MIAMI — Every season about this time, Oklahoma Coach Bob Stoops is mentioned in connection with some high-profile coaching job that has opened up around the country. And every season, Stoops says he isn't going anywhere.
On Thursday, however, he left the door open a crack.
Days before his team will face top-ranked USC in the Orange Bowl, Stoops was asked if Nick Saban's getting nearly $5 million a year to coach the Miami Dolphins stirred any thoughts of going to the NFL.
"Well, not right now, no."
He continued: "I think there's a time for everybody, maybe, if you get those opportunities, and somewhere down that line that may be for me."
Stoops is in his sixth season with the Sooners, during which time he has guided the team to three national championship games. He is paid a reported $2.3 million annually on a contract that runs through 2010.
In recent seasons, speculation has put him in the mix for jobs ranging from Notre Dame to the Cleveland Browns.
"You know, it's hard to say never or always, so somewhere in the future that may be something that I want to pursue," he said.
"Right now ... I feel too good and great about what we're doing at Oklahoma."
Stoops expressed surprise that no school had given USC offensive coordinator Norm Chow a chance.
Chow, an assistant for more than three decades, said Thursday he was not a candidate for the opening at Syracuse. Earlier this month, Chow interviewed for the Stanford job.
"I'm sure there's been opportunities ... that maybe weren't right for him personally, so there's always two sides of that," Stoops said. "He's a great coach, and in the coaching fraternity, he's got as much respect, or more, than anybody."
Oklahoma defensive lineman Larry Birdine has been off-limits to reporters in the wake of his recent comments.
Birdine called USC quarterback Matt Leinart "overrated" and undeserving of the Heisman Trophy. On Thursday, USC Coach Pete Carroll didn't think it was too big a deal.
"I can't tell you that some guys, it doesn't juice them up a little bit," he said, adding, "Does it have a big impact? No, I don't think so at all."
But Stoops said he was upset by Birdine's remarks. When asked if the player's enforced silence was a form of punishment, he responded: "You want to talk to him today? You can talk to him."
Then after a long pause, "Well, maybe you can't."