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Oklahoma Fires Coach Blake


Oklahoma coach John Blake was fired Sunday after the worst three-year stretch in school history.

The school's regents voted 4-2 Sunday to terminate Blake's contract after he went 12-22 in three years at Oklahoma.

"This is a wrenching decision for all of us but as president of the university I want to express feelings of appreciation we have for John Blake," said Oklahoma president David Boren.

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  • Tight end Jason Freeman, who played his last game on Saturday, said players were upset by the announcement.

    "I am shaken up and I am leaving. It's a tough process," Freeman said. "There are a lot people hurt by this decision."

    The Sooners beat Texas Tech 20-17 Saturday, to finish the season 5-6. Oklahoma lost eight games in each of Blake's first two seasons, the first eight-loss seasons in school history.

    While the Sooners finished this season by winning three of their final four games, Blake left himself open to criticism by making wholesale changes at quarterback.

    He decided during last season, as Oklahoma was going 4-8 thanks in part to inconsistent play at that position, the best way to turn things around was to go to the option instead of the multiple offense of his first two years.

    He called it a return to his roots -- the offense Oklahoma used when he was a Sooner noseguard in the early 1980s.

    To make the change, he installed Brandon Daniels as the starting quarterback. Daniels got the majority of the work as the Sooners ran extensively out of the wishbone during spring drills.

    The wishbone continued through fall practices, but disappeared after the first game, a 37-9 victory over North Texas. By the end of the season, Daniels was on the bench -- he didn't play at all in the final five games. Jake Sills, the fifth quarterback to see playing ime, started the last four.

    Freeman has often mentioned the quality of the people in the program is much better than it was when he arrived four years ago. That, he said, should stand for something.

    "It didn't show up in the win column, but I wouldn't trade this team for 11-0 right now because of kind of character and kind of people on this team," he said.

    Offensive coordinator Joe Dickinson praised the way Blake has handled himself this season while speculation has swirled about his future.

    "He's been a rock," Dickinson said. "There's been a lot of attacks on John for three years. He's a lot better coach today than he was three years ago and he's getting better every game. He's great for these kids. These kids love him and they proved that (against Tech). We were supposed to lose this game."

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