Special Delivery: Capel's Mailbag

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
SEPTEMBER 26, 2006

Hello again everyone and welcome back to my "Mailbag."  I know it's been more than two weeks since the first installment, but it's taken me a little bit of time to get over the calls at the end of our football game on Saturday.  That was rough! 
But back to the "Mailbag."  I appreciate the flood of questions I continue to receive.  Keep sending them!  Just CLICK HERE to make your submission.
All right, here we go! 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
From: Jacob (Oklahoma City)

Question: Any chance in the future you will try to schedule Duke?  A couple years ago we played them in New York City, but any chance we could get a home-and-home deal?

Answer: Hey Jacob, thanks for checking in.  That probably won't happen.  Coach K does not like playing against his former players.  If you look back to when I was in school, and really through the '90s, Duke always had a home-and-home with Michigan.  Every year that was a big TV game in December.  When Tommy Amaker got the Michigan job, that game was nixed.  So that's probably something that will not happen. 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
From: Matt Birdwell (Lubbock, TX)

Q: I have just graduated from college and have begun my first year as a high school basketball coach.  At some point in my career I would love to coach at the college level.  What would be a good way to get my foot in the door for being a college basketball coach?

A: Hi Matt.  I think the first thing that I would suggest - and it's the first thing suggested to me when I wanted to get into college coaching - is to try to work as many camps as you can.  Five-star camps, team camps and individual school camps that give you the opportunity to learn, get to know people and network.  Our profession is no different than other professions in that there are a lot of qualified candidates out there.  Sometimes it's about who you know.  So networking is very important.  Best of luck to you this year and down the road.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
From: Michael (Washington, D.C.)

Q: From what you and your staff have seen so far, can freshmen (Tony) Crocker, (Bobby) Maze and (Keith) Clark come in and be successful or maybe even start?

A: Thanks for your interest, Michael.  To answer your question, I think so.  All three of them are talented young men.  But they're freshmen.  You never know when freshmen are going to get it.  Some get it early and for some guys it takes a little bit.  But there's no doubt they're talented and we look forward to working with them and watching them progress.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
From: Keith McNeill (Fayetteville, NC)

Q: Will you make any changes in preparing for the season now that you are in a more visible role as OU's head coach?  On a side note, congratulations on receiving the promotion - it is well-deserved.

A: No, I won't make any changes in preparing for our season.  Well, maybe I shouldn't say that.  Every year you do have to prepare differently because you have a new group and you want to try to do what's best for that group.  But aside from that, we won't make any changes.  We'll go out and continue to try to recruit at a very high level, we'll coach, we'll teach and we'll help these young guys get better each day.  And that's what this job is about.  I think it's an honor to be a head coach because of the ability to impact young people.  I look at the importance of coaches in my life.  I look at my dad, my high school coach, my college coach and some others along the way.  Even my assistants.  We're extremely blessed to be able to do what we do.  I feel it's an obligation and a duty to use this game to teach our guys how to be prepared for life.  That's what basketball is to me - teaching life's lessons. 

Some guys will get a chance to go on and play professionally and I'd love for all of them to be able to realize their dream of playing pro ball.  But if it doesn't happen, I don't want them thinking the world is coming to an end.  We want them prepared, because at some point the ball is going to stop bouncing for everyone.  To me, that's the key to my job - helping kids prepare for life after basketball.  I think with the way we try to go about doing it, winning is a byproduct of that.

By the way, Keith was a '93 state champion on the South View Tigers, the greatest team in the history of North Carolina high school basketball!  It's great to hear from you, Keith.  Hopefully we'll get you out here soon.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
From: Charley Wilson (Tahlequah, OK)

Q: I understand you are a Duke grad and that your younger brother played at North Carolina.  I know you guys weren't in school at the same time, but how did that play out at home?  Were there some strained loyalties?

A: What's up, Charley.  You know, it never really was an issue.  Before there was a Duke and a North Carolina in our lives, we were brothers.  I made my decision based on what I thought was best for me.  We were both very fortunate and blessed that we were in a position to make that decision, because of how hard we both worked on the floor and in the classroom.  When it came time for my brother to make his decision, I was there to offer support and guidance.  My brother is my best friend and the only thing I've ever wanted for him is to be happy.  He was able to live out one of his childhood dreams - to play for the University of North Carolina.  He had a really good four-year career there.

With that said, I always rooted for Duke.  Always.  I always wanted my brother to play well, but I wanted Duke to win.  I grew up a North Carolina fan, I'm not going to lie.  I wanted to go to Carolina.  Carolina was the first ACC school to offer me a scholarship.  But the first time I sat down and met with Coach K, I knew at that moment he was the guy who I wanted to play for.  That's nothing against Coach Dean Smith or North Carolina.  My brother grew up with the same dream and he chose to follow it.  But anytime those two schools played after my graduation I went for Duke.  I always wanted my brother to have a great game, though.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
From: Steve Stockman (Taylor Mill, KY)

Q: Tell me about your family.  What are your passions and interests that are not sports related?

A: Hello, Steve.  Besides my faith, my family is the most important thing to me.  My favorite times are when I'm with my family just hanging out, having everyone there and not being in the public eye.  My brother and I grew up in the public eye and that was good in the sense that it prepared me for what I do now.  But it also made the time when we were just with our family even more special.  I just love spending time with everyone - my mom and dad, my brother, his friends, my grandparents, my aunts and uncles, my wife's family.  Really, a perfect day is just having them around, cooking out, watching TV and being silly.  When you're with people that close to you, you're able to let your guard down.  You're able to be who you really are.  I treasure that time.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
From: Julie Anderson (Dallas, TX)

Q: I read where you were eating at Sonic the first couple of weeks you were in Norman.  Now that you've been there about six months, do you have a favorite restaurant?

A: Appreciate the question, Julie.  I see you read the Q and A on our web site from back in late April.  I don't know if I want to answer that question because it might make some people mad at me!  But here goes.  The Cheesecake Factory has kind of always been my favorite restaurant since I was introduced to it in college.  I heard there's a new one in Oklahoma City, so I'm anxious to go there soon.  As far as here in Norman, I love Charleston's, I love Benvenuti's and I love Van's Pig Stand - the barbecue place.  Obviously Louie's is great and there's a Mexican place called Tarahumara's that's really good.  My man Doug Kennon has a great barbecue place over at Sooner Legends, too.  There are some places in Oklahoma City that are really good, like Nona's.  So there are a lot.  I love to eat good food and Oklahoma is full of good restaurants. 

Now I'm hungry!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
From: Jon Morphis (Piedmont, OK)

Q: What is your take on full-court pressure defense?  Is it contingent upon the type of athletes you have, depth or pace of play?  How much full-court press can we expect from the Capel administration?

A: Thanks for writing, Jon.  I like playing full-court pressure defense, but I think you have to be smart with it.  Athleticism is a quality that you have to have and depth is something you need if you want to do it consistently throughout a game.  If you don't have the athletes and you don't have depth, you can't do it all game.  You have to pick your spots. 

To me, there are different types of pressure.  There's obviously full-court pressure.  Then there's a comeback type of pressure where you use different types of scrambling when you're down.  There's contained full-court pressure where you are maybe just trying to slow down a team, trying to break their rhythm.  Right now the plan is for us to do all types of different things.  But until we are able to see ourselves against different teams, and to see how we're able to best use our depth - or if we have depth - that's a difficult question to answer.  Hopefully in the future, and I'm not saying we can't issue pressure with this year's team, we're able to recruit the types of players that allow us to do that a lot.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
From: Trung Tran (Tulsa)

Q: Welcome to the Sooner family.  So what does the head coach at OU watch on TV?  As for me, I love sports and am a fanatic of "The Contender."

A: Trung, you're a man after my own heart!  I love "The Contender," too.  Who do you think will win?  I think it's going to be Grady Brewer, the guy from Lawton. 

There are some shows that I watch.  "The Wire" just started back up again and I really enjoy that one, and I love "The Sopranos."  My wife is a big reality TV fan and so I find myself at times watching some of those shows.  But then the kid side of me loves "The Family Guy" and "South Park" and "The Simpsons."  "The Simpsons" is one of my favorite all-time shows.  "Martin" is my all-time favorite. 

I'm also a huge movie fan, so if there's a good one on TV I'll watch it.  But, I'm a huge, huge football fan.  And now that the college and NFL seasons have started, I'm watching a lot of those games.  I don't really watch baseball on TV, but I like to go to games in person.  I'm also a huge boxing fan, as you can tell by my comment about "The Contender."

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Thanks again to everyone who has written.  It's hard to believe the season is just around the corner.  Let me remind you fans that we always need your support.  This year's team is one that I think you're really going to enjoy watching improve throughout the course of the year.  It's going to be a fun season.

Our ticket office has some great deals on tickets, including season packages (18 games) for as little as $180.  The phone numbers for the ticket office are (800) 456-4668 and (405) 325-2424.

Thanks everybody and we'll talk to you in about two weeks!

Boomer Sooner,
Coach Capel



Sooner Sports Properties, LLC, is the multimedia rights holder for athletics at the University of Oklahoma.
Sooner Sports Properties is a joint venture of Learfield Communications, Tyler Media, LLC and Griffin Television.


Sooner Sports Powered by FOX Sports is a multi-platform network that provides distribution of 1,000+ hours of Sooner sports programming annually on a variety of FOX Sports outlets, including FOX Sports Oklahoma, FOX Sports Southwest, and FOX College Sports.
  • David Stanley Junior Captain
    Red River Showdown
    Delta Dental
    Patriot Ford