this position?" Stoops said.